What is health insurance rider?
Riders are extra health insurance coverage provided to you in addition to your existing health insurance policy. A health insurance rider is provided for an additional annual premium depending on the rider policy you choose. You will find that most Singaporeans have riders associated with their insurance plans.
For instance, if you already have an existing insurance policy that does not cover you for certain health problems or pre-existing health conditions, you can always opt for a rider.
You will need to check with your insurance company on whether you can include any additional rider benefits to your policy. If your insurance company permits, you can add the preferred rider and get the desired insurance coverage.
MediShield Life covers all Singaporeans and permanent residents (no age limit) for life. Other than a few exclusions, MediShield will take care of your hospital expenses, and provide coverage for prolonged hospital stays and major illnesses. It is aimed to provide subsidised treatments in Class B2/C wards of public hospitals. However, if you prefer Class B1 or higher ward class in private hospitals, you will need to pay more premium amount as this is non-subsidised.
Integrated shield plan
An integrated shield plan or IP is a health insurance policy composed of two main parts i.e. MediShield Life and an additional health insurance component. An integrated shield plan can always be renewed annually and the premiums can be paid through your CPF Medisave funds. However, rider premiums cannot be paid through your Medisave funds.
Private health insurance
The additional health insurance portion of your integrated shield plan constitutes private health insurance. This is aimed at providing coverage to you for higher medical bills when you get admitted to Class B1 or A ward in private hospitals. Please note that you will still be required to pay the co-insurance portions and deductibles of the bill.
Is buying a new health insurance policy better than adding a rider?
Buying a new health insurance policy can sometimes be expensive as this requires underwriting and involves a processing fee. If you are buying a single rider, it is always more affordable than a full-sized insurance plan. It is always better to compare the number of riders you are opting for before buying them from the insurance company.
Rider premiums increases as you age
If you are young and leading a healthy lifestyle, you can always consider your options before buying any insurance rider. If you are of the opinion that you have sufficient insurance coverage from your existing insurance policy, you need not opt for a rider. You will need to understand that rider premium amounts will increase as you age. If you choose more riders, you will end up paying more money.
Rider benefit plans:
Some riders have the following benefits:
- General practitioner home visits
- Home nursing services
- Ambulance or taxi charges
- Physiotherapist treatments
Riders are optional and are available for disability income, child illness, critical illness, accident care, living care, and outpatient care. Upon paying an additional fee for the rider, you can have the rider added to your integrated shield plan for better coverage. You will need to compare all the current riders available and select the right one based on your budget and requirement.
While some riders take care of most of your hospital bills, certain riders also offer cash benefits upon your discharge from the hospital. If you are unsure about choosing the right rider, it is always recommended to consult your insurance adviser to guide you. You can choose from a variety of insurance companies that include Prudential, Aviva, AXA, Great Eastern and more.
Customise your riders as per your needs
Health insurance is always the first priority for Singaporeans. You will get plenty of options to customise your riders. While some Singaporeans prefer to only add limited rider options, others prefer to get full coverage with the rider facility. You will find that patients with riders will have a higher additional bill of 20 to 25 % than others.
Do I really need insurance riders?
All of us may fall sick at some point or the other. Therefore, it is crucial that you and your loved ones are fully insured to tackle the huge medical bills during unexpected hospitalisations. With rising healthcare costs in Singapore, it is possible that you may not be covered under your policy. Under these circumstances, buying rider additions to your insurance policy will be hugely beneficial.
Are riders pocket-friendly?
You will need to bear in mind that each insurance policy is different. You always have the liberty to choose the right insurance policy based on your age, health condition, and budget. Having insurance coverage is always a prerequisite as you age.
Most insurance companies may charge you more premiums as you grow older. Likewise, riders will add up to additional costs separately for better coverage.
Choose the right rider
Budget: Firstly, it is important that you plan and set aside the amount you require to buy an insurance rider. If the premium for the insurance rider is well within your budget, you will need to ask for any co-payment schemes.
You will also need to get a thorough understanding of the deductibles or the initial out-of-the-pocket expenses that should be paid by you before your insurance company pays for the rest of the hospital bill.
Upgrading or downgrading your rider
Multiple riders can add up to large insurance premiums annually that may burden your pocket. In such a scenario, you can always downgrade by opting out of such riders.
While it is always easy to downgrade, it may be difficult to upgrade your insurance rider later. This is because, insurance companies may consider your age, health condition and other factors before considering your decision to upgrade your rider. You may be required to pay higher premiums as you age.
Choosing the right insurance riders can be rather confusing at times. You will get plenty of riders to choose from. Therefore, you will need to carefully consider the following factors before selecting a rider:
- Health condition
- Expenses provided
- Exclusions and limitations of the rider
Before buying a rider, you will either need to compare all the rider plans available and choose the right one considering the above factors. If you find it difficult, it is always better to consult your insurance adviser. If you have a family history of illness, employed at a job that involves high-risks, suffering from pre-existing health problems, it is always better to consider comprehensive coverage.
If you prefer to be treated only at a private hospital that offers better medical care and nursing, you will need to choose a rider that offers good coverage. In such cases, you will be required to pay more, as the cost of healthcare in private hospitals is on the higher side.