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Health insurance

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My mother-in-law recently got admitted into a public hospital for an operation and was warded in a subsidized Class B2 ward. For the past few days, she had been complaining about being unwell and in acute pain. On a few occasions, we informed the nurses about this but they appeared nonchalant and were not helpful at all. It was indeed a frustrating experience but it also vindicated my decision to upgrade my family’s health insurance to private medical shields since last year.

The follow-up appointment was an even worse experience. We waited for 7 hours before the doctor’s consultation. The nurse was also very rough in her handling and caused a lot of discomfort for my mother-in-law.

When Singapore government rolled out the Medishield Life in 2015, many Singaporeans assume that there is no need for private medical shield plans. After all, the coverage of the new Medishield Life seems comprehensive, covers everyone and protects you for lifetime.

health insurance

So why waste money on upgrading your health insurance to private medical shield plans? But then again, not many people realize the gaps that exist in the system.

Firstly, since Medishield Life covers everyone, it is really hard to imagine hospitals giving all the patients the same level of treatment. Naturally, those who paid more premiums and chose the highest class of ward would get the most medical attention.

Hence, logically, patients who opted to stay in Class A ward or private hospitals should receive the best treatment and most medical attention. In order to enjoy this privilege, you have to purchase a private medical shield. Medishied Life is sized for subsidized treatment in public hospitals and the payouts are pegged to Class B2/C wards.

Of course this is not to say that those who opt to stay in Class A/B1 or private hospital wards are not covered by Medishield Life. They still do. Except that they need to pay more of their bill from Medisave and/or cash because MediShield Life payout will make up a small proportion of the bill only.

Previously I have written a few articles on health insurance in this blog. Readers may check out:

  1. Insurance: Blood in urine
  2. Shortchanging your insurance may cost your life in Singapore
  3. Insurance

Perhaps the most overlooked advantage of buying a private medical shield is the option to choose your doctor. This is an important privilege especially when it comes fighting a battle against critical illnesses. With internet, you can easily search for the best specialists to treat your loved ones. You certainly do not want to take chances when dealing with this sort of situation. However, with Medishield Life, you are not allowed to choose your desired doctor.

What irked me the most is that with the implementation of the new health insurance framework, the floodgate is unleashed and resulted in a spike in the number of patients. For the past few years, there were reports of severe hospital bed crunch in many public hospitals. In some hospitals, patients are also forced to wake in transit areas or placed in bed along corridor while waiting for Class B or C ward. When faced with such a situation, you would realize that staying in Class A or private hospital is not about having a good comfort level anymore.

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With private hospitals, the waiting time for appointment is cut short and there is no need to wait for hours before seeing the doctor. Of course there is a price to pay but then again, you pay for what you get. In this world, good things don’t come cheap and cheap things don’t come good. Singaporeans want accessibility to affordable healthcare but the matter of fact is that there are always trade-offs.

Of course, if you do not have the financial means, then you should right-size your medical coverage. There is no point in stretching your finances just to protect yourself against something that may not even happen.

But if you are young and healthy, there are abundance of opportunities to build wealth and make money. In this regard, consider upgrading your health insurance to a private medical shield. You never know when disaster will strike you.

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Updated: June 2, 2017 — 7:16 am


Add a Comment
  1. private health insurance was always a comforting factor in the possible event of illness .however the companyies have introduced restrictions on the risk they will payout .eg the policies specify different types of heart problems and cancers that they will pay but should you a health problem that is not specified you have no cover .some of the companies now insist on seeing your family health history and then they will tailor a policy to limit risks on any family health problems .beware

  2. Hi John,

    Indeed it is important to get insured when you are in the pink of your health. Otherwise no insurance companies would accept your application because you are deemed as high risk to them. As for checking the family health history, I guess this is part of their risk management. After all, cancer is on the rise in Singapore. Probably they want to limit their liabilities as well.

    Nonetheless, very good point you have raised. I would take note of that in my wealth journey!


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