“With MediShield Life, I can do away with private insurance plans.”

With enhanced coverage under MediShield Life, many wonder if they still need private insurance plans.

Under MediShield Life, all Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents are now covered for life with better protection against large hospital bills. It’s good to start thinking if you require additional coverage. This will help you better manage your healthcare expenses and ensure that you will be covered for any unexpected medical condition in the future.

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Protection for all, for life

MediShield Life is a basic health insurance plan administered by the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board. Some of the key MediShield Life benefits include:

  • Lifetime protection for all Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents, including the very old and those who have pre-existing conditions
  • Premiums payable via Medisave
  • Higher payouts which translates to you paying lesser out-of-pocket or from your Medisave for large hospital bills
  • Selected coverage for costly outpatient treatments such as dialysis and chemotherapy

 

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Weighing the balance

The decision to get a private insurance plan depends on several factors and is best made with a good understanding of how MediShield Life works.  Many Singaporeans have a private insurance plan in the form of an Integrated Shield Plan. An Integrated Shield Plan comprises 2 components. The first component is a MediShield Life component and the second is an additional private insurance coverage component run by private insurers. For those who wish to buy an Integrated Shield Plan, these are the two main factors to consider:

1. What class level of medical care do you need?

MediShield Life coverage is sized for subsidised treatment in public hospitals and for Class B2 and C wards. If you choose to stay in a Class A or B1 ward, or in a private hospital, MediShield Life will only cover a small proportion of the bill and you will need to pay a larger proportion of your bill with cash or with your  Medisave savings. If you want more coverage for your stay in a Class A or B1 ward or for private medical care, you may consider an Integrated Shield Plan.

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2. Will you be able to afford your Integrated Shield Plan premiums in the long term?

With the additional coverage they provide, the premiums for Integrated Shield Plans are higher than that of MediShield Life. Before you buy an Integrated Shield Plan, consider whether you will be able to afford the higher premiums over time. However, you may want to note that as with all healthcare insurance premiums, Integrated Shield Plan premiums also increase as you get older.

One interesting point to note is that while 6 in 10 Singaporeans have an Integrated Shield Plan, many do not stay in the ward class that their coverage entitles them to. In fact, two-thirds of people choose Class B2 or C wards when they are admitted to hospital. Hence, you should consider carefully whether you require the additional coverage that an Integrated Shield Plan offers.

Before making any decision with regards to healthcare protection, you are strongly encouraged to seek advice from insurance professionals. In addition, you may also wish to compare different Integrated Shield Plans offered by private insurers here.

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