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Seven Types of Health Insurance in Singapore

  Source: Mr. Chew Hock Beng, Certified Financial Planner, Financial Alliance Pte Ltd  

Understand what you buy. Here are the 7 types of Health Insurance available in Singapore.  

Hospitalisation & Surgical Insurance
(Basic Insurance)

Catastrophic Medical Insurance ( Major Medical Insurance)

Supplemental Medical Expense Insurance

Disability Income Insurance ( Income Replacement Insurance)

Long Term Care Insurance

Critical Illness Insurance

Hospital Cash Insurance


Basic Medical Insurance
Commonly known as Hospitalisation & Surgical (H&S) Insurance, reimburses covered H&S costs that result from accidents and sicknesses. Reimbursement applies to qualifying in-patient expenses as well as certain outpatient expenses, subject to the limits stated in the policy. In other words, the policyholder may not be fully reimbursed for the medical expenses incurred.

Two types of limits are used. The first are “separate limits”, or “sub-limits”, for each of the covered expenses. The second are “maximum limits” that are applied on a per disability basis for in-patient benefits and a flat dollar amount for outpatient benefits.

Some insurers may apply the “expense participation method” on the policy, which means you are required to bear a part of the medical costs. The cost sharing tools are known as the “deductible” and “co-insurance”.

Deductible is usually a flat dollar amount of medical expenses, such as $500 or $2,500, that the patient must fork out of his pocket. I call it the “first-dollar ownership”. It is usually applied on a per year basis.

The “second-dollar” payment is the co-insurance whereby the patient pays a specified percentage, e.g. 15 per cent of the total qualifying medical costs which are in excess of the deductible. 
Major Medical Insurance
Known as Catastrophic Medical Insurance, it is designed to cover major illnesses where the associated medical cost can be substantial. Besides covering in-patient and outpatient benefits, it also covers certain expensive and prolonged treatments like kidney dialysis and cancer treatment. Together with the basic H&S insurance, some insurers refer to it as comprehensive major medical expense insurance. Such plans usually carry the deductible and co-insurance elements, as described above. The national scheme called “MediShield” is one good example.

Supplemental Medical Expense Insurance
It is a separate range of optional cover to the main Medical Expense Insurance (described above) which some insurance companies offer. Such insurance is meant to enhance the cover under the main medical plan and includes:

• Emergency assistance services
• Dental cover
• Maternity benefit
• Organ transplant
• Specific disease insurance
• Surgical implant and prosthesis
• Miscarriage benefit
• Private nursing home care
• Death Benefit, etc

Key Features of Medical Expenses Insurance include:

• Stand-alone or rider
• Choice of plans
• Family coverage, usually with discounts
• Reimbursement of expenses
• Deductible & co-insurance
• Plan limits – Lifetime limit, Annual limit & Event limit
• Coverage charges, e.g. room charges, surgery, doctor’s consultation, etc
• Geographical limit – Usually terminates automatically if you are out of Singapore for more than 180 days
• Waiting period
• Age limit
• Premiums based on age-band
• Guaranteed renewability
• Exclusions & limitations
• Co-ordination of benefits clause. To ensure that the insured will not get more than what he has actually incurred

Disability Income Insurance
Disability Income Insurance helps to replace a portion of the insured’s income should the insured become totally or partially disabled and unable to work as a result of an accident or sickness. It is an income protection plan. Disability Income Insurance (DII) is not the same as Total Permanent Disability (TPD). Briefly, Disability Income Insurance provides income replacement if you are unable to work whereas Total Permanent Disability serves to accelerate the death benefit payable under a life policy. 
Long Term Care Insurance
Long Term Care insurance pays a fixed monthly amount for long term nursing treatment upon the insured’s inability to perform a number of “activities of daily living” (ADLs). Activities of daily living include bathing, dressing, feeding, going to the toilet and moving around. The national scheme “ElderShield” is a long term care insurance scheme. 

Critical Illness Insurance
Critical Illness Insurance, commonly known as Dread Disease Plan, provides a lump sum benefit to the insured in the event that he is diagnosed with one of the covered critical illnesses. (Please refer to http// for the CI definition.)

Hospital Cash Insurance
Hospital Cash Insurance is a daily cash benefit paid directly to the insured if he is hospitalised as a result of accident or illness. The daily benefit is a fixed dollar amount selected by the insured at the inception of the policy, and is usually limited to a specified number of days per hospitalisation.

Seek professional advice
As there are different types of medical plans available, it can be hard to tell what is suitable in your situation. So it is always advisable to seek professional help, someone who can analyse your medical needs and has your best interest at heart.

An independent financial planner does not offer his clients only “house-brand” products. Instead, he lets you compare various benefits from different insurers.You may then select the one that is best suited to your needs and within your budget. This way, you can conveniently secure the most appropriate medical coverage for yourself and allow your love ones to enjoy peace of mind.

Ref: V10

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All information provided within this web and mobile application is intended for general information and is provided on the understanding that no surgical and medical advice or recommendation is being rendered. Please do not disregard the professional advice of your physician. 

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Hi Mr Chew, most hospitalisation plans offer 90 days pre & post-hospitalisation coverage for medication etc only. What if the patient has a chronic ailment that requires lifetime medication and followups? What type of plan can cover chronic illnesses? 
09/12/2011 04:31:12
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