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6 Critical Illnesses You did not realise You have ZERO coverage for (Part I)

Updated: Feb 9, 2023

These are otherwise known as the 'Underrated Claimable Illnesses'.

I’ve been picking up a few older clients lately. But even with my experience in the industry, I still have problems talking to older people – typically anyone 40 and up.

I respect the fact that they’ve survived over a decade in the working world but it can still be hard for me to find common ground for conversation. They are also at a very different stage of financial planning from people in my social and client circles.

Some of their earlier policies also look totally whack to me. These older policies can look very different from those sold today. While I can analyse modern day policies in 5 minutes, I sometimes need an hour to fully wrap my mind around older ones.

In this article, I will be focusing on the key difference between older and newer Critical Illness Policies.

Older CI policies

Here is an example of a older Critical Illness (CI) plan -

Newer CI policies, even basic ones without Early Critical Illness or MultiPay Critical Illness, look like this -

In 2009, 6 core critical illnesses were added, providing more extensive coverage than policies from 2000 to 2008.

So if you’ve purchased your policy prior to 2009, you might be lacking for the basic Critical Illness coverage, let alone Early Critical Illness coverage.

(insert link here)

If your family has a history of critical illnesses, thereby increasing your chances of contracting one yourself, you also risk losing that really important CI coverage.

Here’s a look at three* of the diseases that you might not be covered for.

*I will cover the remaining three diseases next Wednesday. Support me plz.

1. Progressive Scleroderma

Scientific Definition: A systemic collagen-vascular disease causing progressive diffuse fibrosis in the skin, blood vessels and visceral organs.

Otherwise known as (English Translation): Chronic skin hardening.

Likely Age Group affected: Females, aged 25 to 55.

Most likely caused by: Still unknown but is shown to have a high correlation with overproduction/over-abundance of collagen. The irony being that collagen is a health-boosting protein.

Most closely related with: Heartburn, which is often a prevailing symptom.

What people may miss out when trying to claim: This diagnosis must be unequivocally supported by biopsy and serological evidence, and the disorder must have advanced to affect the heart, lungs or kidneys.

2. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus with Lupus Nephritis

Scientific Definition: A multi-system, multi-factorial, autoimmune disorder characterised by the development of autoantibodies directed against various self-antigens.

Critical Illness - lupus
Critical Illness - Lupus / Image Credit: Fox, George Henry (1886)

Otherwise known as (English Translation): Lupus. The body’s immune system goes rogue and starts to attack your cells.

Likely Age Group affected: Females, aged 14 to 45.

Most likely caused by: Still unknown, but with higher correlations to excessive sunlight and generally weak immune systems to your kidneys. Unlike Sclerodorma, you can take some preventive actions by looking after them.

Most closely related with: Bleeding in the urine or other urination problems like high frequency, as well as high blood pressure.

What people may miss out when trying to claim: Lupus is only claimable when it involves your kidneys. While the likelihood of that happening is high, you will not be able to claim for other affected areas or variations of Lupus. Tests are quite extensive and should be booked as early as possible.

Drugs are often an integral part of treatment, which may not be included in your hospital coverage purview.

3. Apallic Syndrome

Scientific Definition: Universal necrosis of the brain cortex with the brainstem intact.

Otherwise known as (English Translation): Persistent Vegetative State (becoming a vegetable due to brain damage).

Likely Age Group affected: People who experience degenerating brain cells or severe blunt force trauma to the brain. This can also result from a stroke.

Most closely related with: Contracting a coma, but Apallic Syndrome is not the same as a coma. Patients of Apallic Syndrome can demonstrate wakefulness (e.g. moving eyelids) but not have any cognitive function.

Brain dead - critical illness
I think imagining yourself brain dead isn't a pretty picture, so this is most appropriate / Image Credit: Emoji One, Github

What people may miss out when trying to claim: The claim occurs after only after one month of observation. You should make your claim the moment Apallic Syndrome is diagnosed so that the one-month countdown can begin earlier. Sometimes this diagnosis happens because the patient has been like that for one month, in which case you can make your claim straight away.

When I say you, I mean your loved one informing your agent because you personally can't.

Life’s hard.

Mid-point take away

There are still three more diseases to go, but here's a brief takeaway -

a) Gender Matters:

Longer lifespans aside, women tend to get the shorter end of the stick in their biological disposition towards critical illnesses. Women, take care of yourselves. Meanwhile, men deal with shorter lifespans despite their biological advantage for these three CIs, so really guys, you gotta take care of yourselves too.

b) Age Matters too:

Contrary to popular belief, it's not only the really old people who get Critical Illnesses. CIs can kick in as early as age 14. For young working adults who tend to put off buying insurance, you could be in for a nasty surprise.

c) Medication Matters:

For diseases related to your kidneys (and generally vital organs), the quantity and quality of medication are vital factors in your survival of transplants, surgeries and other tests.

There’s a very decent chance that good quality drugs will be more readily available through private means. An important note is that they might not even be covered under your hospital insurance.

This is why a CI plan is so important. It will give you the money necessary to fight your disease more efficiently and more quickly.

d) Post-insurance Planning Matters:

For conditions like Apallic Syndrome, it's likely that the money will take a very long time to be paid out whereupon it’ll be used to keep you alive till you’re dead. Afterwards, the rest of the money is going to be distributed and the people in your life are going to fight over it.

Not a very different outcome than if you were actually dead, really.

In order to prevent problems like untimely payouts and non-specific instructions on money use, it’s important that your post-insurance planning is well-managed.

As an FA, I can handle both nominations and recommend Lasting Power of Attorney in order to make sure that your last wishes are carried out accordingly and timely.

If you know someone whose CI package pre-dates 2009, please do inform them about the risks they are taking. I cannot emphasise enough the importance of Critical Illness insurance, let alone Early Critical Illness.

Part II will be released next Wednesday. Thanks for the support!

Money Maverick

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