Health Insurance

Single-Pay vs Multi-Pay Critical Illness Plans

Learn how to protect your financial and physical health with single-pay or multi-pay critical illness insurance plans in Singapore.

Critical illnesses such as cancer are known to be the major causes of deaths amongst Singaporeans. These conditions are not only difficult to heal but also expensive to treat. Depending on the treatment required, the medical bills can easily go into the range of hundreds of thousands, an amount that most regular salaried workers will find hard to bear. This is where critical illness insurance plans, also known as CI insurance in Singapore, can come in very handy. If you’ve yet to discover the importance of critical illness insurance coverage, read on because you’ll find out how such a plan can be beneficial for you. We’ll also help you identify the differences between single-pay and multi-pay critical illness insurance plans so that you can make an informed decision when you decide to sign up for one.

What Does a Critical Illness Insurance Plan in Singapore Cover?

critical illness patient coughing

Unlike life insurance which offers a pay-out to your beneficiaries when you pass on or are in a state of total permanent disability (TPD), critical illness (CI) insurance coverage provides you with financial protection when you’re diagnosed with a critical illness. The level of financial coverage differs between insurers but they’ll usually define their CI insurance plan in Singapore based on the type of critical illnesses, the number of illnesses detected and at which stage the illness is at.

A typical CI insurance plan insures you from the risk of developing any of the 37 critical illnesses defined under the Life Insurance Association Singapore (LIA) framework. The list comprises major ailments such as cancers, heart attacks of specified severity and stroke with permanent neurological deficits that are leading causes of death in Singapore.

1. Major Cancer21. Motor Neurone Disease
2. Heart Attack of Specified Severity22. Primary Pulmonary Hypertension
3. Stroke with Permanent Neurological Deficit23. HIV Due to Blood Transfusion and Occupationally Acquired HIV
4. Coronary Artery By-pass Surgery24. Benign Brain Tumour
5. End Stage Kidney Failure25. Severe Encephalitis
6. Irreversible Aplastic Anaemia26. Severe Bacterial Meningitis
7. End Stage Lung Disease27. Angioplasty & Other Invasive Treatment for Coronary Artery
8. End Stage Liver Failure28. Blindness
9. Coma29. Major Head Trauma
10. Deafness30. Paralysis
11. Open Chest Heart Valve Surgery31. Terminal Illness
12. Irreversible Loss of Speech32. Progressive Scleroderma
13. Major Burns33. Persistent Vegetative State
14. Major Organ / Bone Marrow Transplantation34. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus with Lupus Nephritis
15. Multiple Sclerosis35. Other Serious Coronary Artery Disease
16. Muscular Dystrophy36. Poliomyelitis
17. Idiopathic Parkinson’s Disease37. Loss of Independent Existence
18. Open Chest Surgery to Aorta
19. Alzheimer’s Disease / Severe Dementia
20. Fulminant Hepatitis

The essential goal of critical illness insurance coverage is to allow policyholders to receive substantial financial support so that they can focus on recovery instead of forgoing treatments because of financial lack or loss of income.

What Are the Different Types of Critical Illness Insurance Plans in Singapore?

health insurance

In general, there are two types of critical illness plans: Single-Pay plans and Multi-Pay plans.

Single-Pay Critical Illness Insurance Plan

Such a plan provides a lump sum pay-out upon diagnosis of late stage of a critical condition such as stage 4 of cancer. If you purchase an early critical illness plan (ECI), the single pay-out will be made at the early-stage detection.

As a rule of thumb, you can only make a single claim from your Single-Pay critical illness Insurance plan. Once that claim is made, the policy expires. This means you’ll no longer be covered or entitled to make another claim should you be diagnosed with another critical illness.

Another important factor to note when buying a Single-Pay critical illness Insurance plan is that once you make a claim, it’ll be tough to find another insurer that is willing to insure you for critical illnesses. Even if you manage to find one, it is not very likely to cover you for the same condition you’ve been diagnosed with. Your premium may also be a lot higher than before.

Who is suitable for this type of critical illness insurance coverage? Those in their 20s or 30s and have not been diagnosed with any critical illness. Because the premiums are tagged to the policyholder’s age, health and lifestyle, getting such an insurance plan at a younger age will be much cheaper.

Multi-Pay Critical Illness Insurance Plan

As the name suggests, the Multi-Pay plan allows you to claim multiple pay-outs for different critical illnesses in the early, intermediate and late stages. The plan is designed to provide continual protection even after the first critical illness claim is made.

Unlike the Single-Pay policy which insured you for only one condition, a Multi-Pay critical illness insurance plan covers you for multiple critical illnesses throughout your lifetime. For example, Singlife’s Multipay Critical Illness plan allows as many as six claims. Policyholders can even enjoy total pay-out of up to 900% of sum assured.

However, one downside that comes with Multi-Pay plans is the pricey premiums when compared to Sing-Pay policies. If you’re cost-conscious, you may want to consider alternatives such as buying riders on top of a basic critical illness insurance plan for more comprehensive coverage. That said, always do thorough research across different insurers to find the best critical illness coverage that is most suitable for your lifestyle and needs.

Who is suitable for Multi-Pay critical illness insurance plans? Those who are genetically predisposed to critical illnesses or at risk of contracting diseases due to environmental or lifestyle factors. The Multi-Pay plan can also be a saving grace for those with dependents. The pay-outs offer substantial financial support to take care of family obligations and medical treatments even when there is a loss of income.


Don’t be in a hurry to sign up for the cheapest or most expensive Single-Pay or Multi-Pay critical illness insurance plan out of fear. The process of selection should be based on careful assessment of how much coverage you may need and what kind of conditions you may be predisposed to. Importantly, making it a priority to live a healthy lifestyle is the best bet to prevent you from making a claim any time soon.

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