Two weeks ago, I upgraded my whole family’s health insurances to Integrated Shield Plan (Private Hospital) to provide maximum coverage for medical expenses. As I also opted for the rider to cover the deductible and co-insurance portions, the amount of cash forked out was about $1,100 per annum after Medisave deduction.
The decision to upgrade our health insurances came about after a health scare that occurred to my colleague and my brother’s daughter who suffered a broken leg a couple of months ago. These incidents certainly really drove home the importance of buying health insurances when in the pink of health. With the kick-in of Medishield Life with effect 1 November 2015, you are still eligible for Medishield Life even if you have pre-existing illnesses or health problems at the point of applying for Medishield Life. However, do note that if your pre-existing conditions are very serious, you may need to pay additional premiums.
Personally, I am glad that the government has finally decided to provide coverage to Singaporeans born with pre-existing illnesses. This is the right thing to do, especially for new-born babies born with defects or chronic health problems. The Medishield Life will also offer protection for life to Singaporeans and Permanent Residents, so we need not worry about not having medical expenses coverage when we are old. The only shortcoming of this policy is that it also extends coverage to those who previously refused to join the Medishield scheme and then suffer from serious illnesses. The rest of Singaporeans have to pay higher premiums because of this group of “Medishield defaulters”.
When we are young and healthy, we tend to take things for granted and assume that we would live forever. But do you know that Singapore hospitals have been facing severe bed crunch for a long time? In fact, last year, Changi General Hospital had to set up a huge air-conditioned tent to house patients waiting for beds. This is not surprising given that during peak periods, many public hospitals had been facing 100% bed occupancy and had no choice but to transfer many patients to private hospitals.
Just imagine if your loved ones ended up in a public hospital and having to endure the wait for a bed and could not bathe for days. Imagine if the hospital wanted to transfer your loved ones to a private hospital with bed capacity but then you realize that the bills would be expensive because their health insurance policies cover Class A/B1 wards in public hospitals only. Wouldn’t you be in deep agony and wished that you had purchased an Integrated Shield Plan that covers the private hospital stay?
When it comes to health insurance, don’t be penny-wise, pound foolish. Yes, you can save a lot of yearly premiums by opting for Class A/B1/C plans. But bear in mind that in today’s context, this approach may cost your life. This is because Singapore’s public health sector perennially faces a shortage of specialists. Most of the top specialists are found in the private sector and hence even if Singapore government address the bed crunch issue, there may not be enough doctors to give quality care to patients in the public hospitals.
I have seen so many of my friends around me trying to save money by opting for the cheapest health insurance plan. Don’t do that. You only have one body, take good care of it. You only live once and can bring no amount of money to your grave. So don’t be silly and think that you can beat fate.
SG Wealth Builder