Wide Variation in Integrated Shield Plan Lifetime Premiums Revealed by MOH Comparison

Wide Variation in Integrated Shield Plan Lifetime Premiums Revealed by MOH ComparisonSingapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH) has released data showing significant variations in lifetime premiums for Integrated Shield Plans (IPs) offered by different insurers, where two individuals of the same age could end up paying more than SGD $85,000 difference in premiums over their lifetimes.
Moreover, the premiums can vary considerably even for plans within the same ward class. In this Pacific Prime CXA article, we’ll look at the MOH’s major findings. We’ll also discuss how you should choose and what you can do to minimize your premiums.

Major Findings of the Ministry of Health
A recent comparison by the MOH revealed significant disparities in the lifetime premiums of Integrated Shield Plans offered by different insurers. Integrated Shield Plans are optional health coverage plans provided by private insurance companies, primarily designed to cover stays in A or B1-type wards in public or private hospitals.
The MOH data, published for the first time, demonstrated that the premiums for IPs can vary considerably, even among plans classified under the same ward class. Both coverage and price are determined by the respective insurers.
A comprehensive breakdown of the premiums individuals would have to pay for Integrated Shield Plans from birth until the age of 100 is provided, based on rates effective from April 1, 2024. For private hospital IPs, the most expensive plan can cost up to SGD $323,900, with a significant portion requiring cash payment.
By contrast, the three most affordable plans range between SGD $234,400 and SGD $238,400. The following is a summary of the plans and the lifetime premiums:

Integrated Shield Plan
Lifetime Cash Premiums (SGD $)
Lifetime MediSave Outlays for Premiums (SGD $)
Total Lifetime Premiums (SGD $)

AIA HealthShield Gold Max A
267,980
55,865
323,845

Enhanced IncomeShield Preferred
184,677
53,677
238,354

GREAT SupremeHealth P PLUS
212,975
54,117
267,092

HSBC Life Shield Plan A
183,158
53,654
236,812

PRUShield Premier
234,938
54,558
289,496

Raffles Shield Private
180,381
53,924
234,305

Singlife Shield Plan 1
210,749
54,275
265,024

With public hospital IPs, the difference between the most expensive and the most affordable plans exceeds SGD $50,000 for Class A coverage, and is around SGD $35,000 for Class B1 coverage, both of which correspond to private wards.
The MOH’s data also revealed variations in coverage for specific medical services. For instance, coverage for kidney dialysis in Class B1 plans can range from SGD $24,000 per year to “as charged”.
Similarly, coverage for community hospital care varies across plans, with some capped at 45 days per admission, others at 90 days, and different daily coverage amounts. Moreover, coverage for critical illness, psychiatric treatment, and other services may differ among insurers.
How to Choose the Right Integrated Shield Plan
While you may be tempted to switch to an IP with lower premiums right away, you should also consider the coverage provided by different insurers. Insurers may offer varying benefits for the same medical conditions, such as kidney dialysis or psychiatric treatment.
Other factors to consider when choosing an IP include:

Plan affordability (a higher-end plan would also mean reduced disposable income)
Budget allocation (the proportion of premium that can be paid using MediSave, and the amount that needs to be paid in cash)
Additional coverage beyond MediShield Life
Your likelihood of requiring coverage
Your family health history
Your desired comfort levels and preferences regarding hospital wards
Financial risks

Furthermore, individuals with pre-existing medical conditions may face limitations when switching insurers, as most providers do not offer full coverage to new policyholders with such conditions. The main goal of MOH in publishing IP premiums is to assist individuals, particularly younger ones, in making informed choices.
It is also important to remember that future premium increases may vary from insurer to insurer and from year to year, and you should take medical inflation and rising insurance premiums into consideration when selecting an IP.
It is also advisable to estimate the probability of needing specific coverage, such as cancer drugs not on the Cancer Drug List, as IP coverage is limited to drugs on the MOH’s list. In this regard, it is helpful to remember that insurers may offer riders to cover additional cancer therapies.
What You Can Do to Minimize Your Premiums
Apart from carefully comparing and picking the plan most suitable for you, there are a couple of things you can do to minimize your health insurance premiums without compromising on the quality or adequacy of coverage. To that end, you should:

Carefully consider the class of IP to purchase: You should choose a class that aligns with your needs. It is worth noting that a significant number of individuals opt for the highest coverage, but choose lower-class wards when they actually seek medical care.

Opt for riders to complement your IP: Riders can cover up to 90% of the medical costs, help limit out-of-pocket expenses to 5% of the bill, with a maximum cap of SGD $3,000 per year.

Sensible use of riders can lead to better protection for you at a lower cost than a higher-class IP. Remember that premiums for riders typically need to be paid in cash though.
Secure Health Insurance via Pacific Prime CXA
While it’s possible to do your own research and make an informed choice for your health coverage, as a practical matter of fact very few individuals can do so, given the sheer number of plans available from different providers and the busy schedules most people have.
That’s why it is advisable to engage a highly reputed brokerage. With our long history in insurance, Pacific Prime CXA can help you find the plan that meets your needs, fits your budget, and offers the best value for money.
And the cherry on the cake? When you secure insurance through us, you get our unbiased advice and all-around support without paying more than going directly to an insurer! The value of this support is obvious especially should you need to make a claim down the road.
So, contact us for a FREE, no-obligation plan comparison today!

The post Wide Variation in Integrated Shield Plan Lifetime Premiums Revealed by MOH Comparison appeared first on Pacific Prime Singapore’s Blog.

Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH) has released data showing significant variations in lifetime premiums for Integrated Shield Plans (IPs) offered by different insurers, where two individuals of the same age could end up paying more than SGD $85,000 difference in premiums over their lifetimes. Moreover, the premiums can vary considerably even for plans within the …

The post Wide Variation in Integrated Shield Plan Lifetime Premiums Revealed by MOH Comparison appeared first on Pacific Prime Singapore’s Blog.

Martin Lee

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