If you’ve got a chronic condition like asthma or diabetes, you’ll know just how challenging it can be to find adequate health coverage. However, it’s not impossible! Here, the team at Pacific Prime Singapore shares what to know about medical insurance and pre-existing conditions coverage, and different ways you can get covered, even with a chronic condition you’ve had for years.
Medical insurance and pre-existing conditions
What is a pre-existing condition? It’s any medical illness or injury that an individual has prior to securing a health insurance plan. Typically, pre-existing conditions are long-term and chronic, which means they can only be managed, not cured. Examples include asthma and diabetes. For this reason, many insurers tend to treat any chronic conditions as pre-existing ones; as a result, they exclude them from the majority of health plans.
While it’s possible to find insurance policies that do offer full coverage for pre-existing conditions – many international health insurance plans, for instance – there are many plans that do not.
The good news is, you’ve got options. If you’ve got a chronic or pre-existing condition, here are four ways you can still secure coverage:
#1 Check to see if you’ve got pre-existing conditions coverage as part of a group plan
Interestingly, health insurers will typically cover chronic conditions on certain group plans. Many feature the Medical History Disregard (MHD) clause; this means that pre-existing conditions are covered as long as they’re not explicitly excluded in the policy T&Cs. In fact, many employees offer these types of plans due to the growing cost of chronic conditions in the workplace. Some even take extra measures to help employees manage their chronic conditions with regular health screenings and specialised programmes.
As an expat working in Singapore, chances are, you’ve got group health insurance that’s sponsored by your employer. While employer-provided group plans are usually not sufficient when it comes to covering all your healthcare needs, the pre-existing conditions coverage can be a major advantage. So, it’s definitely worth checking to see if your chronic condition is covered by the group policy’s MHD benefits.
#2 Secure a health plan with a waiting period on coverage
Another popular option is to look for pre-existing conditions insurance plans that apply a moratorium, or waiting period, on the coverage of your chronic condition. This means that you’ll have to wait a certain amount of time (usually 24 months) after purchasing the policy before you can claim any treatments for your pre-existing conditions. This allows insurers to reduce their risk as they only start reimbursing claims once you’ve paid your premiums for a specified duration.
#3 Pay a higher premium in exchange for the coverage you need
You can secure coverage for your pre-existing or chronic conditions through premium loading. This involves paying a higher premium to the insurer in exchange for pre-existing conditions coverage. Insurers will usually offer premium loading on a case-by-case basis after an extensive consultation process. However, not all insurers offer this option, and some restrict the types of conditions that are eligible.
Luckily, there are many international health insurance plans that offer pre-existing coverage via an additional premium or waiting period. This is a great option for expats who are keen on having chronic condition coverage from day one.
#4 Opt for insurance that covers everything apart from chronic conditions
Alternatively, many expats with chronic conditions choose to buy health insurance plans that exclude chronic conditions but cover everything else under the policy. Of course, this means claims can only be made for medical issues unrelated to those conditions. But, depending on your healthcare needs and condition, this might be cheaper in the end, as you’d only be paying out of pocket for treatments related to that one condition. So, while this isn’t exactly chronic conditions coverage, it could be an option that’s worth considering.
Find out more
To learn more about chronic and pre-existing conditions coverage or to find an appropriate plan today, you can reach out to Pacific Prime Singapore. Their team of knowledgeable, experienced and impartial advisors can help you compare plans and support you throughout your insurance journey.
Read on for more about insurance and other health and fitness topics in Singapore.