Private Medical Insurance Scheme – What is it?
Also known as PMIS, it allows you to purchase IPs or Integrated Shield Plans using your Medisave savings for both, yourself and your family (which includes your spouse, children, parents and grandparents).
Everything you need to know about Integrated Shield Plans (IPs)
What is an IP?
An IP is a type of a private insurance specifically meant to offer coverage for large hospitalization bills and certain outpatient treatments largely at Class B1 wards in public hospitals across Singapore.
You can use an IP for cover at Class A/B1 wards at public and private hospitals on the island.
Why use an IP?
If you want additional or extra coverage that goes beyond the basic cover that MediShield Life offers, you can apply for an IP. Also, this is an ideal option for you if you are looking at admissions or treatment at higher wards (A and B1 wards) at public and private hospitals.
What gives IP an edge over other private insurance policies?
Any IP in Singapore will be identical to one another across all private insurers. This is because the benefits under this plan is regulated by the Government, therefore you know you will get the best deal with the purchase of one.
Also, unlike any other private insurance, an IP consists of 2 components – The first is your MediShield Life (starting from November 1, 2015 after replacing MediShield) insurance that all Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents are eligible for and covered under automatically. The second component is the private insurance that provides additional cover.
Need to Know – Although the benefits under an IP scheme is regulated by the Government, the premiums set for additional insurance cover under the Standard IP is set by the respective private insurer.
Can Medisave Savings be used for the purchase of IPs?
MediShield Life component of IPs:
You can use the entire savings in your Medisave Account (MA) to pay for the MediShield Life component of your IP.
Private Insurance component of IPs:
The CPF Board has set AWLs or Additional Withdrawal Limits allowing you to use your Medisave savings up to a certain amount/cap in paying for the private insurance component of your IP.
The AWLs will be applicable over the Medisave amount you use for paying the MediShield Life component in the following ways:
- 40 years old and below – S$300.
- Between 41 years and 70 years old – S$600.
- 71 years old and above – S$900.
Purchasing more than 1 IP:
You can purchase only 1 IP that is paid using your Medisave savings. This is primarily because all IPs offer similar coverage as they are all regulated by the Government and you can claim insurance from only 1 plan when paying your hospital bills/treatment charges. Therefore, purchasing duplicate covers will not make sense anyway.
However, you can use your Medisave savings and pay for your loved ones’ MediShield Life component of their IPs.
What happens when you purchase more than 1 IP?
In an event that you purchase more than 1 IP, your new insurer will contact your old insurer and intimate them regarding your new IP policy. Upon commencement of your new IP policy, your old one will cease to exist. Your old IP plan will be terminated when your new cover commences. This is because you cannot be insured under more than 1 IP using your Medisave savings.
If there is any unused premium in your old IP, the same will be refunded into your Medisave Account.
Note – Purchasing a new IP will not offer you any extra benefits such as cover for your pre-existing medical conditions. Only the MediShield Life component of your IP will provide you with lifelong cover including cover for pre-existing conditions and this component will remain the same no matter how many IPs you purchase.
Upgrading your IP
If you want to upgrade your Integrated Shield Plan for higher cover, you can do so by informing your current insurer who will then underwrite another policyholder for your new policy that will include the additional cover you are offered.
Note – Your insurer can access/approve/reject your application for upgradation based on risk assessment frameworks they see fit.
Is it possible to downgrade an insurance from an IP back to MediShield Life?
If you no longer have the need for an additional cover offered under an IP and want to go back to using only the basic insurance cover provided under MediShield, you can downgrade back to using only MediShield at any point. MediShield will provide you with lifelong cover including cover for pre-existing medical conditions. However, note that when you downgrade to MediShield Life, you will not be assessed further for any pre-existing medical conditions.
Paying Additional Premiums under MediShield Life for pre-existing conditions – Is it necessary even after the purchase of an IP?
Yes. You may be required to make Additional Premiums if you have been assessed to have pre-existing medical conditions even after you have purchased an IP. This is because your IP comprises of 2 components – the MediShield Life component and the private insurance component. The MediShield Life component provides you with lifelong cover including cover for any pre-existing conditions you have and to ensure the continuance of this cover for pre-existing conditions, you will be required to continue paying the Additional Premiums.
Where to purchase an IP from?
You can purchase an IP from a range of plans offered by the following private insurers:
- AIA Singapore
- AXA Life
- NTUC Income
- Great Eastern Life
- Prudential Assurance
You can contact any of these private insurers directly for further information on various plans they offer under IPs.
How to pay for PMIS if you do not have sufficient funds in your Medisave Account (MA)?
If you do not have enough funds in your Medisave Account to pay for your PMIS, your insurer will contact you regarding the same and arrange to collect the balance payment directly from you. You then have the option to pay the balance via Interbank GIRO, cash, Internet Banking, cheque etc. depending on what payment modes your insurer accepts.
Another option for paying the balance is by asking your insurer to deduct the balance payment from the Medisave Account of related members including your spouse, children, parents or grandchildren.
Terminating an IP
You can terminate your IP by approaching your private insurer directly and request for a termination or cancellation. If there is any unused premium from your existing policy year, you will receive a refund for that amount in your Medisave Account.
You can receive a full refund on your IP if you cancel your policy within 2 months of the commencement date of your plan.
After your IP has been terminated or cancelled, you will continue to be covered under the MediShield Life component of your IP as it provides you with lifelong cover.
It is important to assess your financial situation before you purchase an IP as additional coverage comes at an additional cost, one that you may or may not be able to afford. You may have to make MediShield Life cover + Additional Premium payments + Private Insurance cover when you purchase an IP. You need to make sure that these premiums are affordable to you. Also if you reach a phase in life where you can no longer afford making payments on your IP policy (such as loss of job etc.), you can always downgrade from your IP to MediShield Life at any time.