This article was taken from the Sun, a newspaper in Singapore.
Another 'horror story' involving medical insurance claims. The onus is on the policyholder to understand the terms and conditions of the policy. A policy contains 30 - 40 pages long, with legal terms only lawyers understand! Don't bother too much with the jargon. Just check the list of exclusions.
This case is typical of customer and agent poorly communicated. How many people actually turn the pages of an insurance policy?
Source:The Sun,News,Tuesday 31 August 2010
This sort of fury often brought on by finance-related matters.
Yesterday I received a letter from Prudential, with whom I spend nearly $1,000 every month, telling me that I don’t have cancer. Yep, you read it right. Apparently, according to the experts at Prudential, I lost a breast and went through a 12 hour surgery for… not cancer! Blows your mind, huh? I’m still trying to find pieces of my brain under the couch after this staggering news.
Truth is, three of my many Prudential policies cover me for critical illness. However, when I signed with my agents, I never imagined that cancer at Stage 0 would be considered by my insurance company that I “do not have cancer”. In fact, there is every chance a woman buying a life plan with critical illness coverage has NO IDEA there is a stage called DCIS, and that her insurance company does not consider it cancer.
So my “imaginary cancer” won’t allow me to claim any of the $200,000 (or more) that my critical illness plans entitle me to. Please, if you are a woman reading this, go and see your insurance agent and tell him/her/it that you want coverage for EARLY STAGE CANCERS. Make sure your policy document states that you will get 25% or however much for ductal carcinomas-in- situ or Stage 0 breast cancer. To my understanding these are the 2 policies that offer them now:
1. Great Eastern’s PinkLife will pay out 25% of your sum assured for carcinomas-in- situ. Not great an exchange for a breast but at least it’s not nothing. If I had bought that instead I would have $50,000 to allow me to take a break from work for some months, while still being able to pay my monthly bills and kids’ tuition fees and groceries…
2. AIA’s Complete Critical Illness Cover pays out 25% on early critical illnesses (I am assuming DCIS breast cancer is one of these).
Please please please, I beg you, don’t get like me. Make sure your critical illness plan actually covers you, and you are not just happily giving your money away to insurance companies for their CEOs to buy 10 luxury holiday homes across the world.
Do not be like me. Please.
Call your insurance agent or financial planner today and make sure, by hook or by crook, you are covered by some rider, anything, for early stage cancers.
I’ve been researching cases of insurance companies who don’t pay out for DCIS breast cancers. Looks like it’s a worldwide disease. The insurance companies are the disease, I mean.
I lost a breast to this threat.
My histological report finds the cancer cells ARE malignant and aggressive, and most certainly were life-threatening — or I wouldn’t have needed the mastectomy.
I just happened to discover it before it became an uncontrollable growth.
Tell me how this is not cancer.
In my Googling I found this BBC clip. It makes me so, so sad that all around the world, women like me are shortchanged by insurance policies that they pay through the nose for.
I have paid close to $32,000 for one policy and over $25,000 for the other.
This clause in Critical Illness contracts NEEDS TO CHANGE. DCIS is cancer (and in my case, malignant) and it should be awarded accordingly and automatically. Sadly, Prudential covered its backside in its small print, which I had no understanding of. It makes me sad that they expect me to have Stage 1, or 2, or 3 or terminal cancer and chemo and radiation before I qualify to make a claim. Losing a breast is forever. Surely that must count for something.
For women in their 20s or 30s reading this — if you have had a grandmother, mother, sister, aunt, female cousin contract breast cancer, make sure you get yourself proper coverage (see box above).
A close friend who is a decorated journalist was horrified to hear it was likely I could not make a claim on my critical illness plans. “They should change that,” he said
I think I will be calling him soon. Also I am re-looking at my Prudential policies now — maybe it’s not worthwhile carrying on. I should get my money back. Pity the surrender value is so pathetic. Bet that CEO already bought his 11th luxury holiday home.
Never mind, lessons learned. READ THE SMALL PRINT, AND FIND OUT WHAT THE EXCLUSIONS MEAN.
So, I guess I have no choice but to haul myself back to work.
Shree Ann Mathavan of The New Paper came to visit me yesterday and we had a nice chat about my insurance policies (among other things — she is a lovely girl and a hardworking journalist).
Her story came out in today’s New Paper and I felt it was a really fair and clear report of what happened.
Shree Ann was really respectful of my reasons for talking about this — it is not to complain that Prudential bullied me (which they did not, a contract is a contract) — but to alert other women who might be in the process of buying a policy, or may not have taken a look at her existing policies to make sure her coverage is full. Hence her report came out as such.
I’ve received emails, calls and comments to this blog — financial advisers who very kindly explain how it works (I just wish it was BEFORE not AFTER, but thank you all), women who have been through the same experience, and women who never even realised hospitalisation and critical illness policies are two different policies! So it only confirms that there is definitely a gap in the information that women need to have about their health insurance.
I am also happy to hear from friends who have bought the women’s only policies from AIA, Prudential or Great Eastern, and the GE Early Payout Critical Care, and were covered when the need arose.
Today, for once, I feel like there is something worthwhile that has come out of my cancer experience.