How Do You Decide On Your Integrated Shield Plan in Post-Medishield Life Era?

With the lifting of the 12-month moratorium from 1 Nov 2016, you should have noticed that all Integrated Shield Plan (IP) insurers have increased their premiums. Aviva and Prudential were the first. It was soon followed by AIANTUC Income and Great Eastern are the latest to have done so.

Just How Much Is The Premium Adjusted?

The greatest percentage upward adjustment is by Prudential, and the lowest is by Great Eastern.

Before you conclude that Prudential is going to be the most expensive based on the percentage increase, you have to consider the premium in absolute terms. In addition, you have to consider the rider premium as an entirety if you are going to be covered from the 1st dollar of your medical bills. Focusing on the main plan without keeping an eye on the rider is akin to seeing with one eye close.

Nevertheless, it is good to know how much is the adjustment to have a sense of how has each insurer cope with their claims.

Below is the summary of all premium adjustment by all the five insurers less AXA. AXA is the new kid on the block that has joined the highly competitive market on 1 May 2016. Therefore, there is no adjustment announced by AXA.

Aviva Prudential AIA NTUC Income Great Eastern
Premium Adjustment
After 12-month Moratorium
10% – 25% 8.8% – 36.6% 2% – 23% 5% – 15% 2% – 4.2%

Table 1: IP covering private hospitals excluding their corresponding rider that covers the out-of-pocket expenses (deductible and co-insurance)

If you are interested to know the total premium required to cover from the 1st dollar of your medical bill, refer to our in-house IP calculator!

So What Are The Changes For Post-Medishield Life Integrated Shield Plan

With the premium increase, there are also some enhancements in the coverage too.

1. Increase in Pre and Post Hospitalisation Benefit Period

Top in the race :
Non-Panel of Doctors Prudential PruShield A Premier and AXA Shield Plan A 180 days Pre and 365 days Post).
Panel of Doctors  AIA HealthShield Gold Max A 13months for Pre and Post

The length of cover for expenses incurred leading to you admitting to the hospital and after your discharge from your admission are increased except for NTUC Income and Aviva. However, Aviva incentivises their clients to consult Aviva’s panel specialists by providing a longer benefit period for post hospitalisation.

My view: These two benefits, especially the Post Hospitalisation benefit is an important consideration in your decision making as it will reduce your anxiety of medical cost due to long recovery process significantly. An extended medical review such as a major accident or critical illness often takes several months to recover.

Selection: If you do not want to constraint by the insurer’s panel of doctors, you are better off with Prudential (PruShield A Premier) and AXA Shield Plan A as they have the longest Pre and Post Hospitalization benefit; 180 days and 365 days.

If you want to have the option of much more extended pre and post hospitalisation benefit panel of 13 months and yet having an adequate coverage, AIA HealthShield Gold Max A is a good alternative.

Prudential
(PruShield A Premier)
Aviva
(MyShield Plan 1)
Great Eastern
(SupremeHealth P Plus)
NTUC Income
(Enhanced Incomeshield Preferred)
AIA
(HealthShield Gold Max A)
AXA
(Shield Plan A)
Pre-hospitalization Benefit (Days) 180 90 120 90 100 (13 months for Panel Doctors) 180
Post-hospitalization Benefit (Days) 365 90 (180 months for Panel Specialist) 180 90 100 (13 months for Panel Doctors) 365

 

2. Increase in Annual Policy Limit

Top in the race :
Great Eastern (SupremeHealth P Plus) $1.5M

The annual limit for all insurers, except AIA HealthShield Gold Max A crosses the $1 million mark. However, AIA incentivises their clients to consult AIA’s panel specialists by providing a much higher annual limit of $2million. AIA HealthShield Gold Max A is providing the highest annual limit among all the insurers for consultation with their panel specialists.

Prudential
(PruShield A Premier)
Aviva
(MyShield Plan 1)
Great Eastern
(SupremeHealth P Plus)
NTUC Income
(Enhanced Incomeshield Preferred)
AIA
(HealthShield Gold Max A)
AXA
(Shield Plan A)
Annual Limit $1.2M $1M $1.5M $1M $600K($2M for Panel Doctors) $1M

My view: The annual limit for all the IP is likely to be sufficient. Based on MOH statistics, the 95th percentile of the medical bill size is about $100K. What it means is that in a worst case scenario with the lowest annual limit imposed by AIA HealthShield Gold Max A of $600K, you could still stretch to six major hospitalisations stay in a year to hit that limit. If it ever goes to that limit, you may consider getting yourself transferred out to restructured hospital to stay within the annual limit.

Selection: It was once a consideration in your selection of an IP. However, in today context, it is no longer a deciding factor since the IP insurers have levelled the differences.

 

3. Addition Coverage For Planned Overseas Medical Treatment

Planned Overseas Medical Treatment is a new add-on. Prudential PruShield A Premier and Aviva MyShield Plan 1 provides inpatient coverage for medical treatment that is conducted overseas. However, it must be referred by a Medisave-approved medical institution.

Prudential
(PruShield A Premier)
Aviva
(MyShield Plan 1)
Great Eastern
(SupremeHealth P Plus)
NTUC Income
(Enhanced Incomeshield Preferred)
AIA
(HealthShield Gold Max A)
AXA
(Shield Plan A)
Planned Overseas Medical Treatment As-Charged.
Lower of overseas charges or Singapore Private Hospital’s charges
As-Charged.
Pegged to Mount Elizabeth Orchard Hospital
N.A. N.A. N.A. N.A.

My view: This may be a good-to-have feature if you have the view that Singapore Health Care system has the capability and the equipment to treat most of the illnesses. Therefore, the necessity to travel overseas for treatment is deemed to be a very remote chance. Having said that, it is a human instinct to have the best treatment possible so as to have a fighting chance of survival. This benefit will come in very handy in that critical situation.

Selection: This is a new frontier. The insurers are also trying it out. If the insurers experience a surge in claims amount in the future, they may increase the premium for the insured. Prudential has put in place a safeguard against claims by increasing the renewal premium up to three times on those who makes a claim from their shield plans.

 

TRY OUR INTEGRATED SHIELD PLAN CALCULATOR HERE!

 

Last Words

Each Integrated Shield Plan from each insurer has their own positioning in their products offering. Some may are more generous with benefits towards pregnancy and newborns while some provide discounts with certain criteria met. I highly recommend that you do not switch your existing coverage purely on current features provided by any one insurer. The services provided by your existing agent are also equally important in your decision making as they are the crucial factor in allowing you to focus on making your recovery because you know your medical expenses will be well taken care of by them!

 

Let us know your thoughts in the comments section or post your questions there!

The Financial Advocate

I am always fascinated in how parents approach financial issues in their daily lives. There is an overwhelming amount of information available and through this blog, I hope I can shed some light on financial matters concerning parents!

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