Insurance – Health – Singapore 2017

Like Mr Lim Kim Tong (MediShield Life – Premium for Aviva Integrated Plan jumped again. 3 Oct 2015), my Integrated Shield Plan (IPs) premiums (insurance costs) increased.  Arguably, this was due the transformation from Medishield into Medishield Life; and also heightened claims from public A/B1 wards hospitals (12%) and private hospitals (17%) in recent years (No increase in premiums for first year of MediShield Life: IP insurers. 26 Jun 2015. Channel NewsAsia). This has induced me to scrutinise the changes, and hopefully make wiser longer term financial decisions thereafter.

Selected notes

MOH = Ministry of Health, Singapore

‘…the Government will pay 90% of the net increase in MediShield Life premiums (i.e., after other subsidies) above MediShield premiums.’ (MediShield Life: Providing better protection, for all, for life. 20 Dec 2015. Government of Singapore). By my understanding of the various materials, the Transitional Subsidy would end in 2019.

 

“12b. In the fifth year of MediShield Life, after transitional subsidies have been phased out, the maximum premium increase compared with MediShield premiums today will be $30 per month for the high income.  Singaporeans from lower-income households will continue to benefit from premium subsidies and premium increases from MediShield premiums today will be no more than $11 per month.” (Government accepts recommendations of MediShield Life Review Committee; announces $4 billion in subsidies and support for MediShield Life premiums. 24 Jun 2014. MOH).

To elucidate, those who can access the Premium Subsidies:

• Do not have a second property

• Have Household monthly income per person of $2,600 and below

• Occupy a HDB flat or private housing with annual value of $21,000 and lower

Choices

You are strongly advised to seek the professional advice of insurance professionals before making any decision with regard to any of the Medisave-Approved Integrated Shield Plans.” (MOH)

Longer term, one may downgrade one’s IPs to the Standard B1 type [or revert to (basic government) Medishield Life]. Looking at the years between 66 and 70 for instance, annual premiums can reach $2,553. This is triple the (basic government) MediShield Life premiums.

MOH provides a  <Comparison of Integrated Shield Plans>. At the time of access, the Sample Policy Contracts of Integrated Shield Plans from the site were dated 30 May 2016.

I wonder whether downgrading involves repeated underwriting required in an upgrade. [“The insurers are allowed to assess, approve with or without exclusions, or reject applications for upgrading based on their own risk assessment frameworks, as these are essentially business risk decisions.” See Central Provident Fund Board (CPFB). (12 Dec 2016). Private Medical Insurance Scheme. https://www.cpf.gov.sg/Members/Schemes/schemes/healthcare/private-medical-insurance-scheme.]

Oh… it seems I have one answer from Aviva <5 things you need to know about the new Standard IP> dated 17 Mar 2016. For non-Aviva IPs policyholders, no further underwriting is needed. However, Aviva policyholders who had selected moratorium underwriting do. (With moratorium underwriting, no underwriting was required at the beginning of the original policy. “Any new, unexpected medical conditions arising after commencement of Life Assured’s coverage will be covered, subject to the terms and conditions of the policy.”)

Additionally, among other exclusions/differences, it is stated that “the Standard IP does not cover pre- and post-hospitalisation treatment, overseas emergency treatment, or provide additional inpatient benefits for major illnesses.’

Do note that Standard IP premiums are also subject to changes.

Other references
– Rather useful and comprehensive PDF document from MOH entitled <Welcome to Medishield Life> (Annex A) under the MOH page MediShield Life Coverage for All Singapore Residents to start on 1 November 2015. (2 Aug 2015).

(13 Oct 2015). MediShield Life: How to make the right choice (Part 1). http://www.aviva.com.sg/money-banter/making-the-right-choices-with-medishield-life/. Aviva. See also (Part 2). The two combined is a reproduction of a Sunday Times article dated 30 Aug 2015.

About 60% of Singapore Citizens and PRs have IPs.

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