Maternity care is great in Singapore, but costly. From prenatal care and delivery to postnatal care and newborn check-ups, there’s a whole lot of expenses that you certainly won’t want to pay out of pocket. Here, the Pacific Prime team shares why you’ll want to secure a comprehensive maternity coverage plan before you even get pregnant, plus key things to consider before buying maternity insurance in Singapore.
Why buy maternity insurance in Singapore?
Having a baby in Singapore is expensive. A normal delivery at a private hospital can cost around anywhere from $8,800 to $11,750. For a C-section, you’re looking at upwards of $13,800 at a facility like Mount Elizabeth or Gleneagles. And, should the baby need to stay in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), daily rates range between $270 and $750 at a private hospital. This doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface with prenatal consultations, scans, postnatal visits and everything in between.
Having a comprehensive maternity insurance plan in place is the best way to ensure that all of these costs are covered.
What does maternity insurance cover?
Maternity insurance is designed to cover the expenses that are associated with the development and birth of a baby, and post-natal care for mum and baby. This includes prenatal care such as doctor check-ups, ultrasounds and blood tests. It also includes expenses related to giving birth – from normal delivery to medically necessary C-sections – such as the hospital stay, doctor’s fees and newborn care for up to the first 90 days of the baby’s life, along with the necessary vaccinations.
Typical postnatal care for both the mom and baby includes routine doctor’s visits for health check-ups and even some lab work. Newborn postnatal care also includes vaccinations, which can easily cost over $1,300 in a private clinic. Some insurance plans also include coverage for help with breastfeeding by a lactation consultant or other professional.
6 need-to-know’s before you buy maternity insurance in Singapore
Like other insurance policies, not all maternity insurance plans are the same. So, it’s key to know exactly what your plan includes and any limitations or restrictions. Here are six important things to consider when buying maternity insurance in Singapore.
#1 Maternity insurance always comes with a “waiting period”
All maternity coverage comes with a waiting period – a duration of time that must pass after you have enrolled on a policy before you are able to receive the benefits. During this time, you won’t be able to claim any maternity-related benefits.
Maternity coverage in Singapore usually comes with a waiting period ranging from 10 to 24 months, and many insurers are even increasing their waiting periods. That said, it’s essential for moms-to-be to start thinking about maternity insurance well in advance.
#2 Maternity coverage must be purchased prior to getting pregnant
With this waiting period in mind, you’ll need to purchase it prior to getting pregnant in order to have coverage throughout your entire pregnancy. But, if you’re already pregnant and looking for maternity insurance, you’ll most likely not be able to get it.
If you are already pregnant, there’s still a silver lining. While it’s too late to cover the costs associated with prenatal care and delivery, there are still steps you can take while pregnant to protect your baby after delivery. For instance, you can secure a newborn health insurance plan that will cover your baby’s medical costs from the moment they are born. This is particularly important, as newborns can be prone to illnesses in their very early months.
#3 Maternity insurance in Singapore can only be purchased as an add-on
In Singapore, maternity insurance cannot be purchased as standalone coverage. Instead, it must be bought as an add-on to an existing health insurance policy. You can choose to buy an individual or family health plan with a maternity rider or top up your employee health insurance plan.
#4 There might be exclusions to your policy
Most maternity policies include a set of exclusions that vary from plan to plan, and insurer to insurer. For exclusions such as pregnancy complication cover or an elective C-section, policy-holders can obtain an additional rider or choose a plan with higher benefit limits. However, there are some maternity-related exclusions to expect. Some of the things not covered under any maternity insurance plans worldwide include the following:
- treatment expenses related to infertility;
- pre-existing diseases affecting pregnancy;
- non-medically necessary C-sections; and
- harvesting and storage of stem cells when carried out as a preventive measure against possible future illnesses.
#5 Your newborn will need coverage
Having maternity insurance in place when giving birth protects your newborn should it be born with any congenital disease. If any complications do arise, maternity plans usually cover a newborn for up to 30 days after delivery. After that, you’ll need to make sure your baby is covered with newborn insurance coverage.
Newborn insurance is important because it ensures that your little one is covered for the first few years of life, should any medical issues arise. While all newborn insurance plans include infant-specific benefits, they can vary in terms of what’s covered and when the coverage begins. Some policies start from the moment your baby is born, while others have delayed start dates. It’s essential to know when your baby’s policy kicks in so there is no lapse in coverage. Delayed coverage can be useful if you have maternity insurance that already offers insurance for babies after delivery.
#6 You’ll need international maternity insurance if you want global coverage
If you plan on travelling while pregnant, know that travel insurance plans do not cover pregnancy-related issues. This means that if you get stuck abroad with any pregnancy complications, you’ll need to pay out of pocket. That, of course, could get quite costly.
Buying international maternity insurance is your best bet if you want to ensure coverage in any situation. International maternity insurance would give you access to treatment within the network of private hospitals and medical facilities in the country you’re in.
What’s more, having international maternity cover means that if you or your newborn gets COVID-19 abroad, your insurer will cover the cost of treatment up to the benefits of the agreed plan. You’ll even be covered for COVID testing and other pandemic-related costs.
Want to find out more?
Check out this free Maternity Insurance Guide by Pacific Prime Singapore’s team of consultants (and mothers!) to learn about:
- important maternity insurance terms;
- the ins and outs of maternity insurance;
- the best maternity hospitals in the country;
- the cost of expat maternity care in Singapore; and
- protecting yourself and your baby from COVID-19.