Best Integrated Shield Plans in Singapore (2021)

Best Integrated Shield Plans in Singapore (2021)

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Every spending situation is unique. SingSaver assembles the ‘Best For‘ list, so you can decide what’s best for you.

An Integrated Shield plan (or IP) is a private health insurance plan that builds upon MediShield Life, the basic health insurance that all Singaporeans and PRs have. Here’s how to choose the best plan for you.

Close to 3 million Singaporeans have an Integrated Shield plan. IPs are popular for the following reasons:

  • MediShield Life covers only enough for B2/C wards at public hospitals. With an IP, you can get covered for a B1 or A ward, or even private hospitals.
  • MediShield Life covers hospitalisation and surgeries, but lacks coverage for pre- and post-hospitalisation costs. IPs help bridge that gap.
  • Furthermore, MediShield Life has a total claim limit of $100,000 a year, which may be low considering the cost of healthcare in Singapore. With an IP, you can extend that to as much as $2 million.
  • Even though IPs are provided by private insurers, you can use Medisave to pay for them (up to annual withdrawal limits).

So although Integrated Shield plans (IP) are not strictly necessary, we recommend them as a financial tool for making healthcare much more affordable. Here’s what you need to know about IPs:

Which Integrated Shield plan should you choose?

In Singapore, there are seven health insurance providers with Integrated Shield plans:

  • AIA
  • Aviva
  • AXA
  • Great Eastern
  • NTUC Income
  • Prudential
  • Raffles Health Insurance

Each one offers several IPs targeted at different hospital tiers, so that’s over 20 plans to choose from. 

To narrow it down, first decide which level of coverage you want. Do you want to pay more for private hospital-level coverage? Or will a cheaper, more basic public hospital B1 or A ward plan be enough?

Now you’ll have up to seven plans to choose from. When comparing these, you’ll want to look at the premiums on top of MediShield Life, annual coverage limits, and length of coverage for pre- and post-hospitalisation costs.

For your convenience, here are the IPs for each tier in an easy-to-compare format.

Integrated Shield plans for public hospitals (B1 ward)

The most affordable B1 ward Integrated Shield plans would be useful for plugging the gaps of MediShield Life. If you are young, healthy and not too concerned about staying in a higher-grade ward, you may be satisfied with this tier of coverage. 

Integrated Shield planAnnual claim limitPre- / post- hospitalisation coverIP premium (age 31 – 35)
AIA HealthShield Gold Max B Lite$300,000100 days / 100 days$102
Aviva MyShield Plan 3$500,000180 days / 365 days$100
Great Eastern Supreme Health B Plus$500,000120 days / 365 days$70
NTUC Income Enhanced IncomeShield Basic$250,000100 days / 100 days$71
Raffles Shield B$300,00090 days / 90 days$83

Note: We omitted AXA and Prudential from this list as their plans have much lower coverage, and do not cover pre- and post-hospitalisation expenses.

Of these plans, Great Eastern Supreme Health B Plus stands out as it has the highest annual claim limit even though its premium is among the lowest. (Aviva has the same claim limit but it costs substantially more.)

The length for pre- and post-hospitalisation coverage is good as well. While other insurers cap the post-hospitalisation claims in 90 or 100 days, Great Eastern covers you for up to the whole year. 

Such costs are claimable ‘as charged’, meaning there are generally no sub-limits on individual procedures or treatments. That’s why we look at the length of cover rather than the dollar amount.

Integrated Shield plans for public hospitals (A ward)

This tier of Integrated Shield plans is a mid-range option which covers enough for an A ward in our public hospitals. As such, these are a popular choice among Singaporeans who are happy to go to a public hospital but would like a more comfortable stay.

Integrated Shield planAnnual claim limitPre- / post- hospitalisation coverIP premium (age 31 – 35)
AIA HealthShield Gold Max B$1 million180 days / 180 days$168
Aviva MyShield Plan 2$1 million180 days / 365 days$168
AXA Shield Plan B$550,000180 days / 365 days$156
Great Eastern Supreme Health A Plus$1 million120 days / 365 days$124
NTUC Income Enhanced IncomeShield Advantage$500,000100 days / 100 days$104
Prudential PRUShield Plus$600,000180 days / 365 days$82
Raffles Shield A$600,000180 days / 365 days$112

At just $82 a year for a 31 year old — even more affordable than some of the B1 ward plans in the previous section — the Prudential PRUShield Plus plan is well worth considering if you’re looking for this level of coverage.

If you are willing to pay a bit more, the NTUC Income Enhanced IncomeShield Advantage also offers a value-for-money Integrated Shield plan at this tier. However, its pre- and post-hospitalisation cover is shorter than that of the PRUShield plan.

Integrated Shield plans for private hospitals

Finally, here are the highest tier Integrated Shield plans with sufficient coverage for private healthcare. This allows you to afford a wider range of medical specialists and enjoy a more comfortable stay.

Many opt for private hospital plans when young, as the premiums are relatively affordable at this age. As you get older and premiums increase, you can easily switch to a lower-tier IP. Conversely, it’s harder to ‘upgrade’ from a lower tier plan to a higher one due to medical underwriting requirements.

Integrated Shield planAnnual claim limitPre- / post- hospitalisation coverIP premium (age 31 – 35)
AIA HealthShield Gold Max A$2 million13 months / 13 months$300
Aviva MyShield Plan 1$2 million180 days / 365 days$409
AXA Shield Plan A$1 million180 days / 365 days$286
Great Eastern Supreme Health P Plus$1.5 million120 days / 365 days$286
NTUC Income Enhanced IncomeShield Preferred$1.5 million180 days / 365 days$375
Prudential PRUShield Premier$1.2 million180 days / 365 days$327
Raffles Shield Private$1.5 million180 days / 365 days$339

There is a huge range in premium prices for this tier, which is why the AXA Shield Plan A is quite remarkable. At just $286 a year, this is one of the most affordable private hospital IPs you can get.

AXA Shield policyholders also get access to AXA’s General Practitioner and Specialist panels for affordable healthcare rates: from $10 per visit to GPs on the panel, and $100 for the first visit to specialists.

If you like the idea of private healthcare but are unsure about shelling out the higher premiums, consider looking at the Raffles Health Insurance options. 

This insurer has a Raffles Shield A with Raffles Hospital plan ($223 annually for age 31 to 35) which is basically somewhere in between an A ward IP and a private hospital IP.

You can also discount the premiums by about 30% for Raffles Shield Private by opting for a higher deductible (i.e. out-of-pocket expense) of $10,000. For more on deductibles, see the next section.

If you have an Integrated Shield plan, do you still need to pay for your medical bills?

Health insurance does NOT cover the entirety of your hospital bill. We still have to pay some out-of-pocket costs at the hospital. These are known as the deductible and co-insurance.

The deductible is the initial amount you pay for your medical expenses before the insurer will top up the rest. It costs $2,000 for a public hospital B2 ward, $2,500 for B1, or $3,500 for A ward or private hospital. The deductible applies the first time you go to hospital in each policy year.

After applying the deductible, there’s still co-insurance, which is typically 10% of the hospital bill. This applies to all your hospital visits.

To avoid paying thousands of dollars out of pocket, many Singaporeans purchase a ‘rider’ (add-on insurance plan) to cover the deductible and co-insurance. This reduces your out-of-pocket expenses to 5%.

Illustration: John went to the hospital twice in a policy year, staying in a public hospital A ward both times. Each time, the bill cost $20,000. Here’s what he would have to pay in cash or Medisave in each scenario.

Integrated Shield ONLYIntegrated Shield + Rider
First bill$3,500 (deductible) + $1,650 (10% co-insurance of $16,500) = $5,1505% co-pay = $1,000
Subsequent bills10% (co-insurance of $20,000) = $2,000 5% co-pay = $1,000

For those aged 31 to 35, adding on a rider would cost anything from about $200 to $700 a year, depending on the level of coverage (hospital tier) you want. Note that the rider premium has to be paid with cash; it is not Medisave-eligible.

How can you pay for your Integrated Shield plan?

You can use your MediSave to pay for your IP premium. If you are using MediSave to pay, you can utilise up to the prevailing Additional Withdrawal Limits

  • $300 per year for those age 40 years and below on their next birthday
  • $600 per year for those age 41 to 70 years on their next birthday
  • $900 per year for those at age 71 years and above on their next birthday

Any excess beyond the withdrawal limit will have to be paid in cash. 

What else should you be aware of?

Health insurance is complicated, and we’ve tried to simplify it above so that the average Singaporean can make a quicker decision. That said, there are a few other secondary factors that you might want to bear in mind.

a) Premium increases

The annual premiums we quoted above are for the age 31 to 35 range. The older you are, the higher they get. At some point, your premium may exceed the annual withdrawal limits for Medisave, and you will need to top up the balance in cash.

AgeMedisave withdrawal limit for private insurance
Up to 40 years old$300 per year
41 to 70 years old$600 per year
71 years old and up$900 per year

So whenever your premium goes up (every few years or every year, depending on your age and policy’s pricing structure), it’s worthwhile to re-look the options. Insurers update their IP pricing regularly anyway.

b) Pre-existing conditions

MediShield Life covers you for pre-existing medical conditions like diabetes or hypertension, but Integrated Shield plans don’t. 

Check with your insurer if there are any options (for example, separate insurance plans) to plug the coverage gap for pre-existing conditions. 

c) Ease of claims

Some insurers require you to go to a hospital or specialist on their medical panel to enjoy the full length of cover. This is an extra step you need to bear in mind, even in the midst of a health emergency.

The speed of processing your claims is also important as healthcare bills can really affect your cashflow. However, this processing time is monitored by the Ministry of Health, so insurers are generally timely. You can see the record of each insurer’s processing time here.

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