Singapore was ranked to have one of the top healthcare systems in the world in the World Health Organization's 2010 report. With its high-quality care, comes the need to pay for these services. Health insurance is a type of insurance coverage that helps pay for medical, hospital, and surgical expenses for the insured person. It is protection when you get unexpected medical bills and can save you thousands of dollars. Having the right coverage is essential to ease your financial burden. Here is a breakdown of 7 types of health insurance policies in Singapore.
1. Government Medical Insurance
Singaporeans and permanent residents qualify for subsidized healthcare services at government healthcare facilities. Government medical insurance covers hospitalization and surgery costs at subsidized wards in restructured hospitals. Though payout is limited, this insurance also reimburses for in-patient and some outpatient expenses.
The amount of subsidy can range from 50% to 80%. Your Central Provident Fund (CPF) can also assist with the medical bill costs. Remember, part of your CPF contributions goes towards the national healthcare savings schemes including Medisave, Medishield Life, ElderShield and Medifund.
2. Private Medical Insurance
If you are a foreigner employed in Singapore, you are excluded from CPF contributions and government-subsidized health insurance schemes. Fortunately, you still have the option of private medical insurance that can still give you a measure of protection. Daily healthcare services are typically reasonably affordable in Singapore. However, you may consider private medical insurance in the case of critical illness.
Most private medical insurances still reimburse your hospital and surgery costs at higher class wards. Furthermore, private medical insurances tend to have higher reimbursement limits for in-patient and selective outpatient expenses.
3. Critical Illness Insurance
If you are suddenly diagnosed with stage 2 cancer and cannot work, the critical illness insurance will kick it. Critical illness insurance can be a stand-alone policy, in addition to your life policy, or as an optional rider to your life policy. This insurance pays a lump sum when you are first diagnosed with one of the policy's covered critical illnesses. Alternatively, this insurance can pay a lump sum after you have a type of surgery that is also covered by the plan.
Examples of major illnesses covered by most policies are major cancers and heart attacks. Additionally, an example of a surgery covered by most policies is coronary artery bypass surgery.
Many policies will pay you 100% of the sum assured on your plan. Some policies pay a smaller amount for earlier stages of cancer or make several payments for different diagnoses of different critical illnesses. Be sure to know your policy's terms and conditions. These extra funds are vital to helping pay for medical expenses as well as alleviate some financial burden on your family.
4. Hospital Cash Insurance
Hospital cash insurance is a fixed sum for each day you are hospitalized due to an accident or illness and receiving medical treatment or surgery. The daily cash benefit should ideally be more or less than your actual medical expenses but is pre-set at the start of the policy.
This type of insurance covers a fixed number of days per year or for the entire life of the policy. If you reach the lifetime limit, the policy will automatically end.
One additional benefit of this insurance is that it gives you cash on top of your current benefits under MediShield Life or the Integrated Shield Plan. As a result, it is an excellent option for extra protection in case of an accident or serious illness.
5. Disability Income Insurance
Disability income insurance replaces a part of the insured's income if he or she is suddenly unable to work due to accident or illness. Most policies pay a maximum of 80% of your average monthly salary. As a result, the purpose of this insurance is to help mitigate some financial strain. However, this is not a long term solution because it cannot replace your entire income before disability.
If you are still disabled after the policy's designated deferred period, disability income insurance will begin paying benefits. They usually pay up to 5 or 10 years, until you are 60 or 65, or when you start working again.
The Singaporean national disability income insurance scheme is called Eldershield. This automatically covers you if you are above the age of 40. Singaporeans and permanent residents are automatically enrolled in this scheme but have the choice to opt out.
6. Long Term Care Insurance
Long-term care insurance is designed to help you receive care due to advanced age. It pays a fixed monthly amount for long term nursing treatment if you need help performing daily activities, such as eating and walking.
Starting in 2020, CareShield will become Singapore's long-term insurance scheme.
7. Medical Expense Insurance
One of the most common and basic types of health insurance is the medical expense insurance. It covers medical expenses incurred from sickness or injury. These policies are good options for those who do not receive healthcare support from their place of employment.
It is important to note that this type of insurance does not fully pay for all actual medical expenses incurred. There are usually waiting periods, coverage for only specific procedures, and possible deductible and coinsurance features. Furthermore, certain conditions and pre-existing conditions may be excluded from coverage.
Singaporeans and permanent residents are automatically enrolled in the MediShield Life scheme. You do not have the choice to opt out.
It is possible to purchase supplemental medical expense insurance to provide more medical coverage. However, total reimbursement is limited to your actual expenses.
Some insurances come with waiting periods, benefit limits, and specific terms and conditions for coverage. Be sure to follow the policy rules exactly to benefit from its purpose fully.
It is always recommended to buy insurance when you are healthy. This will help rule out pre-existing conditions exemptions. Be sure to compare benefits across different policies to see which plan best suits your situation. Shopping around will also help identify areas you may consider getting additional coverage.
We hope that you will never need to use these insurance policies. However, if something unfortunate does happen, these health insurance policies will help relieve some financial burden so you can focus on taking care of yourself first.