Having the right health insurance should be on top of your list of things to do as it can help you protect your retirement savings during a health emergency. There are several things that you should ask yourself before purchasing a health insurance policy in Singapore. The type of health insurance you need primarily depends on what you want security against. For example, if you want to cut your financial burden when you get diagnosed with a serious illness like heart attack, then you should consider purchasing a critical illness insurance. On the other hand, if you just want your medical expenses covered, then you should opt for a medical expense insurance.
When is the right time to purchase health insurance?
Even if you keep yourself healthy and strong for a long time, health insurance premiums will only increase with age. For example, if you are hitting 50 and are looking for a health insurance policy, you are likely to be charged with monthly premiums that is four to five times more than if you had bought an insurance policy in your thirties. Hence, it is always advisable to purchase a policy as early as possible, perhaps immediately after you start earning.
How much health coverage is enough?
Before purchasing a health insurance policy, it is advisable to consider the healthcare quality and the protection level you would need, if you get disabled or seriously ill and purchase enough cover to fulfil those needs. Another aspect that must be considered is the premium. You must have the ability to pay the premiums if you opt for high quality care and prioritise your needs and structure your policy as per your capacity. Most people choose the best policy which is likely to be the most costly. Under such conditions, MediShield Life may cover part of your bill, but you will have to pay the deductible amount.
People suffering from acute illness
If you are diabetic and feel that in future you may suffer from kidney failure and will have to go through dialysis, it is better to purchase an enhanced policy as the basic policy will not cover the entire cost of your treatment. Since dialysis has to be done at regular intervals for the rest of your life, the cost without the right policy will be steep.
Things to consider when purchasing additional insurance policies
Many people in Singapore purchase multiple health insurance policies to get additional coverage, but you must see if you are previously covered under a different policy. It is always a good practice to get extra coverage, but before purchasing any additional policy consider the following things:
- In case of medical expense insurance you can claim only for the expenses incurred on purchasing drugs. Hence, purchasing extra policies will not give you any additional benefits.
- Most health insurance companies will not provide cover for any disability or illness which you already have when signing up for a policy. Hence, before making a decision on switching from one health insurance policy to another, that offer a lot more, reflect upon your current health condition. So, make sure that the new policy that you are taking up provides coverage for all the changes in your health status that may occur subsequently.
Key features to look for when buying health insurance products
There are some key features that you must look into when buying a health insurance policy:
- Age Limit
- Renewal of the health insurance policy
- Policy exclusions
- Ending a policy
Many health insurance companies do not offer health insurance coverage to people over a particular age. Hence, it is better to purchase health insurance early, when you are in good physical shape and make the most of all the advantages of the policy. There are some health insurance policies that provide coverage throughout your life, but many others provide coverage only up to a fixed age. So, you should select a policy with a coverage period that suits your health needs.
There are many health insurance companies that ensure coverage till the time you keep paying the premiums. On the other hand, there are insurers who have the authority to cancel your policy by issuing a notification before your policy renewal date. So when you purchase a policy that ensures coverage when you continue to pay the premium on time, you can be assured of your policy not getting cancelled.
Most health insurance policies will have several exclusions for expenses that the policy does not cover. So, it is risky to assume anything when purchasing health insurance coverage. For instance, a pregnant woman may get coverage for basic charges during childbirth, however certain insurers may not cover for charges that arise due to complications or a caesarean section. Coverage for such complications will be offered only if you buy an enhanced policy. You should also avoid delaying the purchase of extra coverage as premiums for extra coverage also grow quickly with age.
Different insurance companies charge premiums in different ways. With regular premium, the amount will vary as you grow older. With single premium policy, you will have to pay a single premium throughout the period of cover. However, the insurer has the right to change the premium by notifying you. So, you should find out whether the policy you are considering allows the insurer to do this before purchasing.
Your health insurance policy will end in any one of the following cases:
1. Failing to pay premiums.
2. Insurance company cancels your cover.
3. You reach the maximum age limit mentioned in the policy.
4. You have received the maximum benefit that can be given under the policy.
If the insurance company cancels your policy for failing to pay the premium, you can still ask for cover again, but there will be many conditions attached and the premiums may be higher.
There are several online websites that help you compare features of health insurance companies in Singapore. Apart from regional insurance companies, there are many large international players who are active in Singapore. These insurers provide coverage under diverse scenarios. However, it is always better to speak with multiple insurance brokers to have all your queries answered.