As the world navigates the impact of COVID-19, questions about health and medical insurance have been thrown to the forefront of conversations. What is included in my family’s cover? What is covered under private and government health insurance policies? Do we have the right insurance plan? These are all important questions to consider when planning your family’s health insurance, not only in light of the current situation, but for future uncertainties.
Plan to be ready for anything that comes your way
If you’re a Permanent Resident in Singapore, you are covered under MediShield Life, a basic health insurance that also covers citizens. However, this plan doesn’t cover everything. If you are an expatriate who does not hold Permanent Residency in Singapore you do not qualify for this basic health insurance, which means that healthcare can potentially get costly, especially with serious illnesses like cancer. Whatever your residency status, it’s important to still consider acquiring private healthcare insurance so you and your family can enjoy your time in Singapore with peace of mind.
Health and Medical Insurance Options in Singapore
Aside from the government-run MediShield Life and Integrated Shield Plans offered by private insurers, common health and medical insurance options in Singapore include critical illness insurance and international medical insurance.
MediShield Life – This is a basic health insurance plan. Available only to Singaporeans and Permanent Residents, it subsidises payments for inpatient hospitalisation treatment bills in Singapore only. The premiums are paid from one’s Central Provident Fund (CPF) Medisave account.
What does this cover?
- Stays in Class B2/C wards in public hospitals. If you stay in an A/B1-type ward or in a private hospital, proration restrictions will be imposed on your claims and you will need to pay the difference in cost.
- Helps pay for inpatient hospital bills only. Pre-hospitalisation and follow-up outpatient treatment are not covered.
Integrated Shield Plan (IP) – An IP will provide your family with additional coverage on top of your basic MediShield Life plan if you are a Singaporean or Permanent Resident. If you have a different citizenship status, you may purchase it separately from some insurers subject to meeting the eligibility criteria.
What does this cover?
- Stays in a Private ward, Class A (1 bed) and B1 (2 or 4 bed) ward in public and private hospitals, depending on the chosen plan type.
- Some insurers offer coverage to newborns, provided both parents are covered by the IP.
- Pre- and post-hospitalisation coverage.
- Inpatient and outpatient treatment related to hospital stay.
Critical Illness Insurance – The Life Insurance Association has a definition list of 37 critical illnesses. Critical illness insurance provides a lump sum payout if you’re diagnosed with any of the covered critical illnesses. The coverage type determines the number of critical illnesses covered, when you’ll be able to receive a payout, the claimable sum, and the number of claims you can make.
According to the 2017 Protection Gap Study by the Life Insurance Association, it’s recommended that you have 3.9 times your annual salary in critical illness coverage, which should be enough cash to cover you during your recovery period.
What does this cover?
- Defined number of critical illnesses in your policy.
- Some policies allow claims for multiple critical illnesses, and some cover Early and Intermediate Stages of critical illness.
- Some policies may include coverage for additional special conditions that are not defined as critical illnesses.
International Medical Insurance – If you will be away from your home country for a prolonged period, International Medical Insurance can keep you and your family financially protected throughout.
It offers the flexibility to seek treatment anywhere in the world, as well as generally providing higher limits and broader coverage than local and Shield Plans. Of course, this is subject to the conditions and claim limits of your plan.
As with all other medical plans, chronic conditions are also covered, as long as the condition is legitimate and requires hospitalisation. Chronic conditions are not considered to be a policy feature. Premiums for International Medical Insurance do cost more, so it’s important to understand if this is something you need.
What broader coverage will you receive? This depends on your insurance provider, but it may provide:
- Outpatient specialist care
- Health screening
The Singapore government has stepped up to assist individuals with medical costs related to COVID-19 that covers testing and hospitalisation. In the unfortunate event that you are diagnosed with COVID-19, some insurance plans can help to pay for outpatient and inpatient medical expenses, give lump-sum payouts for total and permanent disability and death, and provide hospital cash.
While we may be in the middle of a pandemic, it’s not too late to acquire medical and health insurance. Investing money into an insurance plan could save you a bigger headache later, and potentially give you access to greater healthcare options.
About the Author, Paul Martin Coates
Paul Martin Coates is an authorised Premier Wealth Manager from Aviva Financial Advisers Pte Ltd and a Singapore Permanent Resident who has spent 20 years in Singapore helping individuals, business owners, companies and families find the right insurance plans to fit their needs.
About Aviva Financial Advisers
Aviva Financial Advisers Pte. Ltd. is a licensed financial advisory firm in Singapore, wholly owned by Aviva Limited, an insurer in Singapore. At Aviva Financial Advisers Pte Ltd, we work with various life and general insurers, and investment/fund providers. This way, we’ll be able to provide you with holistic financial solutions to meet your needs. Our office is located at 51 Cuppage Road, #03-08, Singapore 229469. We can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or +6827 9980. For more information, please visit http://www.avivafa.com.sg.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this material are solely that of the author and do not reflect the opinion of Aviva Financial Advisers Pte Ltd. The information contained in this material is for general information only and does not constitute the provision of financial advisory services. The information is accurate as at 7 August 2020. The content within the website has not been reviewed by Monetary Authority of Singapore.
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