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A guide to medical and maternity insurance

If you’re fresh off the plane looking to insure yourself and your family, or an old hand wanting to re-jig your policy arrangements, here are some answers to common questions about insurance in Singapore.


A guide to medical and maternity insurance
A guide to medical and maternity insurance

Olivier Zeller, Pacific Prime

What are some examples of preexisting conditions?

Hypertension, high cholesterol, asthma – basically anything you have had treatment for in the recent past. Most providers can now offer cover for those, but typically against a surcharge on the standard rates. It’s obviously best to secure coverage before anything happens and check the renewability and portability features of your plan to ensure continuation of coverage.

What other kinds of exclusions can appear in policies?

There are always waiting periods before some benefits become available – maternity, for example. It’s therefore essential to purchase those well in advance. Some policies exclude dangerous or hazardous activities such as scuba diving.

Do all policies limit customers to a particular network of healthcare providers?

All the plans we offer give you total freedom of choice of providers – hospitals, clinics, doctors, and so on. There’s also no need to get a referral from a GP to go see a specialist. Most plans would also cover you when you travel or in your home country.

Do any health insurance policies include dental cover?

Yes, dental usually comes as an option. Some plans can even cover optical benefits.

How long does a health insurance claim take to process?

For hospitalisation, our members enjoy direct settlement, so there’s no need to pay upfront; bills are sent to the insurer. For outpatient treatments, you typically need to pay and claim back. Some companies allow for scanned claims or e-claims online, reimbursing within seven to 10 days. You can also enjoy direct billing for out-patient services from a panel of providers, but most clients prefer to choose their doctor and use the e-claim service.

Any other tips?

Most expats in Singapore are covered on local corporate plans with “per disability” limits which are particularly low and insufficient in the event of hospitalisation. More and more of our clients are looking for top-up solutions. The purpose is to hedge against the risk of reaching the limits on the corporate insurance plan or to include additional benefits such as dental, outpatient and maternity.

6536 6173 | pacificprime.com/singapore


A guide to medical and maternity insurance
A guide to medical and maternity insurance

Danielle Warner, Expat Insurance

How much does it cost to have a baby in Singapore?

Welcoming a newborn to the family is costly in Singapore. Medical expenses for each pregnancy typically range from $10,000 to $14,000 for a natural delivery and $12,500 to $16,000 for a caesarean. Bills for a complicated pregnancy or premature birth can be upwards of $20,000 and as high as $180,000.

What are some of the things to keep in mind when it comes to maternity cover?

Maternity insurance can’t be purchased on its own, as a separate insurance policy. This coverage is a benefit extension attached to your main health insurance policy to cover the medical costs you incur during pregnancy. These costs include doctor and OB-GYN visits, routine scans, delivery costs, your hospital stay and treatment for pregnancy complications.

Do policies differ much from provider to provider?

While many policies restrict coverage for your newborn immediately following birth, especially if the mother hasn’t served a wait period under the policy, other policies are designed to provide coverage for a baby from birth. Common scenarios we hear about include no coverage for baby until after discharge from hospital, baby only being covered at 91 days old, and coverage beginning at 15 days after a normal, healthy birth.

If you have a little one on the way, consult your policy for terms relating to “newborn care” or “addition of newborn”.

What else is good to know?

It’s important to plan in advance, as most pregnancy insurance imposes waiting periods that can range from 10 months to 24 months. Again, policies differ so you need to know whether your wait period is prior to conception or prior to claim. Ultimately, you want to know that you’re getting the best care possible for you and your little one. Maternity insurance can help relieve many of the stresses associated with prenatal and postnatal care. You want to be able to focus on your baby instead of on your bills!

6401 9201 | expatinsurance.com.sg

Expat Insurance news: Danielle was recently voted Young Professional of the Year for 2012 in the annual business awards organised by the British Chamber of Commerce.