Having children can be rewarding but stressful, exhausting but exhilarating all at the same time. And it’s certainly not cheap! While the cost of living in Singapore is already high, adding a kid or two into the mix only steepens the expenses. From pregnancy and delivery to quality but costly healthcare for the entire family, having and raising a child in Singapore certainly has its financial challenges. So, if you’re looking for some tips on how to save money along the way (and afford international school fees), read this! The Expat Insurance team shares some key ways foreigners can mitigate some of these costs with insurance – including international health insurance for expats, maternity insurance in Singapore and more.
With quality healthcare comes a high cost of living in Singapore
With the high cost of living in Singapore comes quality healthcare – a major perk of having and raising kids here. However, foreigners don’t have access to public health subsidies like Singaporeans do. This means that as an expat you’ll have to fork out extra for that quality care. To help reduce these costs, you might want to consider the following types of health insurance for expats in Singapore.
#1 Maternity insurance in Singapore
Having a baby here can be very expensive. It all starts with regular OB visits to ensure your baby is developing well. These trips to the gynae will likely cost somewhere between $100 and $300 per visit in the first trimester. You’ll want to secure maternity insurance in Singapore to reduce the costs of prenatal care, as well as the costs associated with childbirth. This includes your hospital stay, doctor fees and newborn care for a certain period of time.
The cost of childbirth will depend on the type of hospital you choose – private or public – and the type of delivery you have. Many expats whose maternity costs are covered by health insurance usually choose to give birth in private hospitals. However, public hospitals also provide quality care at more affordable rates.
A natural birth at a private hospital, for instance, can cost up to $13,000 or more depending on your preferred room type. A natural birth at a public hospital, however, normally ranges between $4,000 and $6,000 depending on room type. And, while a c-section at a public hospital can cost up to $11,000, a caesarean at a private hospital like Gleneagles can range from $16,000 to $20,000. Of course, any complications will further increase the cost. A stay at the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) following a premature birth can cost more than $30,000.
That said, if you’re looking for a strategy on how to save money, consider delivering at a public hospital.
Costs can be reduced with maternity insurance in Singapore no matter where you deliver. It’s designed to cover the costs associated with childbirth including your hospital stay, doctor fees and newborn care for a certain period of time. It also provides coverage for the extra hospital stay and additional costs associated with any birth complications.
When to buy maternity insurance in Singapore
It’s important to note that maternity insurance in Singapore cannot be purchased on its own. It can only be purchased as part of an existing health coverage policy. So, even if you’re just contemplating the idea of having kids in the nearish future, it’s wise to consider pregnancy insurance as part of your plan. There’s always a waiting period involved anyway, so making the investment now can pay off by the time you’re pregnant. Think of it this way: All that money you’ll save with maternity insurance can be used toward essentials like bottles and diapers down the line!
#2 Comprehensive health insurance for expats in Singapore
Babies require lots of trips to the paediatrician. This is to ensure that they’re healthy, strong and hitting all those important developmental milestones. You can expect your first paediatric visit at seven to 10 days old. This will be followed by visits at four, six, nine, 12, 15, 18 and 24 months. On average, each visit can cost about $120.
What’s more, children tend to fall ill more often than their grown counterparts, primarily because their immune systems are more vulnerable. Among the most common paediatric illnesses in Singapore are the following:
- the common cold
- hand, foot and mouth disease
- stomach flu
- allergic rhinitis
Paediatric visits and other costs can accumulate fast. Therefore, foreigners looking to offset these expenditures will want to buy health insurance.
International health insurance for expats
International health insurance is particularly beneficial for expat families, as it’s more comprehensive, usually coming with high limits, a wide network and additional benefits such as travel, health screenings and dental coverage. It offers long-term coverage for medical care while living overseas, with durations varying across insurance providers. You’ll also have the flexibility to be treated in private, world-class medical facilities or, if you choose, to be treated in your home country. This can be crucial with so many trips home for the holidays and weekend getaways.
While international health insurance can be more costly than a local plan, it can be well worth the investment. The money you’ll be saving from medical bills in the long-run could mean more funds to put aside for primary and secondary school tuition later on.
If you require extra coverage for you or your family, you can even get a top-up insurance plan, which increases a client’s accident, annual and lifetime limits. This is particularly useful for addressing any gaps in employer-provided health plans, which are often minimal, covering only basic emergency and hospitalisation bills. You may want to add on dental or maternity to top up your existing employer-provided medical insurance plan.
#3 Hospital and surgical insurance
With a little one on the loose, this is a top-up option that’s certainly worth exploring, especially since it’s likely excluded in your employee insurance benefits.
According to Health Hub Singapore, the most common injuries children go to hospital for include:
- skin abrasions, cuts, scalds and burns;
- bone and joint injuries such as getting fingers caught in doors or drawers, fractures, and discoloration of elbows or shoulders;
- impact bruises and head injuries from falls; and
- foreign objects swallowed or lodged in the ears and nose.
Even your private health coverage policy might have exclusions and limits when it comes to covering surgery or hospital expenses. Hospital and surgical insurance, also known as inpatient cover, is designed to cover patients for any medical expenses incurred while warded in a hospital. Some plans even cover the necessary outpatient treatments and follow-up consultations after the patient has been discharged.
So, while comes at an extra cost, it’s a great little “how to save money” strategy by cutting down on medical costs long-term. Plus, you’ll feel at ease knowing you’re protected when your toddler takes that tumble or your teen injures herself during sports.
How to save money and protect your family with life insurance
Buying a life insurance policy is a must for any working adult with dependents while living in Singapore. It offers expats a financial safety net for their families and themselves in the event that an incident occurs. It’s an inexpensive but protective type of coverage that pays out upon death.
Even if you’ve got life insurance through work, it may not be sufficient, and it’s certainly not transferable if you lose your job. Buying a personal policy, however, will ensure that the coverage can be used anywhere you go.
Term life insurance
While there are different types of life insurance to consider, term life insurance is very often recommended for expats in Singapore, thanks to its flexibility and portability. It can be amended at different stages of your life and also travel with you to your next overseas posting. This, of course, provides major peace of mind.
You can also purchase term life insurance with riders to provide additional levels of coverage. Critical illness cover, for instance, is a very popular add-on.
Find out more
Want to know more about how to save money while keeping your family protected? Expat Insurance offers a range of different plans to cover your children, including life insurance, medical insurance, hospital and surgical insurance and other types of insurance for expats in Singapore. Their brokers can help you figure which plans would fit your family’s unique needs and budget.
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