Crowdfunding has exploded in popularity over the past few years as a means of raising money for a cause, including for healthcare and medical reasons. Many families have resorted to it to cover treatment costs for a family member when they’ve been unable to afford such costs on their own. We spoke with Alejandra Perez Coria, Head of Sales & Renewals at Pacific Prime Singapore, about the crowdfunding phenomenon, and tips on how this kind of situation can be avoided.
What exactly is crowdfunding, and how do people utilise it in healthcare?
Crowdfunding refers to the act of raising money from a large number of people. When an underprivileged family or individual is faced with a serious medical condition or requires treatment after an accident, it may often be the case that they have insufficient funds for healthcare. A crowdfunding campaign could then be started for people to help out by donating funds.
This has become extremely popular across the world, even in Singapore. Just recently, a mother launched a crowdfunding effort for her 14-year-old son who had blood poisoning. She wanted him to try a new course of treatment at a private hospital but couldn’t afford the hefty $200,000 that was required. Thankfully, the campaign managed to raise about 75% of the funds they needed.
What are some issues with it?
While it’s comforting to know that there are generous individuals out there, it’s often hard to rely on this when lives are on the line. There is a risk that a campaign could end up coming up short, particularly if the family or individual is not keen on asking beyond their immediate network. Also, with an increasing number of people resorting to crowdfunding campaigns for medical care, it doesn’t reflect well on the public health system and the accessibility of quality healthcare.
What do you think is the main reason people resort to crowdfunding?
The mother I mentioned before had health insurance but it only covered treatments in public and not private hospitals. This is not uncommon of the most basic health insurance plans in Singapore. The moral of the story is that even with health insurance, there is often certain medical coverage that you may not be entitled to. As a result, many end up crowdfunding in order to pay for treatments.
What are some common exclusions in health insurance policies that we should look out for?
- There’s a huge difference between medical costs at public versus private facilities. The cheapest health insurance plans often only cover treatments at public hospitals.
- Most health insurance policies include coverage at both public and private medical facilities, but only if they are in Singapore. Often, equivalent care in another country would not be covered. International health policies can cover such costs, at a higher premium.
- Note that illnesses before the insurance policy was bought would be considered as pre-existing conditions and would not be covered.
- Some insurance policies (or portions of them) may have a waiting period before claims can be made.
It’s important to study your health insurance policy and know whether it’s comprehensive enough to covers your needs. You can find out more about medical insurance plans at Pacific Prime Singapore.
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