Health insurance provides coverage for costs incurred from injury or sickness. A health insurance policy should be at the top of your priority list, irrespective of whether you are self-employed or a salaried individual, as hospitalisation bills in Singapore for even minor accidents can burn a hole in your pocket.
Most employers in Singapore provide a health insurance policy to all their employees, but it will only be limited to a small amount. All Singapore nationals and Permanent Residents are mandated to purchase MediShield Life that covers your basic medical expenses. This policy is part of public insurance. However, you can enhance this cover by opting for an Integrated Shield Plan or ISP that provides coverage for several medical conditions with specialised treatment at hospitals. It is available with payment of an additional premium.
You also have the national medical savings scheme known as Medisave, that will help you put aside part of your income into the Medisave Account to meet your personal or family hospitalisation bills, outpatient expenses and day surgery in the future.
As the cost of hospitalisation in Singapore is very high, you should ideally have a policy over and above the health insurance policy provided to you by your employer. Such private insurance policies normally offer wide-ranging coverage for geographic locations and medical conditions, but you will have to pay a higher premium. There are some private insurance policies that offer flexibility with additional riders that extend the coverage.
It is always better to purchase a health insurance policy as early as possible as the premium costs will only increase with age. There are numerous benefits of purchasing a health insurance policy. Let us take a detailed look at these benefits:
- Comprehensive coverage for specific illness or accident
- Coverage for supplementary illnesses
- Daily cash allowance
- Cashless admission
- Maternity package
- Long period of coverage
- Coverage for psychiatric conditions
- Reasonable cost
- Recuperation grant
- Coverage for pre-existing conditions
- Simple process of making claims
There are different health insurance policies that you can choose from. For example, if you want only the surgical and hospitalisation expenses covered, you can opt for an Integrated Shield Plan or MediShield Life. If you want protection from any major illness, such as cancer, you can opt for a critical illness insurance that will provide you with a lump sum.
With a disability income insurance, you can replace your entire income in case you can no longer work because of a serious accident that has led to your disablement. With long-term care insurance, you can pay for the care that you may need when you are too weak to look after yourself.
Most health insurance policies that employers provide their employees do not have coverage for supplementary health expenses such as private nursing, dental coverage, surgical implants, lab tests and more. So, you can choose a policy that provides coverage for such treatments in case you need them.
Some health insurance companies will provide daily cash allowance to you when you are hospitalised for more than a year, in addition to any other hospital and surgical insurance coverage that you already have.
There are many health insurance companies that allow cashless admission in hospitals with payment of in-patient hospitalisation expenses and showing the Letter of Guarantee.
There are health insurance policies that cover daily hospital costs at any of the participating hospitals for pregnant women. This package covers both, the mother and the child. In case of any complication, there are policies that provide coverage to the mother as early as 13 weeks into the pregnancy and 30 days after the child is delivered. Certain health insurance companies also provide coverage for the child’s welfare if he/she suffers from any congenital illness.
The benefits vary depending on the premium and health insurance policy. So, before you take a decision on which maternity health insurance policy you should select, you must compare policies and go through their benefits. The waiting period in the policy decides the time before you can claim your outlays. So, you must do your research appropriately and understand what you need before making the purchase.
The period of coverage is likely to vary with different insurance providers. Most policies provide health insurance to people as young as 16 years and up until you reach 80 years of age.
Many in Singapore suffer from depression and other related psychiatric issues and it takes a huge toll on mental and financial health. MediShield Life that was introduced by the government, covers in-patient psychiatric treatment, but the coverage is capped at S$100 per day. So, to compliment this cover, you can additionally opt for a private insurance policy for enhanced cover.
Most health insurance policies in Singapore are available at a reasonable price. For example, on an average you can expect to pay roughly S$1,000 to S$1,500 every year for a policy that provides medical expense coverage of up to S$1 million p.a. Some health insurance providers may even offer a discount in case you pay the annual fees in advance.
You may require a longer stay in the hospital to recover fully from a severe accident or illness. Health insurance companies offer coverage under such circumstances in the form of recuperation grant.
Most health insurance providers do not offer coverage for any pre-existing medical conditions, however under certain conditions, few health insurance providers do provide coverage for a pre-existing condition. But, you may have to pay an additional premium or there will be a moratorium period of approximately a few years during which you may not be able to claim for treatment costs arising from the pre-existing ailments.
With most insurance providers, you will simply have to submit all your medical bills to claim your insurance. Many insurance companies provide customers with the option of filling in the claims form online. Once your claims form and the attached bills are verified, you will get a response from the insurer by mail. Normally it takes about two weeks for the entire process to finish. In case of cashless claims, you do not have to pay for any medical expenses upfront as your insurance policy will settle your expenses directly with the hospital. You may only need to pay for expenses not covered under your policy.
Many health insurers offer customised policies with detailed information available online. However, you must do a thorough research on your own to know what best fits your lifestyle and budget, and then reach out to insurance agents when you are informed.