Critical Illness Insurance vs Medical and Cancer Insurance
How to differentiate Critical Illness Insurance, Medical Insurance, and Cancer Insurance?
The most common individual insurance plans today are: (1) Critical Illness Insurance, (2) Medical Insurance, and (3) Cancer Insurance. These three types differ in terms of their purpose, coverage, and target audience.
Critical Illness Insurance
Critical Illness Insurance only covers several serious illnesses, including but not limited to cancer, heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, and more. Once the insured person is unfortunately diagnosed with a specified critical illness listed in the policy, a lump-sum compensation will be paid to cover subsequent medical expenses and living costs.
Medical Insurance can be considered the most comprehensive in terms of covering various types of diseases among the three. Generally, all reasonable medical expenses resulting from injuries or illnesses, as long as they do not exceed the compensation limit for relevant medical items, can be claimed through a reimbursement process.
As the name suggests, Cancer Insurance is a type of medical insurance specifically designed for cancer. It covers a range of cancer-related medical services, including radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted drugs, palliative care, and more. Some cancer insurance policies also cover cases of cancer recurrence or metastasis, aiming to provide coverage for insured individuals at different stages.
Here are the main differences among these three types of insurance:
|Critical Illness Insurance
|Solve cash flow issues during serious illness when unable to work
|Share the cost of hospitalization and surgical medical expenses resulting from injuries or illnesses
|Share the medical expenses related to cancer treatment
|Reimbursement based on actual expenses
|Reimbursement based on actual expenses
|HK$363 to $472/ month2
|HK$123 to $480/ month
|HK$46 to $57/ month
|Relevant Bowtie products
|Bowtie Term Critical Illness
|Bowtie VHIS (Standard/ Flexi Regular/ Flexi Plus/ Bowtie Pink)
|Bowtie Cancer Fighter
|Coverage Amount of Bowtie Products
|HK$100,000 to $4,000,000/ lifetime
|HK$420,000 to $10,000,000/ year
|HK$1,000,000 to $3,000,000/ lifetime
|Diseases Covered by Bowtie Products
|38 specified critical illnesses
|Any accident and illness3
|All levels of malignant cancer and in situ cancer4
|Coverage Scope of Bowtie Products
|1 time (Bowtie Term Critical Illness) or up to 5 times (Bowtie Term Critical Insurance Multiple Cover) coverage for diagnosed specified critical illnesses
|Basic coverage for inpatient medical expenses
|Coverage for medical expenses caused by insured cancer
- 1Based on a 30-year-old non-smoking male.
- 2Assuming coverage amount of HK$4,000,000.
- 3Refers to 470 surgeries covered by all VHIS plans in the market. However, the coverage items may vary among different plans, which will affect the actual claims ratio. For details, please refer to the plan coverage table and surgery table.
- 4Excludes precancerous lesions, CIN I or CIN II cervical abnormalities, and all cancers coexisting with HIV infection.
How to Choose Among the 3 Insurance Types?
Although Critical Illness Insurance, medical insurance, and cancer insurance all fall under personal protection, their objectives and scopes of coverage are different. Even if you purchase all three types of insurance simultaneously, there is no need to worry about excessive overlap of coverage or resource waste.
However, if you have a limited budget and need to choose among the three, it is advisable to prioritize based on “the protection I want” and “the protection I already have,” and select the most suitable combination of coverage according to your needs.
If You Have No Coverage
If you currently have no coverage from any personal insurance products, you can consider prioritizing VHIS, which offers the broadest coverage.
Taking Bowtie’s VHIS as an example, the plan not only covers common hospital expenses such as doctor’s fees, operating room costs, and non-surgical cancer treatments but also covers items such as colonoscopies, gastroscopies, specified diagnostic imaging tests, and psychiatric treatments. It provides the most comprehensive medical coverage, alleviating the burden of common medical expenses.
If You Only Have Basic Medical Insurance or Group Medical Insurance
For those who already have basic medical insurance or group medical insurance, the first step is to assess whether the existing coverage amount is sufficient.
Taking company medical insurance as an example, the coverage enjoyed by most employees is very limited. If unfortunately hospitalized, they will need to bear significant medical expenses on their own. With the increasing number of cancer diagnoses in Hong Kong, it is recommended to focus on cancer-related coverage. Since the cost of cancer treatment can be extremely high, if you feel that the existing coverage may not be sufficient to cope with unknown risks, you should consider purchasing more targeted cancer insurance promptly to fill the coverage gap.
To provide more comprehensive support to cancer patients, Bowtie Cancer Fighter not only covers the first diagnosis but also includes coverage for cancer recurrence or metastasis. The coverage amount for treatment in the plan is reset and renewed every 3 years after the first activation until the compensation reaches the lifetime coverage amount.
Critical Illness Insurance for Maintaining Living Expenses
The greatest advantage of Critical Illness Insurance is that it provides a lump-sum compensation. Once the insured person is diagnosed with any specified serious illness, the insurance company will provide a cash payout, with no restrictions on its use.
In other words, the insured person can decide how to use the funds to cover daily living and medical expenses during the illness, thereby reducing the financial pressure caused by being unable to work. This is particularly important for employed individuals.
Currently, Term Critical Illness Insurance plans in the market offers coverage amounts ranging from HK$1 million to HK$2.5 million. However, considering that everyone has different requirements for their quality of life, Bowtie Term Critical Illness offers more flexible coverage amounts. Customers can choose a coverage amount ranging from HK$1 million to HK$4 million according to their needs.
In fact, Critical Illness Insurance, medical insurance, and cancer insurance are all equally important. By simultaneously purchasing the three types of insurance mentioned above, the insured person can have the most comprehensive protection when needed.
Example: Ms. Chan’s Unfortunate Diagnosis of Colon Cancer
Due to her family history of colon cancer, Ms. Chan was concerned about her potential hereditary cancer risks. Therefore, she purchased Bowtie Critical Illness, Bowtie VHIS Flexi, and Bowtie Cancer Fighter simultaneously to be prepared for unexpected situations.
At the age of 45, Ms. Chan visited a clinic due to rectal bleeding and was referred to undergo an outpatient colonoscopy. The outpatient consultation fees, medication costs, and colonoscopy examination charges were all covered by her medical insurance, and she could apply for a claim from the insurance company.
A few days later, the doctor informed Ms. Chan that she was diagnosed with stage II colon cancer based on the colonoscopy results. The doctor recommended chemotherapy and targeted drug treatment while advising her to take a break from work to focus on recovery.
Since Ms. Chan’s condition was severe, the costs of cancer treatment were significantly high. Fortunately, the cancer insurance she purchased could provide reimbursement for a range of necessary treatment expenses, ensuring that she could afford the medical costs without having to forgo treatment.
On the other hand, although Ms. Chan was temporarily unable to work, the lump-sum compensation provided by the Critical Illness Insurance precisely covered the unexpectedly high medical expenses. This allowed her and her family to manage the sudden financial burden and alleviate psychological stress without significantly impacting their quality of life.
Thanks to Ms. Chan’s early and comprehensive planning for unknown health risks, she was able to confidently grasp the golden period of treatment and successfully overcome cancer two years later, reclaiming a healthy life.