Even if you’ve got health insurance, chances are you’d still have a hefty bill to pay after a hospital stay here in Singapore. Here, the Expat Insurance team shares why you should consider buying hospital and surgical insurance even if you’ve already got health coverage. Find out how it can benefit you whether you’re an expat, PR or citizen here in Singapore.
What is hospital and surgical insurance?
Medical care in Singapore is excellent but costly. The Singapore Ministry of Health statistics show the cost of treatment in private hospitals averages $1,800 to $3,700 per day. And the average bill for surgeries? Around $28,000.
Hospital and surgical insurance, also known as inpatient cover, is designed to cover patients for any medical expenses incurred while warded in a hospital. For example, if you’re in a car accident and require surgery and hospitalisation, the cost can be covered with hospital and surgical insurance. Some plans even cover the necessary outpatient treatments and follow-up consultations after the patient has been discharged.
Who can benefit from hospital and surgical insurance?
Almost everyone can benefit from this type of coverage. You’ll want to consider securing hospital and surgical insurance if you fall into any of the following categories.
#1 You’re an expat living in Singapore with an existing private health insurance policy
As a foreigner living in Singapore, you don’t have access to subsidies in the public health system like Singaporeans or PRs do. So, buying a private health insurance plan is an absolute must to keep medical costs from weighing you down. But, even if you’ve purchased a private health coverage policy, you’ll want to check for any exclusions or limits. If you find that your current policy doesn’t sufficiently cover surgery or hospital expenses, it’s a good idea to consider buying a top-up plan that can pad you with that extra protection. While this means paying more premiums, it can prove to be an invaluable investment should an unexpected hospital stay happen.
If you travel a lot, consider opting for a more comprehensive global hospital insurance plan. This will allow you to access hospital care anywhere in the world, if needed.
#2 You’re an Employment Pass holder with health coverage through work
If you’re an Employment Pass (EP) holder, you’ve likely got health benefits through work. However, most employer-provided insurance plans have low limits and exclusions. In fact, many employee benefits do not cover hospitalisation expenses at all. This means your bank account will take a major hit in the event of a medical emergency that requires an overnight stay at the ICU.
Let’s say your employee insurance benefits cover a portion of that shoulder surgery you require. Even if you’re covered for some of the bill, you’ll still need to come up with the rest yourself. Having hospital and surgical insurance, however, would negate the need to pay the rest out of pocket, as the extended coverage would kick in when the limit of your basic plan is met.
Supplementing your employer-provided coverage with hospital and surgical insurance is, therefore, a wise decision that’s well worth your consideration. This can be done by purchasing a top-up insurance plan, which offers additional protection where your current policy falls short.
#3 You’re a PR or Singaporean citizen who wants more comprehensive care
As a PR or Singaporean citizen, you are automatically covered with MediShield Life, a basic health insurance with affordable premiums. However, coverage can be quite limited. With MediShield Life, you’ll only be covered for select treatments and at public hospitals, which tend to be busier with longer wait times. Additionally, pre- and post-operation treatments aren’t covered. That means you’d have to pay for diagnosis and recovery out of pocket.
For these reasons, many Singaporeans and PRs choose to boost their government-provided coverage with an Integrated Shield Plan (IP). An IP offers additional coverage through a private insurance plan, although it provides local and limited coverage only, as compared to a comprehensive international insurance plan. Some of the perks of an IP include higher claim limits, pre- and post-hospitalisation treatments, higher class hospital wards at public hospitals and the option to stay at private facilities. It also affords them the financial freedom to choose from a wider range of doctors and treatment options.
#4 You prefer a private hospital room
Another key difference between public and private hospitals is room type. While there are single and double rooms at public hospitals, most rooms have anywhere from four to nine beds. If you’re a PR or citizen relying on MediShield alone, you’ll find yourself sharing a room (and toilet) with up to eight other patients.
That said, if you prefer more privacy and other perks that private hospitals offer, but don’t want to pay out of pocket for it (we’re talking anywhere from around $800 a night!), you’ll benefit from hospital insurance. Private hospitals have single, double and four-bed room options. Plus, they usually come with en-suite bathrooms, toiletries and other luxuries.
Find out more
For more information, get in touch with Expat Insurance. Their brokers can help you incorporate the best hospital insurance coverage into your existing policy to suit your needs.