Do you know that pregnancy insurance is termed as maternity insurance by the insurers?
My wife works as a doctor and for awhile she was with KKH. I kind of heard on some pregnancy complications like pre-eclampsia and eclampsia from her.
Naturally when she was pregnant, we took on some coverage ourselves.
You know, not all pregnancies are smooth
Not all babies are born healthy.
The benefits from a pregnancy or maternity insurance plan is something you never hope to claim from.
I get it...
So why spend the money?
I've created this guide to hopefully pour in some of what I have learnt over the years.
If you’re interested in a particular topic, feel free to jump ahead:
- Why buy pregnancy insurance now
- Common questions
- What is covered by a pregnancy insurance
- Conditions covered by integrated shield plans
- When should I buy pregnancy insurance
- Plans in the market
- Which covers for IVF pregnancies
- How to cover for twins
- What if baby is born with congenital conditions
- Recommended pregnancy insurance plans
Why buy pregnancy insurance now
Do you know that some integrated shield plans really cover very little for pregnancy conditions. Even though the latest round of revision for Medisave has added to include various pregnancy complications, so far only AIA has revised to include them.
For example, AIA now covers 19 more conditions from the original 7.
But if you are on a tight budget then never mind.
It is equally important to save up for the delivery cost and buy more insurance coverage for yourself as a new parent.
Question1: Does a pregnancy insurance cover for my delivery cost.
Answer: Pregnancy / Maternity Plans DOES NOT pay the delivery cost.
It pays a benefit (a.k.a compensation) to you if there is a pregnancy complication.
Your IP plan DOES NOT cover your delivery cost also.
Medisave and usually some cash is needed to pay the delivery cost.
So do save up.
Question2: Will my Integrated shield plan (IP) cover for pregnancy complication.
Answer: Yes BUT ONLY if it is a listed pregnancy complication condition.
For example: Pre-eclampsia (A common enough condition that is covered by ALL IP plans)
This is a serious condition that affects about 5 percent of pregnant women. (source)
Most expectant mothers who get pre-eclampsia will develop mild symptoms near their due date.
The IP covered for the inpatient bill if it is a listed pregnancy complication.
With a pregnancy insurance plan, you can file a claim and get a compensation which is the sum assured benefit.
Maybe this compensation can cover some other unforeseen expenses?
Read Conditions covered by integrated shield plans
Question3: The sum assured is so small, what's the point?
I get it.
But don't go buying multiple plans to increase the coverage. Not the smartest approach in my opinion.
See it kind of like personal accident coverage.
To protect small potential bills, not $100,000 catastrophic bill.
They are actually quite common.
In 2010, about 9,000 babies were hospitalised for congenital and neonatal conditions in subsidised wards at public hospitals. Even though they were in B2 or C class wards, some 700 had bills that came to more than $5,000. Click to read source.
More importantly, a pregnancy or maternity insurance can secure insurance coverage for your newborn.
Question4: Can I upgrade my integrated shield plan (IP) to cover pregnancy?
If you are already pregnant and you want to upgrade your integrated shield plan, then take note of this.
There is usually a 10-12 month waiting period before the IP covers you for pregnancy complications.
That means, the upgrade will exclude it.
But if you become hospitalised because of issues like dehydration (true story of a pregnant mum that I know of) or something... then yes you may still benefit from an upgrade in cover.
For our private clients, we always advise them not to do any switch on their shield plan providers during pregnancy to avoid these waiting periods imposed.
What is covered by a pregnancy insurance
There are 4 major benefits covered
1) Child congenital illnesses.
Pre-natal scans are unable to pick up all conditions fully.
Having said that, there is a range of severity for each of these illnesses.
If you check the wordings of the insurance policy, the conditions for claims are for events that are severe.
I have seen these conditions personally before
A: Club Foot
Policy wordings: Congenital abnormality of the lower extremity .. of the forefoot. The benefit will only be paid if the condition is bilateral.
If it happens, the maternity insurance will pay out the sum assured benefit.
B: Cerebral Palsy
Policy wordings: A persisting, non-progressive disorder of movement resulting from damage to the brain ...
The diagnosis must be confirmed by an appropriate medical specialist after birth.
Severe cerebral palsy may be diagnosed soon after birth.
However, the majority is diagnosed in the first two years after birth only.
For those with milder symptoms, a diagnosis may not be rendered until three to five years of age.
Pregnancy insurance covers for child congenital conditions for a few years.
I would also recommend purchasing some Life, TPD and critical illness insurance for your child after birth.
2) Hospital cash benefit
If you (mum) or your child is hospitalised from the conditions listed in the pregnancy insurance, there will be a daily hospital cash benefit.
An example will be prematurely born infants who need to be incubated for a few weeks.
The daily hospital cash provides some compensation to cover your cost.
- Note: Each maternity insurance plan has a different definition of it.
3) Death coverage for mother or child
There is a small amount but it is usually not the focus for consideration.
4) Guaranteed Insurability for Child
As mentioned above, one of the most important reasons for purchasing pregnancy / maternity insurance plans is for the guaranteed insurability to purchase insurance for the child WITHOUT medical underwriting.
If kid is born healthy, can buy from any insurer.
However if the kid is born with certain health conditions, and no maternity plan is bought, they have to be subjected to medical underwriting when purchasing life plans. Which means it might get rejected.
Conditions covered by an integrated shield plan
If you are on the AVIVA, PRU or AXA IP plan, you should really consider taking up maternity coverage.
The coverage list is thin. While AIA has revised to include more, other insurers have yet to include them.
I’ve seen before a case of “abrupt placentae” and her baby was born pre-term with that complication.
We've written a piece on it before.
When should I buy pregnancy insurance
As early as possible!
Just to be safe because complications can arise in the course of pregnancy.
Most plans allows purchases from week 13 onward.
Check the table in "Plans in the market"
But you see, the premiums are the same whether you are at week 13 or week 23.
Makes sense to get insured early.
Plans in the market
Manulife ReadyMummy, NTUC Maternity 360, PruMum, and GE Flexi Maternity plans are standalone plans.
Meaning, they do not require any plans to be concurrently purchased. Good thing is, they come with some form of Guaranteed Insurability for Child.
The only exception to that is PruMum. If it is purchased as a standalone plan, there is no option to purchase any plan after the child is born.
Guaranteed insurability is one of the key fall-backs in purchasing these standalone plans.
For standalone plans, the idea is: if baby is born with no conditions, can purchase from any company with usual underwriting, but if baby is born with conditions, they at least have the option to purchase a life plan.
We see this missing in PruMum's standalone offering, do take note of this.
*Author does not distribute Prudential products, so do seek clarification from a Prudential adviser on PruMum.
AVIVA MyMaternity plan needs to be bundled with any other plan purchase which even includes a shield plan, term plan or PA plan.
AXA Mum Care requires a purchase of an investment-linked plan.
Which covers for IVF pregnancies
These following plans allow for IUI/IVF pregnancies(subjected to mummy's health status), usually will require an additional form to be filled up by your consulting gynaecologist.
- NTUC Maternity 360
- AVIVA Mymaternity
- AIA Baby Protector/ Baby Protector Plus
- AXA MUM Care/ Mum care plus
- Manulife ReadyMummy
There will likely be extra premiums needed.
How to cover for twin pregnancies
All plans can cover for twin pregnancies.
Some blogs mentioned that the NTUC Maternity 360 plan cannot accept application for twin pregnancies.
I've checked with the NTUC business development team personally for a previous case.
The method to do it is to purchase 2 separate NTUC Maternity 360 plans with both covering you (mum).
The option to purchase insurance is tagged on individually to each twin when they are born.
Regardless, any queries you have, do let us know so we can verify with the insurers individually to clear doubts.
What if baby is born with congenital conditions
I have looked through the policy wordings of multiple insurers.
My opinion is pre-existing conditions will be excluded with exception of AIA.
The term guaranteed transfer to child does not mean pre-existing conditions will be accepted. That means if your child has for example hole in the heart, you can transfer/buy critical illness coverage that covers for heart failure.
With a pregnancy insurance plan, at least your child can still get coverage (with an exclusion).
The NTUC Income Maternity 360 has a slightly more stringent criteria though.
It's called a "simplified health declaration".
In a nutshell, for NTUC Income, the option to purchase life insurance for child cannot be taken up if child has "serious health issues".
On AIA's offering, the wording is this:
This means AIA will cover up to $30,000 for pre-existing conditions if it is in one of the covered conditions.
Recommended pregnancy insurance plans
They would be the standalone plans
- Manulife ReadyMummy
- Aviva MyMaternity
Both plans give you an option to purchase life insurance for your child.
While technically a standalone plan, Aviva MyMaternity require another plan (even personal accident plans are counted) to be purchased by either mummy or daddy to be eligible. Premiums wise, Aviva and Manulife life is quite close but Aviva is slightly lower.
So if there is a need to purchase another insurance, do consider Aviva's offering.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent the views of any other organisation.
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Last updated on February 4th, 2020 at 12:36 pm