Critical Illness Insurance

Critical Health Insurance

A Critical Illness Insurance policy is designed to pay a lump-sum benefit to the policyholder in the event he or she is diagnosed with a critical illness that is listed in the policy.

The critical illness  benefit is available for the policyholder to pay living and treatment expenses if they are diagnosed with a critical illness. Even when there is comprehensive health insurance in place, there are many expenses associated with a critical illness that are not covered by health insurance.

Who Would Benefit from Critical Illness Insurance?

Since the benefit for the critical illness cover is paid directly to the insured, virtually everyone would benefit from having this cover. Even individuals who have great health insurance plans will find there are gaps in coverage when you consider treatment for a critical illness. Some of those expenses not covered are as follows:

  • The cost of travel to and from a treatment facility.
  • The cost of childcare while in the hospital or treatment facility.
  • Lost wages while away from your job.
  • The cost of household support services while receiving treatment such as, laundry, pet care, and other household services.
  • Holes in health insurance coverage created by deductibles and copays.

What Is Covered?

The critical illnesses covered under the policy will be listed in the policy terms and conditions and/or on the brochure. There are more than 50 critical illnesses covered in most Hong Kong Critical Illness polices, and it is important to note that they do not have to be terminal. Some of the most common illnesses covered are:

  • Alzheimer’s disease diagnosed before age 65
  • Bacterial meningitis
  • Benign brain tumour
  • Brain damage
  • Cancer (excluding less advanced cases)
  • Chronic liver failure
  • Permanent deafness
  • Ebola
  • Heart attack
  • Kidney failure
  • Loss of independent existence
  • And much, much, more

Any person whose family history includes chronic or critical illnesses should consider purchasing Critical Illness cover either as an additional option in a life insurance policy or as stand-alone cover. It is not uncommon to be feeling perfectly well one day and then wake up the next with symptoms of an illness such as Leukemia. Even if you have comprehensive health insurance, consider all of the family needs that will not be met and covered by the policy.

For more information and policy details, contact your Trusted Union insurance advisor to get the advice and information needed to make an informed decision.

critical illness Insurance FAQ

What qualifies for a critical illness?

When developing their critical illness policies, the insurance companies looked at what sort of illnesses were common, most debilitating and which ones people were most concerned about. Every insurance company is different but most will consider the following a critical illness:

• Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease
• Benign brain tumour
• Blindness, deafness or loss of speech
• Cancer
• Coma or loss of independent existence
• Aortic or Coronary artery bypass surgery
• Heart attack or stroke
• Kidney failure
• Major organ failure or transplant
• Multiple sclerosis
• Paralysis
• Severe burns

Typically a critical illness insurance policy has many more conditions listed but those are the major ones that are likely to affect Hong Kongers today. For a complete list of critical illnesses, you should contact your insurance broker or refer to your policy wordings.

How does critical illness insurance work?

Critical illness is a type of insurance policy that pays a lump sum benefit to you if you are diagnosed with one of the critical illnesses listed on your policy. This lump sum is intended for you to use in paying for living and treatment expenses but there are no restrictions and you’re able to use it for whatever you want.

Many people use it to pay for lost wages, household support or to fill holes in their health insurance coverage.

Is it worth buying critical illness insurance?

Yes. Serious medical conditions are expensive to treat. Even with the excellent level of public healthcare in Hong Kong or even with health insurance, there are a lot of expenses that aren’t covered (i.e. lost wages).

Critical illness insurance gives you a no-strings-attached sum of money to use as you please. Many clients use it to cover living expenses while they’re unable to work, household support if they’re unable to clean or cook for themselves, cover health insurance deductibles or co-pays, or even to pay for medical expenses not covered by their health insurance such as experimental treatments or medical travel.

The main benefit to a critical illness insurance policy is that it gives you flexibility. Rather than just reimbursing you for standard medical expenses, there are no restrictions on how you can use the money.

Is depression a critical illness?

Generally speaking, depression and other psychological ailments are not considered a critical illness. Every insurance company is different but most will consider the following a critical illness:

• Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease
• Benign brain tumour
• Blindness, deafness or loss of speech
• Cancer
• Coma or loss of independent existence
• Aortic or Coronary artery bypass surgery
• Heart attack or stroke
• Kidney failure
• Major organ failure or transplant
• Multiple sclerosis
• Paralysis
• Severe burns

For a complete list of critical illnesses, you should contact your insurance broker or refer to your policy wordings.

Can you get critical illness insurance after cancer?

You may be able to get coverage although cancer and related illnesses could be excluded from the policy as a pre-existing condition. If you’re currently suffering from a chronic illness or critical illness, it may be difficult to get full coverage.

If you are concerned about past or current illnesses affecting your critical illness insurance coverage, get in touch with a Trusted Union insurance broker. We have tons of experience working with clients with all backgrounds and medical histories get the insurance coverage they need to protect themselves and their loved ones.

Can you get critical illness cover without life insurance?

Yes you can. Life insurance will pay a lump sum benefit to your surviving dependents upon your death but can also come with a “living benefit” component allowing you to withdraw the benefit even while alive to fund things like long-term care or medical bills if you contract a serious illness.

Life insurance is completely separate from critical illness insurance and one can be purchased independent of the other. But many will purchase it as an add-on to their life insurance policy.

When should you get critical illness insurance?

It is our opinion that most people should get critical illness insurance as early as they can afford to. This is doubly true if you have a family history of chronic or critical illnesses as you may be genetically predisposed to those same conditions.

Another advantage to purchasing early is that there are policies out there where you only have to pay premiums for a fixed number of years (i.e. 15 years) and get to enjoy the policy until death. In this example, if you purchase a critical illness insurance policy in Hong Kong at age 25, you would only need to pay until you’re 40 but will get to keep that policy for life.

The advantage here is that you have paid your premiums during the time when your expenses are the lowest but you get to enjoy the protection afforded by that policy for the rest of your life. Often times if you pass away without using the policy, you can even get back the premiums paid so it works as sort of a nice mini life insurance policy.

Everyone’s situation is different and maybe other insurance solutions like health insurance or life insurance might be more suitable for you. Get in touch with a licensed Trusted Union insurance broker to discuss your needs.

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