Comparing Health Insurance In Singapore For Beginners
Never get conned by an insurance agent ever again.
You know you are an adult when you finally think to yourself, “I need insurance.” And it’s nothing to be ashamed of if you don’t know where to start. We’ve all been there.
Buying insurance doesn’t have to feel like a harrowing experience and it doesn’t have to feel like someone is trying to shove a product down your throat at the MRT station while you’re rushing to work.
It can be a very straightforward, professional experience. But first you have to learn how to compare health insurance plans so you know what to look for when you’re finally buying a product.
So if you’re looking to compare health insurance in Singapore, you’ve come to the right place.
Compare health insurance in Singapore for beginners:
1. Compare health insurance in Singapore: Know the difference
Health insurance generally falls under five main categories. The first thing you need to decide is what type of insurance you want.
Looking for something basic that covers your hospital and surgical expenses? Go for basic hospitalisation medical insurance. Want a fixed amount every time you’re hospitalised? The hospital cash insurance will cover you.
If you know your family history is prone to critical illnesses, then go for the plan that gives you a lump sum pay out if you are ever diagnosed with a major illness. Or if you want to be extra careful, get the disability income insurance should you ever become disabled from an accident or illness.
Thinking long-term? Get the long-term care insurance to help pay for care you need in your later years when you are unable to support yourself.
2. Investment-linked or not?
While investment-linked plans typically fall under life insurance, there are plans that include medical riders to cover long-term care or critical illnesses. Decide if you want an investment-linked plan so it helps you narrow down choices when it comes to choosing the right insurance provider.
3. The amount of coverage you need (and your budget)
When starting out at your new job, you might think that you only need to lowest coverage amount. But as you progress in your career and life, your needs might change. If you can afford to bump up your insurance plan to the next level of coverage, the higher premium payments makes sense if you consider medical cost inflation.
Cost of medical fees in Singapore will not get any cheaper, so it’s better to have more coverage than to be riddled with debt over a mountainous medical bill. But don’t start off with an extremely expensive plan that you can’t afford to pay for at your current job.
It’s better to upgrade in the future than to start off struggling to pay your premiums.
4. Direct or through an agent?
Those irritating insurance “agents” you encounter at an MRT station are just glorified salesmen, right? We don’t actually need them to push their products in our faces… or do we? Can’t we just go directly to the insurance company and buy our insurance plans?
Yes… and no. You can go directly to an insurance provider’s page and get your policy from them. But you’re limited in your choices. For one, Direct Purchase Insurance (DPI), which is the term for the product you can get directly from providers, only encompasses simple term and whole life insurance products with total and permanent disability (TPD) covers and optional critical illness (CI) riders.
If you’re looking for a customised product, going to an insurance agent still makes sense.
However, if you’re looking for an insurance agent, it is better to find an independent agent – one who doesn’t belong to a particular company and won’t push only one company’s products. An independent agent will be able to give you a more holistic view of the insurance landscape in Singapore and recommend something useful to your exact needs.
5. Riders or not?
As mentioned in point 4, with DPI you can purchase riders. But do you really need them? Consider your needs before adding on riders. The same goes with policies bought through agents. Sometimes, agents will try to push unnecessary riders in your face. It helps to know what you want – create a wishlist of sorts – before meeting your agent, to be confident in your decisions.
6. Direct/cashless insurance vs reimbursement
This is a very important point to take note of. If you are hospitalised, would you prefer your payout to be on a reimbursement basis or on a direct/cashless basis? The reimbursement payout is straightforward – you cover all the expenses incurred at the hospital upfront and you can make your claim with the insurer afterwards.
With a direct or cashless method, the insurer will stand in as a guarantor for your hospital bill and you won’t need to come up with any cash upfront.
Compare health insurance in Singapore: Basic plans
*Premiums are calculated based on the demographics: 27 year-old, female, non-smoker, annual fees. We have taken the three most basic plans in Singapore, on GoBear, and put them side by side for analysis.
|Liberty ProMedico Essential||MSIG Prestige Healthcare Elite||FWD Plan 100k (50% No Claim Bonus)|
|Monthly premium amount||S$34||S$62||S$102|
|Maximum payout per policy year||S$50,000||S$900,000||S$100,000|
|Choice of hospital||Free to choose||Free to choose||–|
|Emergency coverage||20% co-pay for Japan, US and Canada||S$600,000||S$25,000 (illness); S$100,000 (accident)|
|Transferrable if you migrate||No||No||Yes|
|Permanent Total Disability Payout||None||None||S$25,000 if due to accident only.|
How to compare health insurance in Singapore for beginners:
Looking at the three plans above, here’s how you should be comparing the plans. Firstly, take a look at the premium. If you’re paying on a monthly basis, S$34 or S$62 might not be too bad for a starting pay. But if you feel like S$102 is too much of a stretch, you can consider only looking at the plan at a later date.
Realistically, if you don’t travel much, you won’t be at risk of being hospitalised overseas. In that case, you might only need to get a plan that covers you in Singapore for a higher coverage than a lower coverage worldwide. Do you need a S$900,000 payout per year? Considering the cost of medical facilities, having a larger payout sum would make more sense.
Ultimately, each person’s individual needs should be your driving factor for getting the right insurance plan. So beyond looking at the premiums, you should see what coverage is most suited for your future needs.
So, that’s the most basic way to compare health insurance in Singapore. Any suggestions on how else you would compare health insurances? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.
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