“Kopi O Kosong. Kaya loti!”
These were Uncle Soon’s signature orders at the coffee-shop that he frequented.
Uncle Soon was a family friend that stayed in the same block as my family.
Due to our close proximity and his radiant personality, I loved hanging out with him and his son, Eric, on the weekends.
And we would always end up at the nearby coffee shop so that Uncle Soon could have his fix.
Naturally, I would have some too.
The heat of the toast would melt the butter into the kaya jam.
And the resultant salty-sweet mix tasted heavenly.
My parents revealed that Uncle Soon would never accept any payment for the food that he bought me.
He had explained that it was nice to have someone share the same liking for kaya butter loti and accompany Eric too.
That was my Uncle Soon.
An affable, generous man with a love for simple pleasures.
A simple wish denied
Years later, Uncle Soon was diagnosed with late stage cancer of the pancreas.
It was a disease that ultimately took his life.
But he never told anyone about how much he was suffering, though it was evident to everyone around him.
Uncle Soon had to undergo intravenous chemotherapy.
The procedure of administering Abraxane into the vein was not the scary part.
It was what came afterwards.
He would be fatigued after each treatment.
Yet he could not get proper rest due to sharp pangs of abdominal pain.
He vomited so often that he became afraid to eat.
For him to be back to his jolly old self, it would take a couple of weeks.
But by then, it would be close to the next round of chemotherapy.
The treatment, rather than the actual cancer itself, was draining the life out of Uncle Soon.
His smiles became fainter.
His touches became lighter.
But he never stopped assuring everyone that he was okay.
Even when we knew he was not.
On some days, I would bring some toast to share.
But by then, he did not have much of an appetite.
Even so, he would take a whiff and try to have a little bite.
And complain about how it paled in comparison with the one at the coffee shop back home.
In truth, we all understood that it was not about the kaya, butter or the bread.
It was about his yearning to return home.
To be surrounded by the people, sights and smells that he was familiar with.
But those were the dark old days when a hospice stay was not covered under any shield plan.
Uncle Soon knew that it would be a heavy burden on Eric and the family if he insisted on going home.
Not just financially but also logistically.
He would have to go back on a daily basis.
Or have home visits from the doctor.
And those things cost money and time. A lot of it.
All Uncle Soon wanted was the simple joy of being in his own home.
Yet it could not be done due to resource constraints – and his insurance plan coverage back then.
And I knew that for Eric, deep down, he was sorry that he could not fulfil such a simple wish.
Palliative Care – The Future of Insurance
As our population ages, hospice and palliative care have become important issues for the next generation.
We already demand a good quality of life when we are healthy and well.
Needless to say, this becomes even more important, when we are not in the best physical condition.
This is where hospice services come in.
Hospice is a community-based service to assist people to live painless and dignified last days and to support related family members in those difficult times.
It is a misconception that it is only a service rendered for those staying in hospices.
Indeed, some hospice receivers are cared for at home when the situation allows for it.
The family member who is the main caregiver is supported by the hospice staff and volunteers in all areas, such as in pain management, physiological and psychological aspects, etc.
We know that death is a taboo topic.
But it is something that we all have to face one day.
It is better to discuss it openly now and make plans for the inevitable.
What we want in our last days of our lives is to be painless.
We prefer to be cared for in the comfort of our own home instead of being alone on a cold hospital bed.
And most importantly, we would rather leave behind happy memories and a proper inheritance as a legacy, instead of bills.
AXA Home Care Rider gives you with the power to grant wishes.
In the current state of healthcare insurance, covering for deductibles and co-insurance have become the bare minimum for every Integrated Shield Plan.
As savvy consumers, we want more than just that.
We want a plan that enables us to enjoy a good quality of healthcare throughout our lifetime.
And that plan is AXA Home Care Rider.
As the name implies, the rider is targeted at those who would want to stay home when their health is not well.
Need inpatient hospice care?
You can claim up to a maximum of $350 per day and up to 90 days per policy year.
From our research, the daily limit should be sufficient for you to afford hospice service in Singapore.
You can claim up to 90 days or $6,000 per policy year, for a nurse to care for you at home.
Ditto for home care medical services.
Need a GP to make a home visit?
AXA pays for 3 visits per policy year with a maximum of $100 per trip and subject to a 50% co-payment.
Need a wheelchair and other equipment in order to ambulate?
You can either buy or rent one.
The rider reimburses you up to $1,000.
After I understood this rider better, I thought about my old family friend.
If there were such insurance plans back then, it would have brought much peace and comfort to Uncle Soon and his family.
Flexibility? Consider it done
Other than the AXA Home Care rider, the other additional level of protection that you can get is AXA General Care rider.
The former rider provides depth; this one widens the scope of your Integrated Shield Plan.
In fact, it is no longer just a hospitalisation plan but one that provides holistic health care.
If you are a firm believer in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), this is your must-have rider.
It covers your TCM expenses at $50 per visit.
Medical tourism is getting more popular these days.
You may want to seek treatment in another country so as to enjoy better facilities and lower costs.
AXA General Care reimburses up to $50,000 per year for planned Medical Treatment for Major illnesses, surgical procedures and outpatient cancer treatments.
Even if you are staying in a local hospital, there are ways in which you can benefit too.
Depending on your ward and plan, you receive $100 – $250 for each day that you are hospitalised.
Moreover, your transport to the healthcare institute is claimable, whether it is via taxi or ambulance.
Staying in a hospital ward may be lonesome.
You may arrange for an immediate family to keep you company.
The General Care rider covers this, to the tune of $60 daily, for up to 12 days.
You may not be able to claim for outpatient treatments from your usual IP.
But if it is due to an accident or for fractures, dislocations, and sports injuries, you can make a claim for them from this rider.
Amazingly there are still more perks to this rider.
Dengue, Hand Foot Mouth or Food Poisoning?
The Outpatient bill may be recovered up to the respective plan limits.
With such varied benefits of AXA Shield Riders, your last remaining headache is to decide between which medical treatments you should take up.
Frankly, that is one happy problem to have.
Death is not a choice.
All of us cannot bargain on when or how we are going to leave this world.
But if the opportunity presents itself, I would like to choose where and how I say my final goodbyes.
I want to be with my loved ones.
At the place which I call home.
With the familiar sights, sounds and smells.
My last wish?
Please let me have a final bite of that delicious and aromatic kaya toast before I take my last breath!
If you haven’t done so already, check out the Integrated Shield Plans offered by AXA.
www.ClearlySurely.com aims to eradicate the knowledge gap between consumers and Life Insurance. Our Vision is that one day, every Man, Woman, and Child will be properly insured.
This post is brought to you by AXA. All views and opinions presented in the article are those of www.ClearlySurely.com