Is Integrated Shield Plan necessary in Singapore?
Previously, I shared my opinion on MediShield Life as our healthcare policy in Singapore. By all means it is a step in the right direction despite its limitations. With this in mind, I share my thoughts on private integrated shield plan and how it attempts to bridge the gap.
According to Ministry of Health Singapore, integrated shield plan is
an additional private insurance coverage component run by the insurance company, typically to cover A/B1-type wards in public hospitals or private hospitals.
What do I like about Integrated Shield Plan?
1. Coverage for Class B1, Class A, and Private Hospitals in Singapore
In 2017, an article from The Straits Times caught my attention,
Patient could not get place in SGH, hit with $78k bill.
In summary, the patient suffered a heart attack at Gleneagles Hospital and was taken to the hospital’s emergency department for treatment. However, his insurance only covers him for subsidised care.
With this in mind, the family wanted to transfer him to Singapore General Hospital (SGH) where the cost will be lower.
Despite the intention, there was no bed available in the intensive care unit at Singapore General Hospital. In the end, the treatment was done at Gleneagles Hospital. (Do read the full story here.)
To that end, I feel that coverage in higher class wards and private hospitals are crucial in times of emergency.
2. “As charged” claim limits in higher tiered plans
In Singapore, hospital bills are not known to be cheap. Consequently, it is very important to know that my healthcare insurance will pay for my hospital bill at a higher claim limit.
Should I be hospitalised, I want to focus on my recovery and not worry about the bill size everyday.
3. Rider options to cover cost of deductible and co-insurance
The main purpose of the rider in an integrated shield plan is to cover the cost of deductible and co-insurance in the medical bill. With attention to my post on MediShield Life, two of my concerns were the requirement to fork out additional cash for my medical bill.
If there is a way to pay a small sum of money to transfer this risk away, then it is a viable solution.
What are my concerns on Integrated Shield Plan?
4. There are too many plans on the market
Sometimes, I get confused over “what I need” vs “what I want”. And the fear of making a wrong decision is not helpful. In like fashion, the chase for the best plan feels like an impossible task.
5. High cost
The cost of healthcare insurance has jumped in recent years. As a result, it is not financially easy to keep the same plan with the ever rising cost.
My Final Thoughts
At the end of the day, integrated shield plans attempt to bridge the gap between MediShield Life and what consumers wants for their healthcare policy. Unquestionably, the cost of insurance will be much higher given the wider scope of coverage. By and large, it will depend on the individual’s perception of
“value of coverage” vs “value of money”.
In my case, I treasure the value of getting myself properly insured. So long as I am healthy, I can work to pay the cost, but the reverse is never true.
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