Some time last month, I wrote an entry about taking care of your health and keeping yourself covered with medical insurance. I cannot stress how important it is to make sure that you and your loved ones (especially if you have ageing parents) are adequately covered.
Up until the day I moved out of the family home, my dad has been the one buying the necessary insurance and managing the family’s coverage. His hope was that one day his children would take over the responsibility of managing their own insurance matters. The day is here, but I guess it is regrettably a bit late. After seeing how hospital bills can add up to the five-figure range with my father-in-law and managing his insurance claims, I resolved to make sure my own parents were well covered. I found out that my mum was only covered under the Basic Medishield plan, while my sister was covered under an integrated shield plan for up to government-restructured hospital A ward. My mum has always been adamant about going to a private hospital and staying in A ward. Therefore, with their current plans, it didn’t seem enough. However (much to my dismay), my mum and sister’s plans cannot be upgraded due to their medical conditions. My mum is diabetic and my sister is undergoing treatment for depression. My insurance agent told me that underwriting for medical insurance is very strict.
So what’s my point of writing this entry? Yes, while most Singaporeans are covered under Basic Medishield (unless they opt out), the coverage is only up to government-restructured hospital B2 or C wards. I’m not saying that everyone should buy an integrated shield plan as supplement, but depending on your income level and lifestyle, it may be a good idea to look into it. Do it while you’re healthy…and especially while your parents are healthy. As age catches up, so do health problems.
The other part of my entry is more to whine a little about how unfair it is that people who are not born healthy, have to be excluded in getting themselves covered. While my mum insists that she is not born a diabetic, we all know that her side of the family has a history with diabetes and for the longest time, I’ve known her to be a diabetic. My grandparents were diabetic and so is my aunt. Even if she wasn’t born with that condition, it is more likely to be passed down genetically. From a business point of view, I can understand why insurance companies do not want to cover unhealthy people. They are a liability (so to speak) anyway as their risk of getting hospitalised or seeking treatment is higher. But from a human point of view, I just can’t get my head round the idea that people not born healthy have to be excluded just like that. Hellooooo, they didn’t ask to my born unhealthy. The hubby tried explaining it from another angle which helped me accept a little (if not fully) this rule. He said that if these people were included and they really had to be make more claims, the premiums for everyone would go up (since it’s based on shared risk) and the healthy ones (like me) would not like that right? Sigh, I guess he has a point.
Anyway, friends or anyone else reading this, if you have no clue about this insurance stuff and want some help, I’ll be happy to share what I know. Yup, this has been my job since I became a homemaker. Reading up on and understanding insurance and investment related matters.
I personally don’t believe in insurance XD
well, maybe “don’t believe” is too strong of words but I dread it when approached. my mom used to do all those insurance stuff for us and there was a point in time where finances were so tight that my mom cancelled everyone’s insurances and only covered my dad coz he was the sole breadwinner. I remember I get calls from the insurance person (no idea who but it’s not the agent because my mom got everything from an uncle) in the mornings about upgrading and I will sleepily tell her that my mom pays for it and should ask her instead XD
since marrying out, guan settles the insurance stuff. he has a few that he got on his own while he was in his late teens and honestly, I feel like he doesn’t really research or find out about the stuff he needs or what is offered. maybe the basic gist or the important parts. coz he and I, we are too alike–he’s pretty lazy and wouldn’t bother doing more findings before diving into another insurance plan. *I* have to be the one to pull the stops and go, “hey, do we really need this? do you really need another plan? can we even afford it?” etc.
I think the most basic insurance someone should have is medical insurance. Especially so for older folks as they are more likely to be hospitalised.
Most of us would have Basic Medishield coverage by CPF (unless you opted out) which covers for up to government-restructured hospital B2 or C wards. If you think that is what you can afford only, then there’s no need to upgrade. Integrated shield plans are offered by private insurers and the coverage is for B1, A and private hospital A wards, but the premiums are age banded (at least for NTUC Income, don’t think other insurers will differ that much). Therefore, the older you get, the premiums get more pricey.
Medishield Life is going to kick in soon. It’s basically Basic Medishield that has gone through some enhancement in coverage but will still be for up to B2 or C wards. Medishield Life will be compulsory for all citizens. In other words, no more opting out and everyone will be covered.
Having an insurance agent to help you manage your insurance needs is good, but it does help to know what each insurance covers and you do your own assessment of whether you need it. Why should you know what each insurance covers? a) You don’t want to be burdened with bills and unnecessarily forking out cash. b) When the time comes to do claiming, you know which bills are claimable. I think most people are clueless about b) and that’s where they end up losing out. For hospitalisation, most hospitals will initiate the claim from your insurer. But for integrated shield plans (again using NTUC Income as an example), pre and post 90 days treatment from the hospital stay is also covered. This has to be initiated by you. Good for you if your insurance agent tries to keep track by asking you for all your documents, but a lot of it is still down to you to keep track.