MediShield Life provides coverage against hospital bills and approved outpatient treatments for citizens and permanent residents of Singapore. It is the government’s way of ensuring that you never have to face medical expenses completely on your own.
The only question is, with the rising cost of healthcare in Singapore, is the coverage provided by MediShield Life sufficient, or should you sign up for an Integrated Shield Plan (IP)? To answer this question, we must first understand the coverage provided by MediShield Life.
What’s covered under MediShield Life?
Medishield Life is a basic health insurance policy. It covers treatment at all public hospitals in all B2 and C wards. It provides lifelong coverage regardless of your age and it will even cover any pre-existing illnesses that you have, right off the bat.
The plan offers a maximum claim amount of S$ 100,000 per year, but different sub-categories of treatments will have separate caps as well – for instance, daily ward & treatment charges at a normal ward are capped at S$ 700 per day, kidney dialysis is capped at S$ 1,000 per month, so on and so forth.
What is not covered under MediShield Life?
As mentioned above, MediShield Life only covers treatments in public hospitals, more specifically in ‘B2’ or ‘C’ Class wards. These wards generally mean sharing a space with up to 10 other patients and do not offer you a choice of doctors.
If you want to avail treatment in higher class wards, your MediShield life will only cover a part of your hospital bill – for instance, the plan will only cover 35% of your hospital bills if you opt for treatments in Class ‘A’ wards or private hospitals.
Let’s take two examples to understand this better:
Sally is a citizen of Singapore. She stays at a Class ‘C’ ward in a public hospital for a routine stomach operation. Her hospital bill comes to S$ 10,000. In this case, her MediShield Life plan will cover all her expenses, except for her co-pay insurance and the deductible.
On the other hand, Simon is also a citizen of Singapore. However, he has a more serious condition. He gets treatment at a Class ‘A’ ward in a private hospital. His bills amount to S$ 20,000. In this case, his MediShield Life will only cover 35% of the costs and he will also have to cover the co-pay & deductible amounts.
So as you can see, MediShield Life does not cover all your expenses, especially in case of large hospital bills. Even in the case of smaller bills, you still need to cover the co-pay & deductible amount.
Moreover, treatments for serious illnesses can cost upwards of S$ 30,000 – this will be financially stressful to cover with MediShield alone. This is why a majority of Singaporeans opt for an Integrated Shield Plan to complement the coverage of their MediShield Life.
Still confused about whether or not you should opt for an IP? You should be able to get a better idea by answering these simple questions:
How much do you want to pay in case of hospitalization?
With MediShield Life, you still end up paying a significant amount out of your own pocket. However, with an Integrated Shield Plan and the right riders, you could cover up to 95% of your medical expenses.
Moreover, MediShield Life will not cover pre- and post-hospitalization expenses. Therefore, if you wish to cover medical bills, doctor’s consultations, diagnostics reports & medication before and after hospitalization, it is best you get an Integrated Shield Plan.
How much coverage are you comfortable with?
The cost of medical treatment can easily overshoot the S$ 100,000 coverage provided by MediShield Life, in which case you will have to fork out the surplus expenses on your own. However, you can easily avoid this with an IP – the better plans will offer annual coverage amounts of S$ 1.2 million or more. This will give you peace of mind from the ‘what ifs’ of life.
Are ‘B2’ & ‘C’ Class wards alright with you?
Most of these wards in public hospitals are shared, naturally ventilated, have no television, and do not provide a choice of doctor – you just have to go with the one that’s appointed to you. Moreover, getting a bed in these wards is always subject to availability.
However, if you upgrade the protection of your MediShield Life with an IP, you get to choose your doctors – say a specialist or a doctor you know. You also get access to better rooms and quicker treatment.
So while MediShield Life, as a health insurance policy, must be commended for its inclusiveness – it extends coverage to all ages and even covers pre-existing illnesses – it might still come up short in several instances, especially in the case of major illnesses or procedures. Therefore, it is advisable to opt for an additional layer of protection in the form of an Integrated Shield Plan.
Hope this has been helpful, good luck and all the best!