Medishield life vs Integrated shield plans
In this post, we will discuss what is Medishield life and Integrated shield plan all about and what are their key differences.
If you have just started working maybe 1 to 2 years or more into your first job, you may begin to think about getting your first insurance plan to protect your finances and income when you do fall ill.
What is hospitalisation insurance?
Hospital insurance comes in 2 flavours; Medishield Life & Integrated shield plans from private insurers like AXA, Prudential, AIA etc.
You may have already heard about Medishield Life where all Singaporeans and permanent residents are automatically enrolled for by the Singapore government. MediShield Life is a basic health insurance plan, administered by the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board, which helps to pay for large hospital bills and selected costly outpatient treatments, such as dialysis and chemotherapy for cancer. It is structured so that patients pay less MediSave/cash for large hospital bills.
Of course, the key is that it is a basic plan and it comes with specific limits. We have extracted the benefits table below from the MOH website and you can see there are caps for every category expenses that an individual may incur during a hospital stay.
When admitted to hospital, we are able to choose which ward type are we comfortable with.
Standard Ward Class A
Single room with aircon, attached bathroom & toilet, television, choice of meals etc.
Standard Ward Class B1
4-bedded room with aircon, shared bathroom and toilet, choice of meals.
Standard Ward Class B2
5 0r 6-bedded room no aircon & shared bathroom and toilet.
Standard Ward Class C
9-bedded room no aircon & shared bathroom and toilet.
In summary, if you prefer to rest and recover in the comfort of air conditioning from your surgery then Class A and B1 is your only option. If having your own attached bathroom and toilet is your preference then you are left with Class A wards.
Another thing to consider is the subsidy rates that the government provides for us when it is time for us to pay for our hospital bills. Do note the subsidy applies before we make an insurance claim with our Medishield Life plan/Integrated Shield Plans.
Class C - up to 80% subsidy.
Class B2 - up to 65% subsidy.
Class A & B1 - no subsidies.
Generally, if you stick to class B2 wards or lower with no air conditioning and don’t mind sleeping amongst strangers, due to the subsidies Medishield Life is more than good for your basic healthcare needs.
Note: If you do select Ward B1 and above, there is no additional subsidy and you overall medical cost may be significantly higher.
Integrated Shield Plans(ISP)
Integrated shield plans as compared to Medishield Life insurance provides more than just
basic healthcare to an individual.
As mentioned, wards B1 and above cost more and this is where ISP would come in handy to shoulder the bulk of the hospital bills.
Usually, individuals get ISP mainly for private hospital coverage and to widen their options when the need arises. With private coverage, the main perk is the ability to choose your doctors and surgeons.
Also, since the majority of the population only have basic shield plans, the bulk of the population who seek surgeries would be at public hospitals and this leaves the private hospitals with more capacity and hence, shorter wait times.
Here is a list of added benefits integrated shield plans have to offer:
Outpatient consultation fees, tests and investigations leading to hospitalisation.
This is something many don’t realise. You see let’s take cancer for example, even before admitting into the hospital most of the time how these illnesses are detected is thru a visit to our local GP or clinics. Biopsy, CT scan, MRI, echo scan and various examination that the doctor would do to confirm the diagnosis. Cost of biopsy alone cost $2000 and above.
The surgical procedure is “as charged” basis and do not have any claim limits.
Expenditure on equipment, devices and appliances such as wheelchairs.
Overseas medical treatments.
Final provision expense.
If you are still can’t decide on public or private hospital care, then most likely you are like me who wants private but the cost of insurance is an issue but then also want something more than staying in a non-air condition ward, sleeping amongst strangers.
You might want to consider getting an integrated shield plan which provides the best of both worlds. However, your private hospital would be limited to just 2 hospitals and downgrade your plan when we get older to maintain our hospital insurance premiums.