The Gen XY Lifestyle

Perception over protection gap exists between CI patients and non-patients

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Great Eastern’s “The Impact of Critical Illness in Singapore” survey found perception differences between those that have and have not experienced a Critical Illness, in terms of their expectations of purchasing higher protection or thinking they have sufficient coverage.

Great Eastern ran a consumer survey “The Impact of Critical Illness in Singapore” in December 2020 with over 500 Singaporeans. Survey results indicated several key findings including:

  • Over 50 percent of Critical Illness (CI) patients and their caregivers (People who have experienced CIs or “Experiencers”) depend on insurance payouts to manage their financial expenses.
  • Almost 30 percent of them incur more than SGD 250,000 in medical and hospitalisation bills for their entire recovery duration with nearly 40 percent having with no income for at least 12 months
  • Almost 40 percent of the surveyed non-CI patients and those who have not cared for a CI patient before (People who have not experienced CIs or “Non-Experiencers”) are unwilling to pay more for a new insurance plan to get higher protection
protection gap

There is a perception challenge when it comes to the protection gap

According to a 2018 Protection Gap Study by the Life Insurance Association (LIA), an average Singaporean working adult has critical illness cover of just SGD 60,000, way below LIA’s recommendation of about SGD 316,000 or almost 4 times the average annual pay of SGD 81,663.     

The Great Eastern Survey found that almost 40 percent of non-Experiencers are unwilling to pay more for a new insurance plan that gives higher protection. For the non-Experiencers who own CI plans, nearly half of them think they have sufficient coverage. 45 percent who have no CI plans are not worried about their lack of coverage as they assume that their existing medical plans (MediSave/MediShield/Integrated Shield plans) are sufficient.

However as a segment, 81 percent of the Non-Experiencers are worried about paying their medical bills, and nearly three-quarters of them are concerned about losing their income while being caregivers for parents or relatives who were ill.

A possible barrier towards picking up a CI plan or one with higher protection or reducing the protection gap could be because the non-Experiencers are not aware of the benefits of a CI plan.

Early planning for sufficient protection through different life chapters

An average Singaporean born in 2017 is expected to live for 84.8 years, including 10.6 years in poor health and is only covered for around 20 per cent of the expenses needed to tide over a CI event. Assuming the recovery period for a CI patient is five years, he still needs to provide for his daily needs during this recuperation period or until the insured person can resume work or adjust his lifestyle needs.

According to the National Registry of Diseases Office, more people are getting diagnosed with CIs. There has been an overall increase in the number of teenagers and young adults (age 15 to 34) diagnosed with cancer.

Being inflicted with CIs such as cancer can be very challenging and financially straining for the patient and his family. Preventive measures such as regular health screenings and having early intervention are important. We also need enough protection to be financially prepared against CIs so that we can focus on recovery and have the peace of mind if CIs strike.

Patrick Kok, Managing Director, Group Operations, Great Eastern

With increasing life expectancy, it is important to start planning early for sufficient protection and minimise the protection gap throughout all stages of CIs.

“I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” Campaign by Great Eastern

Great Eastern launched this campaign to communicate that we can enjoy life and not miss out on its important milestones if multiple occurrences of CIs strike unexpectedly.

Great Eastern also offers a policy called the ‘GREAT Life Advantage‘ that comes with a complete MultiPay CI Plus Advantage Rider which provides multiple CI coverage for life and restores the sum assured after each claim. This policy gives up to three times coverage against all stages of CI (early, intermediate and critical).

Infographic provided by Great Eastern