Unforeseen situation and rising from it unexpected medical expenses could represent a significant threat to your finances. Protect your family and yourself against it with a medical protection plan, providing you the peace of mind.

Whether you are buying an insurance plan on your own or through an employer, here are a few things to think about before you look at health insurance plans.

Local vs International Health Insurance

You should decide which plan is right for you, the plan which covers only Singapore or an international plan – a plan that provides benefits globally?

If you planning to settle down in Singapore or are a budget-minded person, a local plan may be right for you as the premiums are normally considerable lower compared to international ones. However, you should remember you will not have the following benefits:

  • No Global Coverage

If you or your loved ones will fall sick, you can only receive the treatment in Singapore.

You can buy a Travel Insurance Plan if you travel abroad for business (short-term) or leisure but the coverage might be not sufficient or restricted if you decide to live abroad for long time compare to the international plans.

Furthermore, if you need to re-locate to another country, your local plan will no longer of use to you and you are likely to cancel it. The big headache is if you have pre-existing conditions, in this case a new plan will exclude it or you will pay a higher premiums. Also, there is a waiting period when you apply for a new insurance plan which is inconvenient.

  • Doctor/Specialist Panel

Some local plans are tricky and have strict conditions with regards which doctor/specialist/hospital to choose in order to successfully file a claim.

Most of the insurance plans require a GP/Family Physician’s letter to specialist so you cannot freely choose your doctor or restrict you to choose any hospital. All these constrains can be a real nightmare, especially when you want to visit a recommended doctor who is not under plan’s network.

  • Emergency Care

If you a frequent traveller and forget to buy a travel insurance plan, in case of emergency, for example when you need to be evacuated, your local plan also will not cover for such situations.

Overall, you need to see your lifestyle, work, future plans and decide which plan will suit you and your family the most-local or international.

Check your insurance plan’s benefits

It is important to understand about inclusions, terms & conditions and restrictions when you choose the health insurance plan. The main areas below and questions will help you to understand the plan better and focus on what is important to you.

  • Doctor/Specialist Panel

Do you need a referral letter from GP/Family Physician to specialist?

What is the panel of doctors and specialists for this plan?

Can you choose any doctor in Singapore?

  • Government/Private Hospital

Do you have any restrictions for hospitals?

In case of hospitalization, which type of ward can you choose?

What is the process to get LOG (Letter-of-Guarantee)?

  • Inpatient/Outpatient services

Does your plan cover only for hospitalization or for outpatient services (example visits to doctors) as well?

What conditions for outpatient services (any deductible amount)?

  • Health-screening

Does your plan offers yearly health screening? If yes, any minimum period for that?

  • Maternity coverage

What is the waiting period before your maternity coverage starts?

What does the maternity coverage include and the maximum claimable cost for it?

Does maternity plan cover for pregnancy complications, congenital illness and hospital care?

  • Pre-existing health conditions

If you have any pre-existing health condition(s), check the plan’s terms & conditions for that. Usually, there is no coverage for the treatment cost for the condition(s) or any related conditions. However, some insurance companies can offer different coverage options for pre-existing condition coverage for example paying a higher premium, moratorium period, etc.

Find out about coverage options and limits

The first thing to consider is how much each plan will pay to cover your expenses. Check whether the plan has lifetime benefit maximum or not.

If the plan does not have the option of the no lifetime benefit maximum, you should choose the highest available maximum and annual maximum you can afford.

Understand about Deductible, Co-payments, and Coinsurance

Depending on your health plan, you may have copay, coinsurance and deductible amounts so it is essential to understand about it before buying any insurance plan.

Health insurance deductible is the amount that you will have to pay annually for your healthcare (such as treatment or surgery, service, or supply—but not some routine care) before the health insurance pays anything.

Coinsurance is a percentage of a medical charge that you pay, with the rest paid by your health insurance plan, after your deductible has been met.

A copayment or copay is the fixed amount you pay for using routine services defined by your plan. For example, some plans charge you a co-pay for visiting your primary care physician, or an emergency room, or purchasing a prescription drug.

Claiming Process & First point of contact

 

It is really important to understand about the insurance claims payment process and who will be your first point of contact if something happen to you or your loved ones.

Most insurance company will have online portal or contact details for you to submit the claim. If you buy the insurance plan through financial advisor (insurance broker), then they can help you to do that which is easy, fast and hassle free.