Having an insurance plan that covers the cost of mental health treatments can encourage those suffering to seek help. Here’s what insurance companies are doing to reduce stigma and provide coverage.
Mental health issues are a growing problem for Singapore, with suicide continuing to be the leading cause of death for those aged 10 to 29 years old in 2019. Mental health illnesses can include depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, Schizophrenia and more.
The effects of COVID-19 have only exacerbated the problem. During the circuit breaker period in April and May 2020, calls to the suicide prevention agency Samaritans of Singapore (SOS) hotline rose 30-35% from a year ago. Experts are also predicting a long-tail effect of COVID-19 on mental health due to rising stress levels with the uncertainty of the pandemic as well as the adverse economic effects we are seeing today.
However, this problem isn’t going ignored and we continue to chip away at the stigma surrounding mental health conditions.
On a positive note, mental health awareness among young Singaporeans appears to be gaining traction, evident from the increase in patients seeking treatment for mental health conditions at public hospitals each year. Insurers are also starting to recognise mental health as a health issue, including coverage for mental health into insurance policies.
Insurers that offer mental health insurance
Beyond Medisave and integrated shield plans, there are mental health insurance plans available that can help to cover the costs associated with the diagnosis and treatment of mental health illnesses. This could include doctors’ appointments and therapy treatments.
Having a mental health insurance plan that defrays treatment and consultation costs related to mental illnesses can remove the inertia for those who need help. Here are some insurance providers offering mental health coverage.
If you’re looking for a plan that offers coverage for mental health diagnosis, be it for yourself or for a loved one, the AIA Beyond Critical Care is the only one available on the market for individuals to purchase.
Launched in 2019, AIA Beyond Critical Care was Singapore’s first-ever insurance policy that covers mental illnesses. Its name says it all — this is a critical illness plan that goes beyond providing coverage for critical illnesses. It recognises mental health issues as a health condition that requires treatment and support.
Here’s what the AIA Beyond Critical Care offers.
Mental wellness benefit: This is the unique offering of the AIA Beyond Critical Care. It offers coverage for five mental illnesses, namely: Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Tourette Syndrome (up to age 21). Under this benefit, AIA will pay an additional 20% of the coverage amount, up to $50,000 per claim, for ages up to 75 years old.
Critical illness benefit: You can receive up to 200% of the coverage amount for 43 major stage critical illnesses and five rediagnosed or recurred critical illnesses.
The first 100% of the coverage amount will be paid to you in one lump sum upon the first diagnosis. After 12 months have passed, coverage amount will be restored to 100%, allowing you to make a subsequent claim on either a different critical illness from the first diagnosis, or one of the following five critical illnesses:
- Rediagnosed Major Cancer
- Recurred Heart Attack
- Recurred Stroke
- Repeated Heart Valve Surgery
- Repeated Major Organ / Bone Marrow Transplantation
This critical illness plan also comes with a death benefit, where 100% of the coverage amount will be paid out in one lump sum, less any critical illness claims paid. There is also a compassionate benefit of $10,000.
Optional premium waiver riders are also available, such as Critical Protector Waiver of Premium and Early Critical Protector Waiver of Premium, that will take care of your AIA Beyond Critical Care premiums once you’ve been diagnosed with any of the covered critical illnesses.
Lastly, you can also feel assured knowing that at the end of the policy term, you can get a 100% refund of your total annual premiums, less any claims paid.
You can read the full product brochure here.
Transitioning to working from home hasn’t been the easiest for everyone. A survey found that 61% of those working from home reported feeling stressed.
Launched on 14 July 2020, Chubb offers a unique Work from Home insurance plan for employers to purchase for their employees, at an annual premium of $38 per employee. A group insurance plan, this policy covers risks ranging from mental health issues to injuries or strains that come from having a poor workstation setup.
Firstly, Chubb’s Work from Home insurance plan offers $500 per employee for mental health support. This is in the event psychological counselling is needed for someone diagnosed with stress disorders due to working from home.
Mental health isn’t the only problem employees are facing at home. Unlike working in an office with a proper work desk and office chair, some make do with a make-shift workplace set up at home. Chubb’s work from home insurance plan also provides coverage for :
- Ergonomics injury: $2,000 for surgery for injuries resulting from poor workstation setups
- Ergonomics prevention: $250 for on-site consultation and another $250 for new furniture recommended by an Occupational Therapist
- Domestic perils (slips and falls): $20,000 for Accident Death, $10,000 for Total Disability and $100 for Injury, up to 14 days
- Domestic perils (burns): $500 per employee
While this plan isn’t for you to purchase as an individual, what’s stopping you from sharing this insurance policy with your HR?
Mercer Marsh Benefits Singapore (Mercer) and Aviva have teamed up to provide their current corporate insurance plan clients an opportunity to enhance their employee insurance under a Mental Wellness Plan.
With the aim to fill a gap in the market for outpatient psychiatric and psychologist benefits, the new Mental Wellness Plan helps to make access to mental health services easier and more affordable for both employers and employees.
It includes coverage for employee mental health conditions, cost of approved medications and access to a carefully selected panel of qualified mental health professionals. This new Mental Wellness Plan is available to employers that have a medical plan insured with Aviva.
Much like the Chubb Work from Home insurance plan, this Mental Wellness Plan by Mercer and Aviva targets employers that are looking to offer their employees an insurance plan that provides mental health coverage.
AXA has partnered with Naluri, a digital therapeutics company, to offer a digital health coaching programme with a focus on mental well-being for their customers.
With this partnership, AXA customers can now enjoy exclusive access to a mental wellness programme — Naluri Lite. Naluri Lite promotes mental and physical health through personalised and structured behavioural and psychological coaching. This is done with the help of features such as behavioural change tools, information and tips, and the option to sign up for personalised coaching by professionals via chat. These professionals include psychologists, dieticians, fitness coaches and more.
AXA is rolling out this programme in phases this year, with it being made available for insured members of AXA’s corporate clients in H2 2020.
Did you know? MediSave, MediShield Life and Integrated Shield Plans can buffer against mental health costs
Currently, Singaporeans who require psychiatric treatments can receive subsidies of up to 80% of their bills at public healthcare institutions.
You can use MediSave for inpatient psychiatric treatment, subject to a withdrawal limit of $150 per day and a maximum of $5,000 a year. MediSave can also be used for outpatient treatment of schizophrenia, major depression, Bipolar Disorder, Anxiety and Dementia under the Chronic Disease Management Programme (CDMP) up to $500 per year. This is subject to a 15% co-payment per claim by the patient.
As a complement to MediSave, MediShield Life, a basic health insurance plan to help Singaporeans and PRs pay hospital bills, also covers inpatient psychiatric treatment of $100 per day, up to 35 days per policy year. However, MediShield Life does not cover post-hospitalisation treatment and outpatient treatment.
Most integrated shield plans also cover hospitalisation for psychiatric treatment provided by a psychiatrist. It includes post-hospitalisation psychiatric treatment after you are discharged from the hospital. You can check the integrated shield plan brochure provided by your insurer for the more details.
Supporting those struggling with mental health
One in seven people in Singapore (more than 14%) has experienced a mental disorder in their lifetime, with more than three-quarters not seeking any professional help. With or without a mental health insurance plan, your mental health issues should not be left to fester. Here are some resources you can tap on today.
This website mindline.sg, offers resources and tools for mental health, including helplines and counselling by phone, employment support, financial assistance, health and fitness tips and more.
If your mental health has taken a toll due to COVID-19, this website launched by Temasek Foundation called My Mental Health, could be more relevant, providing mental health resources such as online mental health related articles, forums and support groups during this pandemic.
Read these next:
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5 Types Of Insurance You Can Get For Free In Singapore
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Online Banking: Easy Tips To Prevent Cyber Attacks And Safeguard Your Money
7 Work-From-Home Essentials For All Budgets
By Ching Sue Mae
A flat white, an adventure-filled travel and a good workout is her fuel. This Manchester United fan enjoys sharing knowledge on personal finance while chasing the dream of financial independence.