5 Things You NEED To Consider When Getting A Health Protection Plan
It is common knowledge that having a comprehensive health protection plan like insurance or takaful can cover you financially in times of sickness.
Most basic health protection plans are designed to cover the cost of medical treatment, which can be very expensive, especially when it involves hospitalisation and surgery.
However, there are many areas of health maintenance and also treatment that may extend beyond a regular health protection plan. Further, with increased cost of living and medical inflation, having additional health protection plan on top of your existing medical plan can empower you with greater control over unpredictable life situations and offer more comprehensive protection/coverage for you.
For example, some critical illness plans only offer a payout at the later stages of your diagnosis. These plans typically pay out a lump sum if you are diagnosed with a life-threatening illness like heart diseases and cancer, so that you can continue going about your daily life if you lose your income-generating abilities.
However, a flipside to this is that you might not receive the financial support you require from early on. Cost of treatment usually increases as your illness progresses to later stages. This is where health protection plan can come in to offer additional benefits, such as early detection benefit, so that you get the coverage you need from the start!
Keen on creating a comprehensive health protection plan but not sure what you should be looking out for? Here are 5 things you need to consider when subscribing to a health plan to avoid sinking into a financial pit hole in times of bad health.
1. Early detection saves lives
Early detection often dramatically increases the chances of survival and minimises treatment costs. For example, Cancer Research Organisation in the UK found that cancer patients diagnosed at the earliest stage of the disease have up to 18x higher survival rates than those diagnosed at a later stage.
Often, early detection of cancer can improve the quality of life for both the patients and their caregivers, increasing the opportunities for cure as well as allowing them to spend more time with their loved ones.
What are the survival rates?
|*Bowel cancer||*Breast cancer||*Ovarian cancer||**Lung cancer|
|Early detection: 9/10||Early detection: 90%|
Late detection: 15%
|Early detection: 90%|
Late detection: 5%
|Early detection: 70%
Late detection: 14%
**Survival period of at least 1 year.
Earlier stage treatment also costs considerably less. Statistics by the Cancer Research Organisation in the UK also revealed that overall treatment for Stage 3 and 4 colon, rectal, lung and ovarian cancer costs the National Health Services (NHS) in the UK nearly 2.5x the amount of Stage 1 and 2 treatments.
In Malaysia, with one in five patients with Stage 4 or metastatic cancer at diagnosis, the failure to get diagnosed at an earlier stage is one of the main causes of both death and financial catastrophe, The Star reported.
Compared to patients with Stage 1 cancer, Malaysians with Stage 4 cancer were five times less likely to survive and 50% more likely to experience financial catastrophe.
Unfortunately, most people, including Malaysians do not prioritise regular health screening. Medical check-ups, especially in private hospitals, can be expensive. However, cost for treatments in the advance stage can be even more frightening.
Also, as mentioned earlier, one issue with many health protection plans is that they do not offer coverage for early detection. This is where Great Eastern Takaful’s i-Great Salam comes in to provide financial assistance for early detection. Because they understand that early detection and treatment is key, hence, the benefit payouts are given in varying stages of the 36 covered events.
With the i-Great Salam plan, you also get to enjoy an additional 5% increment of the basic sum covered in every three years (up to 12 years of certificate term), so that you will have an increased amount of coverage over time (more on this below).
The payouts are as follows:
|Cancer||· Carcinoma in situ|
· Early prostate, thyroid and bladder cancer
· Early chronic lymphocytic leukaemia
|Mastectomy for CIS breast or Prostatectomy for early prostate cancer||Cancer
- of specified severity and does not cover very early cancers
|Heart Attack||· Cardiac pacemaker insertion|
· Less severe heart attack
|Cardiac defibrillator insertion||Heart Attack
- of specified severity
|Coronary Artery By-pass Surgery||· Keyhole cardiac surgery|
· Transmyocardial laser surgery/Enhanced external counterpulsation device use
|Minimally invasive direct coronary artery by-pass grafting (MIDCAB)||Coronary Artery By-pass Surgery|
The crux of this health protection plan is that it bridges the gap between normal critical illness policies plans where a lump sum benefit pay-out is done once for the same critical illness.
Without the financial aid you require to get treatment from early on, chances are, you just might have a lower chance of survival at the end of it. So having early payout benefits you greatly.
2. Accidents can happen to you
Unfortunately, illness is not the only thing you need to watch out for. Malaysia is also known for its high fatality rate in road accidents and they can happen anytime, anywhere.
In 2014, research by the University of Michigan found that Malaysia has the 17th most dangerous roads in the world, with 30 fatalities per 100,000 individuals.
According to the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS), there were almost 500,000 road accidents in Malaysia in 2014.
Severe head injury is a primary cause of death in road accidents, causing 89% of patients to fall into coma immediately, according to The Malaysian Journal of Medical Sciences.
Given these alarming statistics, it is reassuring to know that you’re covered if you find yourself in an accident and are unable to work or lose your income-generating abilities. i-Great Salam offers protection, including early payouts for these common accident-related injuries, which include major head trauma and coma:
|Core Covered Events||Early Stage*50% Payout||Intermediate Stage*100% Payout||Advanced Stage*100% Payout|
|Third Degree Burns||Major Burns||Moderately Severe Burns||Third Degree Burns – of specified severity
|Major Head Trauma||Facial Reconstructive Surgery||Mild Head Trauma||Major Head Trauma – resulting in permanent inability to perform Activities of Daily Living|
|Blindness||Loss of Sight in One Eye||· Optic Nerve Atrophy|
|Blindness - Permanent and Irreversible|
|Coma||Coma for 48 hours||· Severe Epilepsy|
· Coma for 72 hours
|Coma - resulting in permanent neurological deficit with persisting clinical symptoms|
3. Lightning may strike twice
Many critical illness plans in the market offer a one-time critical illness pay off. However, given life’s unpredictable nature, it is always better to be well-prepared for a second blow because you never know when disaster might hit again.
For instance, it would be reassuring to know that your health plan will continue to cover you even after you have made a critical illness claim, so that you do not have to worry about major illnesses or diseases striking again.
Take having a stroke for example. In Malaysia, the risks of recurrent stroke are 4% in the first month and 12% within the first year. You could also be diagnosed with early Alzheimer’s disease and have a heart attack at the same time.
During the worst of times, i-Great Salam allows you to make not only multiple claims for different critical illnesses, it also allows you to make claims for different severity levels of the same critical illness (see point 1). Of course, this is as long as the claims are paid out when the pre-defined conditions are met and claim pay outs are done within the sum covered limit.
4. Be rewarded
Most of us participate in a protection plan to obtain a peace of mind, so that when the worst happens, we know that we are covered. However, a common perception that comes from this is that we do not get anything in return if we do not make any claims.
Under the plan, any underwriting surplus from the Tabarru’ Fund (voluntary contribution fund), after a suitable amount is held for contingency purposes (and the rest invested), will be shared among participants and the Takaful Operator, (Great Eastern Takaful) in the ratio of 50:50. The underwriting surplus and investment profits are determined yearly.
Upon maturity, you will also receive any amount left in your account.
5. Managing medical inflation
A medical plan you have now probably won’t be adequate in 15 years due to inflation. In Malaysia, the medical inflation rate, which is the increase of medical costs, is between 10% and 15% every year.
i-Great Salam ensures that you are adequately protected by offering a 5% increase in basic sum covered for every three years. This stands for up to 12 years of your certificate term.
Below is an example of how it works:
Adam is 37-years-old and has participated in the i-Great Salam plan with a total sum covered of RM50,000. On the fifth year, he found out he has to undergo angioplasty and made a claim as advised by his Takaful advisor.
Fortunately for Adam, i-Great Salam offers 5% increase in basic sum covered every three years, so at 13th certificate year, he will have an increased amount of the initial total sum covered even though a claim has been made:
|Certificate Year||Annual Contribution||Sum Covered Movement||Sum Covered Less Any Claim Made||Benefit Payable|
|1||RM2,445||Initial Basic Sum Covered||RM50,000||-|
|4||RM2,445||Additional Sum Covered= 5% x RM50,000||RM52,500||Wellness Benefit Voucher worth RM200|
|5||RM2,445||Claims for angioplasty= 10% x RM52,500||RM47,250||RM5,250 + Hospital Allowance Benefit|
|7||RM2,445||Additional Sum Covered= 5% x RM50,000||RM49,750||-|
|10||RM2,445||Additional Sum Covered= 5% x RM50,000||RM54,750||-|
|13||RM2,445||Additional Sum Covered= 5% x RM50,000||RM57,250||-|
That’s not all, i-Great Salam also gives you a wellness voucher worth RM200 to help you maintain or improve your health after the first three certificate years.
When faced with a medical emergency, even a little help can take you a long way.
Because we never know what to expect in life, it is always wise to prepare ourselves for the worst from early on. Besides, in this time of economic uncertainty and annual medical inflation rate knowing that you are well-covered will certainly give you some much-needed peace of mind.
Getting a health protection plan can be complicated and confusing. It is your responsibility to understand the provisions of your certificate and how a comprehensive plan can serve as a financial safety net.