Do you understand your health insurance contract?
Firms that hire foreign employees on a local Singapore contract generally cover them with a group insurance contract. In some cases, this health insurance might even completely or partially cover the health-related expenditures of their employees’ spouse and/or children.
Because different scenarios could arise in Singapore, it is important to verify and understand the key points of your health insurance contract, and to find out if a supplementary insurance policy is required.
The 6 key elements of a health insurance contract:
1. Inpatient and Outpatient
Which type of coverage do you have? If you have ‘inpatient’ listed on your contract, it means that you are only covered for hospitalizations, and will not be reimbursed for regular care and specialist consultations. To obtain fuller coverage, the ‘outpatient’ option is mandatory.
2. Repatriation and medical evacuation
In the event of an accident or emergency that takes place while you’re on a trip beyond Singapore’s shores, are you covered for a medical evacuation or repatriation? You’d need to check that this option is available in your contract prior to embarking on your weekend trips or longer holidays, so that when the need arises, you can be easily evacuated and brought back to Singapore for treatment, and to be close to your loved ones.
3. Policy limits
Every insurance policy has limits, so it is essential to know the kind of limit you have in your health insurance contract (like ‘policy limit’, ‘lifetime limit’, ‘annual limit’, or ‘event limit’) and the maximum amount it allows. You’d then know if you have enough coverage based on your needs and requirements. (For more information, refer to the Ministry of Health website for medical costs in Singapore).
According to your policy, some treatments will be declared “As Charged” or “Included”. This means that they are included within your coverage up to your annual limit. It’s the case for most of your hospitalization costs.
On the opposite, some treatments have specific limits. They will be reimbursed by your insurance up to this specific amount. For example, specialist consultations are covered up to $S500 per year with the Base plan 1 and $S1,000 per year with the Base plan 2.
4. The waiting period
Does your health insurance contract have ‘waiting periods’? These are periods of time that you will not be able to receive reimbursements for your health expenditures – maternity being the most common case. Most insurance contracts include a ‘waiting period’ of 10 to 12 months for maternity, which means you are only covered for maternity care after this period. If you get pregnant during the waiting period, you’ll only be reimbursed for the maternity health expenditures incurred after this delay – meaning that you’d have to pay for any prior costs. Do bear in mind that no insurance company will cover your pregnancy and delivery if you are already pregnant when you purchase a policy with them.
- How does it work at UEX?
At UEX, the waiting period depends on the plan you take. For Base Plan 1 & 2, you have a 30 days waiting period for any hospitalization linked to an illness. However, for any accident or outpatient consultation, you are covered from the 1st day of your policy.
For Base Plan 3 & 4, you don’t have any waiting period on hospitalization. However, if your insurance covers your pre-existing conditions, you have to wait 270 days before being reimbursed for any cares or consultations linked to them.
In addition, if you have subscribed to a maternity option, it has a 365 days waiting period before covering any treatments linked to your pregnancy.
5. Co-payments and deductibles
Does your contract include co-payments and/or deductibles? While these are useful in reducing the cost of your health insurance contract, it is also very important to understand how they work:
- A co-payment is the lump sum you would have to pay for each intervention or consultation.
- Deductibles indicate the amount you will have to pay prior to receiving the reimbursements from your insurance company.
To understand more about theses principles, you can have a look at this article where we review everything in detail.
6. Coverage zone: local or international?
Does your health insurance contract cover you with a local or an international plan?
- With an international plan, you should be aware of the geographic zones you are covered in, and where your medical care will be reimbursed (according to the limits of your plan). This can be easily adjusted to your most frequently traveled locations. Consider getting an ad hoc cover if you go beyond this zone – and make sure that this is anticipated as soon as possible in order for it to be adapted to your needs.
- With a local plan, you will only be covered in Singapore for hospitalization and medical consultations (according to the limits of your plan).
International plans have broader coverages than local ones. You can check here the difference between the two coverages.
We also strongly advise you to check that overseas emergencies are covered (repatriation / medical evacuation) and if so, the kind of limitations they have (if any). If you are not properly covered abroad, read our article to know how to cover yourself for your holidays.
You can find these 6 most important points in our infographic:
When should you top-up your current health insurance contract?
After you’ve analyzed your insurance contract based on these 6 key elements, you should be able to get a better idea of your current level of coverage. If you find that your reimbursement ceilings are too low, your waiting periods are too long, or that you require additional coverage needs (like dental, maternity, optical, etc), you should consider top-up your current health insurance.
To find out more about healthcare topics in Singapore you can check our articles. To understand, how your health insurance plans cover 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!