Are you paying too much for your Integrated Shield plan (IP) premiums? Here’s how you can cut down on monthly premiums to get more bang for your buck.
For the uninitiated, MediShield Life is deemed sufficient to cover our hospitalisation needs. But what most people don’t realise is that the coverage might not be enough if you are down with a critical illness or require prolonged hospitalisation.
So maybe you’re already one step ahead and you understand the importance of purchasing an Integrated Shield plan (IP) to amp up coverage. But with the recent adjustments by the Ministry of Health (MOH) to the MediShield Life component from 1 March 2021, you might be taking a step back to seriously consider just how much you’re able or willing to fork out per month.
Fret not — here, we give you the lowdown on how you can cut down your premiums and get the most value out of them, while still receiving the level of coverage you need.
1. Start off with a plan that you need
Adopt the same strategy for choosing an IP as you would for shopping — only buy the things you absolutely need instead of what you think you need, so you don’t blow your budget.
While some may choose to start off with a private hospitalisation plan when they’re young, it’s important not to get carried away with that notion and just stick to an IP that caters to your needs. Do take into consideration the coverage you already have under your corporate or spouse’s insurance, and layer on with a hospitalisation plan to suit your needs.
MediShield Life would generally be enough if you’re comfortable with staying in a Class B2 or C ward when you’re hospitalised. For higher coverage in a Class B1 or A ward, or in private hospitals, you may want to consider getting an IP to ensure that you pay less out-of-pocket for your treatment. In the event of major surgery or chronic illness that entails long-term treatment, you’ll be shocked at just how fast your savings can deplete.
If you’re relying on your group insurance coverage, do consider that your group insurance policy conditions can be changed at any point in time and you may get caught off guard without sufficient coverage. The coverage from employment will end when the person retires or leaves the company. This makes it challenging to purchase a medical plan when you’re a lot older due to the high possibility of pre-existing conditions.
The solution? Opt for a plan that meets your needs to a T. If you think a private hospitalisation plan is not necessary, you can choose to be covered up to private wards in a restructured hospital (Class A/B1) or even opt for subsidized ward coverage (Class B2/C) instead. This helps to prevent you from committing to higher monthly premiums when you could have chosen a lower-grade plan that you’re more comfortable with paying for.
Thankfully, GREAT SupremeHealth offers great flexibility with its wide range of plans so you can choose one based on your budget and needs. Depending on your preference for ward and hospital types, you can choose from B-ward (GREAT SupremeHealth) Standard or GREAT SupremeHealth B Plus) or A-ward (GREAT SupremeHealth A Plus) of a restructured hospital and private hospital (GREAT SupremeHealth P Plus). Want the most basic plan to accommodate your low budget? Go for the Standard plan. If you value greater comfort but find a P Plus plan too expensive, maybe the A-Plus plan will be more suitable.
2. Take advantage of policies that offer No-Claim Discounts
If you still think that private hospital coverage is what you need then consider a private hospital coverage plan that provides you with discounts if you do not make claims. Similar to car insurance, these no-claim discounts are offered to you for your next payable premium as long as you’ve not made any claims. Essentially, they are rewarding you for being healthy!
You’ll be thrilled to know that Great Eastern has just recently launched the Claims-Adjusted Pricing (CAP) framework. Starting from the Standard Premium Level on the first year, you get to enjoy 20% off standard premium rates at your next policy renewal if you do not make any claims during the Assessment Period*. This framework is applicable to those who own a P-plan (private hospitalisation plan) under GREAT TotalCare (Elite-P) or (Classic-P) plans.
Source: Great Eastern
When you start off, you will be at the Standard Premium level, which means that you have to foot the full premium price. During each policy renewal, you will then be assessed based on your personal claims experience within the Assessment Period*.
If no claim is made during the Assessment Period*, you can move down one level at the next policy renewal and receive 20% premium savings for that year.
However, if your claims during the Assessment Period* exceed S$2,000 at a private hospital, you will move up one level to Level 1 requiring you to pay 1.5x your premiums. For claims at private hospitals that are $2,000 and below, you will remain at the current level or move to the Standard Level if you are currently at the Preferred Premium Level.
This is an example of how CAP works out for you:
Source: Great Eastern
In a way, no-claim discounts encourage more people to be more prudent in their claims, which could reduce the overall burden that policyholders have to pay, paving the way for more sustainable premiums in the future for everyone.
3. Opt for a lower grade rider instead of having no rider at all
You may think IPs already provide sufficient coverage and topping up with a supplementary plan may come at an unnecessary cost. But in the event of any serious illness, the amount that you have to foot can make up a huge chunk of expenses out of your own pocket.
If you want to further reduce out-of-pocket expenses, combining an IP with a supplementary plan can bring the coverage up to 95%, where co-payment may be limited to 5% of total hospital bills†.
A lower grade supplementary plan is still better than having none at all, as it can significantly lower your hospital expenses, more than you can imagine.
If you’re getting your hands on Great Eastern’s GREAT SupremeHealth (GSH), boost your coverage with one of the GREAT TotalCare (GTC) supplementary plans with a variety of options available offering up to 95% coverage on your total hospital bills†. Choose from the Classic-B, Classic-A, Classic-P, Elite-B, Elite-A, and Elite-P plans.
Though the premium rates for Classic plans can be cheaper, the Elite plans offer greater coverage in reducing your out-of-pocket expenses, so you can select your preferred plan according to your needs and priorities.
Here’s an example of how much you can save by merely topping up with the GREAT TotalCare supplementary plan:
$10,000 at Private Hospital
|MediShield Life only||GSH P Plus only||GSH P Plus and GTC (Elite-P)|
|Eligible Hospital Bill||S$2,500‡|
pro-ration factor of 25%)
(1st S$5,000 (inclusive of deductible) @ 10%)
|Policyholder’s out-of pocket cost||Deductible + Co-insurance + Excess of the hospital bill after applying the pro-ration factor |
= S$2,000 + S$50 + S$7,500
|Deductible + Co-insurance |
= S$3,500 + S$650
(5% of the Eligible Hospital Bills)
= 5% x S$10,000
(S$10,000 – S$9,550)
(S$10,000 – S$4,150)
(S$10,000 – S$500)
‡Where you have stayed in a private hospital, your MediShield Life claim will be computed based on 25% of the bill. You will need to pay the excess of the hospital bill after applying the pro-ration factor.
Safeguard your health with GREAT SupremeHealth
Despite the countless exercise regimes and healthy recipes that you’re trying to keep up with, health issues and illnesses are sometimes inevitable and can befall you regardless of whether you’re young or old. While it is impossible to guarantee a clean bill of health, the least you can do is to ensure that you are sufficiently covered.
Keep your financial woes at bay with GREAT SupremeHealth in the event that you do need to see a doctor and
The coverage includes inpatient and outpatient benefits, pre- and post-hospitalisation benefits, as well as other expenses like surgery, emergency medical treatment outside of Singapore (except for the Standard plan) and psychiatric treatments.
Boost your coverage with GREAT TotalCare
Take your coverage up a notch by complementing the GREAT SupremeHealth with one of the GREAT TotalCare supplementary plans. This entitles you to up to 95% coverage, where co-payment may be limited to 5% of total hospital bills†.
Likewise, there is a range of plans available under the GREAT TotalCare Classic and Elite supplementary plans.
If you opt for the Elite-P plan, you can look forward to complete flexibility and freedom to choose your preferred doctor, hospital and ward. The plan also entails the lowest out-of-pocket expenses, as low as 5% of total eligible bills. Offering up to 95% coverage for total eligible bills of all hospital types, there is also a S$400,000 annual benefit limit and an unlimited lifetime benefit limit.
By enhancing your plan with GREAT TotalCare (Elite-P) or (Classic-P), you’ll also be able to enjoy CAP, where you’ll get up to 20% off your following year’s standard premium rates, depending on your claims experience during the Assessment Period*. If you opt for GREAT TotalCare (Elite-P), you will be happy to know that Great Eastern has the most number of Private Panel Specialists.
Promotion: Sign up and enjoy 20% off your first-year premiums for GREAT TotalCare (Elite-P) and (Classic-P) plans. T&Cs apply.
This article is written in partnership with Great Eastern.
Terms and conditions apply.
* If it is the first policy year that your policy is subject to CAP, the Assessment Period refers to a 9-month period starting on the Commencement Date of your policy or the first renewal date that your policy is renewed into CAP (where applicable). Otherwise, the Assessment Period refers to a 12-month period starting 3 months immediately preceding the last renewal date, and ending 3
months immediately preceding the relevant renewal date for which the premium level is to be assessed.
† Co-payment varies by GREAT TotalCare plan types and can be either (i) 5% of the total eligible bill; or (ii) 5% of the total eligible bill or the deductible, whichever is higher. The amount of co-payment required by the policyholders will be capped at S$3,000 per policy year, for restructured hospitals claims and/or pre-authorised private hospital claims. The information presented is for general information only and does not have regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs of any particular person. GREAT TotalCare is not a MediSave-approved Integrated Shield plan
GREAT TotalCare is designed to complement the benefits offered under GREAT SupremeHealth.
Age stipulated refers to age next birthday (ANB).
Maximum entry age for GREAT SupremeHealth (B PLUS, A PLUS and P PLUS) and GREAT TotalCare is age 75 years next birthday.
This advertisement has not been reviewed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
The above is for general information only. It is not a contract of insurance. The precise terms and conditions of this insurance plan are specified in the policy contract. Protected up to specified limits by SDIC.
Information correct as of 12 January 2022.
By Deborah Gan
A mahjong addict with an undying love for dogs, Deborah is always on the hunt for cheap deals because she is always broke. That is why she is attempting to be more financially savvy to be.. less broke.