This article was written in collaboration with AXA. All views expressed in the article are the independent opinion of DollarsAndSense.sg
Most of us have lived long enough to know that healthcare costs in Singapore can be really expensive. Any illness or medical condition that leads to hospitalisation and further treatments can easily run into the tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars.
An extended stay in the hospital, along with expensive post-hospitalisation treatments, can cause financial distress for entire families. If you have a big family that includes elderly parents and young children, the probability of someone in the family being hospitalised is fairly high.
Here’s a table based on information extracted from MOH containing the average hospital bill for various hospital procedures.
|Ward A (Public Hospital)||1 Bedder (Private Hospital)|
|Breast Lump Removal/Biopsy||$5,235||$10,042|
|Knee Replacement Surgery||$20,588||$31,718|
|Hand, Wrist or Finger Surgery||$4,149||$18,657|
|Gallbladder Removal Surgery||$5,657||$17,792|
Compiled by AXA Singapore
The table above provides us with a clear picture that healthcare treatments in Singapore can be costly, even if you opt for public hospitals.
The Role Of MediShield Life
In Singapore, all citizens and permanent residents are automatically covered under MediShield Life. MediShield Life is a basic health insurance plan and it covers hospital bills and selected outpatient treatments, such as dialysis and chemotherapy. There are no exclusions and you cannot opt out from MediShield Life.
MediShield Life is designed in a way that allows patients who opt for Class B2/C wards to have a larger part of their bill subsidised. However, patients will still need to pay the deductible and the co-insurance component of their hospital bill.
For example, a 60 year-old person who incurs an $8,000 bill in a C Class ward will be required to pay a total of $2,000 ($1,500 for deductible and $500 co-insurance). You can read up more about how MediShield Life claims work on the MOH website.
Read Also: 3 Myths To Debunk About MediShield Life
Buying An Integrated Shield To Enjoy Higher Level Coverage
If you want your family to enjoy higher-level healthcare coverage beyond the Class B2/C wards covered under MediShield Life, you should purchase additional private insurance coverage in the form of an integrated shield plan. An integrated shield plan covers your hospitalisation bill in higher-class wards and private hospitals.
For example, the AXA Shield (Plan A) provides policyholders with private hospital coverage of up to $1 million a year. Other important benefits it provides include pre-hospitalisation treatment for up to 180 days prior to admission, and post-hospitalisation treatment for up to 365 days.
Similar to MediShield Life, there is a deductible and a co-insurance payment that is required to be paid for in your hospital bill.
In the case of the AXA Shield (Plan A), the deductible is $3,500 and the co-insurance payment is 10% for private hospital and Class A wards. So if your total hospital bill is $30,000, you will be paying $6,150 ($3,500 in deductible and $2,650 in co-insurance) while the insurer, AXA, would pay $23,850.
Buy A Shield Plan Based On The Kind Of Coverage Your Family Wants
Some people buy the health insurance shield plan sold to them by insurance agent who are their friends. While these agents may have good intentions in wanting them to have the best form of coverage, it could lead to them spending more to buy an insurance policy that covers them in excess to what they actually need or want.
For example, if you are buying a shield plan for your elderly parents and you know that a Class A ward in a public hospital is sufficient for them, you should then consider the AXA Shield (Plan B), which provides coverage for policyholder up till Class A ward in public hospital. If a B1 Class ward is sufficient, you can opt for the AXA Shield Standard plan.
The best part about these Shield plans is that you can use your Medisave money to pay for the insurance premium. For example, if you were to purchase an AXA Shield (Plan A) for your child, the annual AXA premium of $142 can be fully paid using your Medisave account. This means you don’t need to fork out any cash.
Consider A Rider To Enhance Your Insurance Coverage
As explained earlier, even if you have a private integrated shield plan, you still need to fork out some cash to pay for the deductibles and co-insurance portion of the bill. If you prefer to have complete coverage, you should consider purchasing the Basic Care rider.
#1 Basic Care Rider
The AXA Basic Care rider covers the portion of the hospital bill that you would need to co-pay due to deductible and co-insurance. Here’s an example of how it works.
|With AXA Shield (Plan A)||With AXA Shield (Plan A) + Basic Care Rider|
|Private Hospital Bill||$30,000||$30,000|
|What You Pay||$6,150||$0|
|What Insurer Pays||$23,850||$30,000|
The Basic Care rider is important as it hedges you against the possibility of an improbable, but not impossible, extremely large hospital bill. For example, if your family were to incur a bill of $100,000 at a private hospital, you would be required to pay $13,150. This is no small sum. Hence, notwithstanding costs, you should consider a Basic Care rider.
#2 General Care Rider
AXA Shield also offers the General Care rider. This provides policyholders with a complementary suite of additional benefits.
- Daily Hospital Cash incentive of up to $250 per day
- Covers ambulance or taxi charges, if used
- Covers Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) treatment post-hospitalisation
- Covers certain planned overseas medical treatments
- Covers outpatient treatments for fractures, dislocations, sports injuries, dengue, food poisoning and Hand Foot & Mouth Disease
- Accommodation charges for immediate family
While these are not direct cost incurred due to hospitalisation, they are also associated cost that you may incur as a result of hospitalisation. For example, if an ambulance was used to fetch the policyholder to the hospital, there will be an added cost involved.
Likewise, if you spend a few days in the hospital and are unable to work, or have to arrange for someone to look after the children at home, you will incur some additional costs. The Hospital Cash Incentive will help cover some of these additional expenses you incur if the Life Assured were to admit to a hospital ward that is lower then what the Life Assured is entitled to as per their AXA Shield Policy.
#3 Home Care Rider
As its name suggests, the Home Care rider provides you and your family with enhanced health coverage that is extended from the hospital to your home. Benefits include
- Covers nursing services provided in your home post-hospitalisation
- Covers medical treatments or physiotherapy provided in your home post-hospitalisation
- Covers General Practitioner (GP) home visits
- Covers cost of stay in hospice care institution
The various riders provide for a more comprehensive coverage, giving you the peace of mind that healthcare cost isn’t going to be an issue should anyone in your family become hospitalised.
Do take note that unlike your shield plan, premiums for riders must be paid in cash.
Enjoy Flexible Options With Greater Coverage
The various shield plans and riders offered by AXA allow you to choose the ideal type of healthcare coverage for yourself and your family.
As with all healthcare insurance, premiums for both the Shield plans and riders tend to become more expensive as policyholders become older. So remember to ensure that you are comfortable with both the current and future premiums before you commit to a plan.
If you have yet to purchase private integrated shield plans for yourself or anyone in your family, you can find out more about how the AXA shield plan could be suitable for your needs. Or share and discuss with us any health related questions that you may have on our Facebook page.
AXA Healthcare Promotion:
From now till 31 December 2017, all new applicants or existing AXA Shield Policyholders who add on a Shield rider(s), or buy one of the following healthcare plans from AXA, will receive additional incentives in the form of vouchers.
Incentive (per policy)
SmartCare Optimum Enhanced
AXA Shield Basic Care Rider
S$10 Mobike credit*
AXA Shield General Care Rider and/or Home Care Rider
*While stocks last