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Do I Need an Early-Stage Critical Illness Plan?

Let’s look at what early-stage CI insurance does, and how you might benefit from it.


Imagine being rushed to the hospital and confined for a week due to a minor heart attack. The doctor advised you to take a leave of absence from work in order to recuperate and has prescribed you with maintenance medications. With all these expenses, do you have the right plan to cover for them?

In this example, an early-stage CI plan can help you meet treatment costs or make up for lost income while you recover from surgery or a heart attack. Considering your current lifestyle and health history, do you think an early critical illness insurance is suitable for you?

Let’s look at what early-stage CI insurance does, and how you might benefit from it.

What is an early-stage critical illness (CI) plan?

Before anything else, it helps to review what a Critical Illness plan does. When you get diagnosed with a critical illness that is covered by your plan, you receive a cash benefit that you can use to pay for your treatments or living expenses. The benefit is a fixed amount given in lump sum.

To receive the benefit, however, your diagnosed illness must be part of the list of critical illnesses covered by your plan. For instance, HealthFlex provides coverage for over 100 critical illnesses such as heart attack, stroke, and cancer, which are the top causes of death in the Philippines. HealthFlex also covers early-stage critical illnesses.

Some critical illness plans only provide coverage for illnesses diagnosed at a later stage, which means that you only get the cash benefits if you got diagnosed with something like a massive heart attack.

What does an early critical illness plan cover?

As the name suggests, an early-stage critical illness plan provides a cash benefit if you get diagnosed during the early stages of a major illness. As early screenings become more advanced and accessible, having this type of insurance becomes useful for covering medical fees, so you can focus on recovering without worrying about expenses.

As a rule of thumb, look for an early-stage critical illness plan that can cover a year’s worth of income. This should be enough to cover your treatment costs and make up for lost income while you recover.

Depending on the plan, early-stage CI insurance can also include the following benefits:

  • Death benefit
  • Maturity Benefit
  • Long Life Bonus
  • Waiver of Premium due to Early Stage CI
  • Recovery Benefit
  • Male/ Female Cancer Benefit
  • Child Critical Illness Benefit

Do I really need early-stage critical illness insurance?

Getting a lump sum benefit during a disease’s early stages means one less thing to worry about. Like any insurance plan, however, early-stage CI coverage is not for everyone. Here are some things that will help you decide if this CI plan is right for you.

Family history of heart attack, stroke, cancer, and other critical illnesses

Heart Attack, Stroke, and Cancer are the top causes of death in the Philippines. While these are lifestyle diseases that are preventable and avoidable with proper healthy living, most can also be inherited and can run in families.

Colorectal, lung, breast, liver, and prostate cancer are some of the leading types of cancer among men and women. Check your family’s medical history for relatives who suffered from these cancers or other long-term illnesses. If you do, your chances of getting it are higher.

Early-stage cancer is largely asymptomatic, and the only way to detect it is through early screening. If you’re concerned about getting these illnesses, it makes sense to get a CI plan that will cover you for the disease’s early stages.

Number of dependents

Are you supporting your retired parents or paying for your children’s education? If you have loved ones who are relying on your income, early-stage CI insurance makes sure their needs are still met while you recover from your illness. With Manulife’s HealthFlex, aside from the early stage CI benefit, you will also receive a Loyalty Bonus, which are annual dividends that can be withdrawn anytime or left to accumulate until maturity.

Budget considerations

Early-stage illnesses could also require a series of treatments. As such, premiums for early-stage CI can become relatively high compared to regular CI plans. Consider the costs and make sure you can afford the premium over a long-term period.

What to look for in an early-stage CI plan

When choosing an early-stage CI plan, pay attention to the following details:

Number of payouts

Some early-stage CI plans offer a one-time payout only, which means it won’t cover you again if the illness comes back. This is problematic, as it can be difficult to get re-insured if you have had a cancer diagnosis.

You may want to consider CI plans that offer multiple payouts instead, so you can keep claiming in case of a relapse or if you get struck by a different critical illness.

Critical Illness Benefit reverts to 100%

Most of the CI plans only advance a percentage of the benefit coverage when you are diagnosed with an early-stage critical illness. But with Manulife’s HealthFlex, you get advanced coverage if diagnosed with early-stage critical illnesses, and your coverage resets after a year if there are no further claims. With this, you won’t need to worry if your CI develops to an advanced stage because you can get 100% of your coverage.

Covered conditions

An early-stage CI plan will typically cover more conditions beyond the standard critical illnesses. Take a good look at the covered early-stage illnesses and make sure that the plan includes the conditions you’re likely to get.

Waiver of Premium due to Early Stage CI

Not all early-stage CI plans waive premiums when you are diagnosed with early-stage CI. Look for a plan which helps you recover from the early stage CI without worrying about where to get your premium payments. With Manulife’s HealthFlex, for instance, when the insured is diagnosed with any of the covered early-stage critical illnesses, one-year premium is waived.

Still unsure about early-stage CI insurance?

Figuring out the right CI coverage is a complex process, and it’s okay to still be unsure about getting early-stage coverage. If you need help in figuring this out, our friendly Manulife Financial Advisors are ready to answer all your CI insurance questions. Speak with one today!


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