“It has been said that arguing against globalization is like arguing against the laws of gravity.” – Kofi Annan
Living in Singapore gives you the first hand experiences in globalization. Probably no other place on earth has so engineered itself to prosper from globalization, and succeeded at it.
With over 100,000 expatriates working in Singapore, together with their spouse and children, Singapore has attracted many prestigious International Health insurance providers here.
If you are an expatriate, or a Singaporean who needs international health coverage. What are the important factors choose the right product for your family and yourself?
International Health Insurance, a.k.a. Global health insurance, normally consisting of high cover limits, allows the insured to seek premium medical treatment when needed. The plans normally provide at least US$2 million coverage per year, and of course come with high premiums.
Choosing the right international health policy is very important. Most people have to stay with the same medical plan for many years to ensure continuous cover, changing your international health policy will be subject to new underwriting and pre-existing conditions may not be covered.
In assessing an international health policy you should not only consider the plan coverage but also the insurer’s financial standing, claim handling and customer service. There are a kaleidoscope of features in all these products.
I have summarized the most important four factors which you should take note.
One of the most attractive benefits of International Health Insurance is that most plans cover not only pregnancy complications, but will pay for all Routine maternity checkup and child delivery expenses.
If you are looking for maternity coverage, note the period of time you have to be a policyholder before any maternity coverage is applicable. This will be helpful in calculating the extra time frame you should consider during family planning.
In terms of maternity concerns, you should first decide on the type of facility chosen for delivery, be it private or semi-private rooms, to gauge the approximate amount of bill for the delivery.
The other coverage you should take note is the “Newborn benefit”. This is very important in the unfortunate event that the newborn has any medical condition and can make sure the child has adequate medical coverage even if he or she is “un-insurable”.
Beware of plans with a time limit on newborn coverages, as these insurers are almost definitely not going to extend the said plan if the baby is unhealthy. Look for plans where renewals are guaranteed for lifetime for your child regardless of his or her health conditions.
Continuation of coverage is another important factor one should consider when it comes to health insurance. This is due to the presence of “exclusion of pre-existing condition” commonly found in insurance contracts.
Pre-existing condition refers to any medical conditions present before the purchase of insurance. As we get older, it is common for medical conditions to develop, therefore, it is appropriate to look at pre-existing condition limitations a policy might have.
When you purchase a health insurance policy, always declare any pre-existing conditions you may have. This is extremely important as any claims made on pre-existing conditions undeclared will not be covered in the policy. That said, pre-existing conditions declared, once accepted by the insurer, will be covered in the policy, either in full or by part. Therefore, it is crucial to understand any pre-existing conditions limitations included in your policy.
There are some International Health insurance provides “Moratorium Underwriting“, which makes it possible to cover even “pre-existing conditions” under certain conditions. More details can be found here.
Some insurers also offer to cover certain types of “pre-existing conditions” at “loaded” premium.
If you are not familiar with health insurance, it is very difficult for any layman to grasp the different terms of conditions for each product. I strongly encourage you to consult a qualified financial consultant for this.
If you are older in age, look out for medical plans with coverages on chronic conditions versus acute conditions. Usually, not all medical plans cover chronic conditions in full, while others cover ‘acute phases’ of chronic conditions only. Some plans may also place maximum premium caps for chronic conditions. It is of significance to check the details of the policy to find out what exactly it has to offer.
Worldwide Medical Evacuation Services
If you are looking to visit foreign countries, look for a medical insurance policy which provide coverage for emergencies while you are on your trip. This will guarantee you getting the medical treatment from the nearest available medical facility or, in some cases, transfer back to your home country for treatment. It is also beneficial to look for coverages that include transportation expenses for one person accompanying the insured, so as to allow for more comfort in the unfortunate event that you require emergency attention overseas.
Other things to check out:
There are some other factors you should consider too, such as
- Overall Limited per Year or Lifetime
- Area of Geographical Cover
- Inpatient Coverage
- Outpatient Coverage
- Deductibles (Excess)
- Payment Options
- Claims Handling Process
- Administration Capability / Customer Service
Who are the International Health Providers in Singapore
Below is the list of the providers, you can contact me on their flagship products.
- Aetna Insurance (Singapore) Pte Ltd
- AIG Asia Pacific Insurance Pte Ltd
- AVIVA Ltd
- AXA Insurance Singapore Pte Ltd
- AXA Life Insurance Singapore Private Limited
- CIGNA Europe Insurance Company (Singapore Branch)
- Tenet Sompo Insurance Pte Ltd (NOW Health as MGA)
- Tokio Marine Life Insurance Singapore Ltd (Henner GMC)
- InterGlobal Insurance Company Limited (Singapore Branch)
- Liberty Insurance Pte Ltd
- MSIG Insurance (Singapore) Pte Ltd
- Raffles Health Insurance Pte Ltd
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