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Letter of Guarantee: how to avoid paying for your hospitalization

20 Mar 2018

The healthcare system in Singapore is one of the most expensive in the world. In the event of a hospitalization, the bill can easily break the bank. For example, an appendix surgery at the Raffles Hospital could cost 20 000 SGD.  At that moment, your health insurance becomes very important. In addition to covering you, your insurance usually has a system where you don’t pay a cent in case of hospitalization. Essential when the bill is a couple of thousands of dollars! This system is a document called LOG (Letter of Guarantee). However, it is not automatic and is only delivered under certain circumstances.

Let’s check out the conditions to be eligible for this document! 

1) What is a letter of guarantee and when to ask for it?

A LOG is a guarantee of payment between a hospital and an insurance company. It is pre-autorisation of the insurance company and allows you to benefit from “direct billing”. It allows you not having to advance the expenses in case of an admission at the hospital.

In the event of a hospitalization, your insurance company issues an LOG. For you, it comes into action only when you are admitted into a hospital. For example, you are not eligible for an LOG for a MRI. The specialist consultations are not eligible for LOG either.

Most health insurance companies have partnership agreements with certain hospitals. In that case of an admission in a hospital, the insurance company can issue an LOG. For example, AXA Singapore is in partnership with 7 public hospitals and 9 private hospitals.

2) How to obtain a LOG?

In order for your insurance company to issue a LOG, it must have the amount of your treatments and surgery. Your doctor can give you an estimation of the costs when he schedules the surgery. In the case of an emergency, prior to your discharge, you must contact your health insurance company to issue an LOG.

There exists two possibilities to obtain the required document:

When a hospitalization is planned in advance, you must request your LOG before being admitted. The time of the issuance of your LOG will vary according to your health insurance company. For example at AXA, the delays of notification are at least 5 working days in advance. Usually, the hospital’s business office will take contact directly with your insurer when he knows it. 1 or 2 days prior of your admission, you will receive your LOG. 

It can occur that the bill exceeds the estimated amount, especially in case of complications during surgery. You need to update the LOG and therefore, ask your insurance company to issue an updated version.

The issuance of an LOG in the case of an emergency hospitalization cannot be done in advance. Prior to your discharge, you must contact your health insurance company to issue an LOG. 

When being admitted, contact your insurance company as soon as possible and if you have an insurance agent, like UEX, contact them as well as they can help to speed up the procedure.

3) A few tips in case of an emergency

In the event of an emergency admission, there are a few steps to do. It will avoid any bad surprises when receiving the bill!

Depending on you health coverage, you may go to certain hospitals: public and/or private. Make sure you check that your insurance covers you in private hospitals before going to one of them.

No matter the hospital, your insurance covers you under the conditions of your contract. Some hospitals have agreements with certains insurance companies in order to issue LOG. As explained earlier, AXA Singapore is in partnership with 7 public hospitals and 9 private hospitals. This gives you the possibility to issue a LOG in one of them. Don’t forget to check in which hospitals your insurance can arrange an LOG. This will prevent you from advancing the expenses.

In case of a surgery outside of Singapore, with an international plan, you can also ask a LOG.

Here is a list of the hospitals in the world in which AXA can arrange the issuance of an LOG. It’s only applicable for the “International Exclusive” coverages.

Your coverage can reach 100% in certain types of rooms depending on your health insurance contract. Check before going to a specific hospital what types of rooms you have access to. As a reminder, in semi-private rooms, you will have to share your room with someone else.

Think also to check if they are available in that hospital. For example, Mount Elizabeth Hospital at Novena only offers private rooms. Your insurance may not cover these types of rooms and therefore, you will not be fully covered. 

It is important to note that the medical expenses between semi-private and private rooms are not the same. Firstly, you will have to pay for the difference for the rooms. Then, you will have to pay a certain percentage of the total bill. You must, once again, pay close attention to you contract as it is specific to each insurance company and contract.

 

To conclude, we’ve created an infographie, that will help you understand everything: Infographie Letter of guarantee

 

The LOG and its system is essential in certain cases. However, it is issued only under certain circumstances. If you have an insurance agent, like UEX, don’t hesitate to contact them. It could help you in all of your procedures. In the event of a hospitalization abroad, contact your insurance company without delay to have further information for the LOG issuance.

To find out more about healthcare topics in Singapore you can check our articles. To understand how your health insurance plans cover the healthcare costs, you can approach UEX’s happiness team byemail or by phone for more information and guidance – and the good news is that they are super nice!

With UEX, you can obtain a quote for a health insurance contract customized to your needs and requirements – all in less than a minute!


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