Health insurance

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Get your head around health insurance

No tricky insurance lingo here. Just simple articles on complex topics.

FEATURED

5 September 2016
Don’t Wait for Eldershield – Here’s Why You Need to Get Your Own Health Insurance As Early As Possible

Now that Medishield Life has been shored up, it’s about time the Eldershield plays catch up. The Eldershield scheme, introduced back in 2002, was one of the big topics of discussion touched on by Prime Minister Lee during the recent National Day Rally speech.

Frequently asked questions

Q: Do I need health insurance?

In a nutshell - yes, you do. A short stay at the hospital can cost thousands of dollars, and may cost more for foreigners. I don’t know about you, but bears don’t even have pockets for wallets, let alone wallets with that much spare cash in them! Money is the last thing you want to worry about when you’re sick, so having affordable medical insurance means that you won’t have to cover the entire bill.

Moreover, if that’s not enough incentive, here is another reason why you need it. If you want to apply for a long-term pass, you will need to have health insurance singapore because it’s required by Immigration and Checkpoints Authority.

Even when your illness or accident isn’t preventable, the stress of paying super high medical bills is. Thus, it just makes sense to save yourself that stress and worry and find yourself the best health insurance quotes by comparing them with GoBear.

Q: What covers are included in health insurance plans?

Well, how long is a piece of string? There are so many different benefits that you can choose for your health insurance. Compare on GoBear to find the healthcare plan that has the benefits you want. These options below are what medical insurance companies will usually give you to choose from: 

Hospitalisation
Hospitalisation is also known as inpatient cover. If bad luck or bad health lands you in hospital, it is important to have a plan that includes hospitalisation, covers you for your medical expenses during your hospital stay, including the room, surgery, medicines and diagnostic tests. Hospitalisation is covered in all medical insurance policies in Singapore. Isn’t that great! 

Outpatient cover
This covers you for medical treatment outside the hospital or for medical visits that do not need you to stay overnight in hospital, for example, when you see a GP, a specialist or a therapist. Some health insurance plans charge a little bit extra to be covered for this. Find out the ones that work best by comparing on GoBear. 

Evacuation and repatriation
When you need medical treatment but your local hospital is not up to the job, the emergency evacuation benefit on your health insurance will pay for you to get to the nearest medical facility where you can get the treatment you need to get better. In addition the repatriation benefit will pay for you to get home after the treatment. It’s pretty sad to think about, but if you pass away overseas, some plans also have the option to cover the costs of bringing your body back home. This is called the repatriation of mortal remains, and we seriously hope you never need to use it. 

Dental insurance
Open your mouth and say “ahhhhhhh”. If you’re covered for dental insurance, then your plan often includes check-ups, simple fillings, and sometimes more complicated dental treatment if you have gum disease or need braces. 

Wellbeing and optical 
Wellbeing refers to routine stuff such as annual check-ups, pap-smears or mammograms. For those of us who need a little help to see clearly, optical benefits can cover eye examinations and corrective glasses and contact lenses. If you just like to wear glasses to look trendy, then you are not covered. Sorry about that. 

Maternity
Congratulations! You’re having a baby! Maternity cover typically covers you for the costs of routine pregnancy and childbirth. Health insurance companies can also cover you for newborn care, complications and pre- and post-natal check-ups with your obstetrician. Health insurance plans sometimes have a waiting period of up to 24 months, so if you’re planning on having a baby in the future, it could save you a heap of money if you are already insured and have passed the waiting period. Lucky for you mama- and daddy-to-be, you can check the waiting periods for health insurance plans on GoBear! 

Vaccinations
This pays for the consultations fees and jabs to keep you protected from nasty diseases. Some providers cover child immunisations under a separate benefit. 

Q: What should I look out for when choosing my health insurance plan?

Before you select a plan, you should consider these six factors:

I. What does my plan cover?
All health plans entitle you to the following:

  • Emergency services
  • Hospitalization
  • Surgery, organ transplant, and diagnostic during your hospital stay

A more comprehensive medical plan will entitle you to more benefits and medical coverage.

II. How much will it cost?
Generally, if you pay a higher premium upfront, you will pay less when you receive medical care, and vice versa. Health insurance is paid for in these ways:

  • Premium that you pay to purchase your plan
  • Out-of-pocket medical expenses that are deductible, co-insurance, co-pay, or a combination

III. Can I get healthcare from any doctor or hospital?
That depends. Most local focused plans, have their own network of medical providers. The bill may not be covered fully or at all, if the doctor is not in your plan’s network.

International policies, however, give you the full freedom to seek medical treatment from your doctors or hospitals that are not in the network.

IV. Are my routine examinations covered?
Most preventative check-ups such as mammograms, pap smear tests, and other routine check-ups are usually not included unless specified by the insurer. These tests are usually featured under the section Wellbeing.

V. How will my pre-existing medical condition affect my health insurance coverage?
If you or someone in your family has a pre-existing medical condition or chronic condition, do declare them before taking up the policy as it will affect your insurance coverage.

The policy may not cover the medical costs related to the condition or even exclude these conditions from your health insurance plans.

There are instances when insurers are willing to cover these pre-existing conditions. You will need to find out if the insurer will provide coverage for the pre-existing condition before the policy commences.

Additional premiums are often offered by the insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions or the benefits will be capped. Common pre-existing conditions include hypertension, high cholesterol, asthma, and diabetes.

VI. Am I covered when I am away from home?
It depends on the plan you have chosen and the geographical area it covers. We recommend finding out if it covers you when you are traveling. Enquire on the type of coverage you will get and if you will be reimbursed.

In most cases, only emergency treatments will be covered when you are traveling outside your policy’s area of cover. A cough or flu are less likely to be covered.

Q: How do I know if I’m qualified for health insurance?

Well, that depends. You qualify for a health plan if you are:

  • A Singaporean living in Singapore or overseas
  • A foreigner holding a valid immigration pass
  • A foreigner who is a dependent (i.e. spouse / parent / grandparent / child of a Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident)

If you don’t fit into one of these categories – do not despair! Check with one of Singapore’s medical insurance companies to see if you might qualify

Q: What if I already have corporate medical health insurance?

Most corporate medical plans cover you for less, meaning you will pay more out-of-pocket if you have a high medical bill from getting sick or injured. You should do your research and find out what you are covered for by your work plan, and then it’s up to you if you want to take out your own healthcare plan too.