The population is aging and physicians are not immune to this trend. With diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s, and ALS on the increase, critical illness insurance can be a beneficial addition to an insurance portfolio.
Critical illness insurance pays a one-time benefit to an insured person who suffers from, and survives, a covered illness or impairment listed in the insured’s policy. Critical illness differs from life and disability insurance in the following ways:
• Life insurance pays out on death; critical illness insurance pays on diagnosis and survival.
• Disability insurance pays a periodic (usually monthly) benefit for loss of income due to disability; critical illness insurance pays one lump-sum benefit without the need to prove loss of income or disability.
• Critical illness insurance funds are paid to the insured person and can be used for any purpose—to get specialized treatment, to modify your home or office, to pay off debt, or just to take time off to heal.
• Life and disability insurance are mainly dependent on an applicant’s health history; critical illness insurance also takes your family history into consideration.
Almost all critical illness insurance policies will cover three major impairments—heart attack, stroke, and life-threatening cancers. Many plans include additional impairments and more are being added all the time.
The BCMA critical illness insurance plan, underwritten through Sun Life, has recently introduced a new plan with several improvements, including:
• Addition of seven new covered impairments—ALS and other motor neuron diseases, aortic surgery, aplastic anemia, bacterial meningitis, heart valve replacement, loss of limbs, and loss of independent existence.
• The insurer no longer has the right to terminate all coverage on an insured if cancer is diagnosed within 90 days of the issue date.
• The eligible age to apply for coverage has been increased from 60 to 65.
• Until 13 November 2009 eligible members and their spouses who are insured under the current plan can transfer to the new 25-impairment plan without providing proof of good health. Members and their spouses who are not currently insured under the BCMA plan can apply for $30000 of critical illness insurance under the new plan with no proof of good health.
Information packages describing the new 25-impairment critical illness insurance plan offered through the BCMA were sent to all eligible members in late September. Details of the new plan can also be found on the BCMA web site at www.bcma.org/member-services/insurance-critical-illness.
—Sandie Braid, CEBS
BCMA Insurance Department