The ultimate price comparison of Integrated Shield Plans (IP / Riders)

Jes , 6 Comments

Health is wealth.

Without health, you cannot enjoy anything, even with all the money in the world. However, we occasionally take health for granted. As I aged, I start to see more illnesses happening around me which are constant reminders that I should put in more efforts to maintain good health. However, I can only do so much to prevent illnesses from happening. So, it's due time I do a post on hospitalisation plans aka Integrated Shield Plans or Riders.

I kept delaying this even though I get many queries on this. Reason being, it is complicated and a huge headache to sort through the numbers. My parents kept telling me they hate reading the fine print and different conditions so I know I have just got to do this for myself and for them. If even 1 other person can benefit from this, then my efforts would not have been in vain.

My homework for the day!
MediShield Life
Before talking about the Riders plan, I will have to mention the coverage for MediShield Life which is up to Ward B2 and C. MediShield Life is for all Singaporeans and PRs and covers us for life, even for pre-existing conditions. It can be paid through Medisave and of course, it's compulsory.
Withdrawal limits means that you cannot withdraw more than the stated amount from Medisave
Not to worry, there are subsidies even to pay for Medishield Life, more so for Pioneer Generation. To find out how much is your subsidies, check out this calculator from MOH.

Key explanations
With the price increase of some hospitalisation plans, it's time to review my own policies, including for my family. Some explanations on my comparison:
1) Only 4 companies were compared - NTUC Incomeshield Plus Rider, Prudential Prushield Extra, AIA Max Essential, Great Eastern Supreme Health.
2) These plans cover 100% of the cash portion, which is the co-insurance and deductible part of your medical bills.
3) I am just comparing the prices and not the other details like the the cash benefits. It is because I would rather pay cheaper for the insurance than get back cash benefits should disasters strike.
4) Prudential does not have the riders plan for Ward B1 and below.
5) Under the 'Pay By Medisave' portion, there is also a withdrawal limit so the full amount might not fully be paid by Medisave.
Highlighted boxes are the cheapest in annual premiums. NTUC reigns here.
NTUC and Great Eastern are both more affordable than the others.

NTUC still reigns in the Ward B1 category.
 Conclusion
All these companies have increased their prices this year and I have confirmed with them these prices are updated as of May 2017. In general, NTUC has the lowest premiums for all the Integrated Shield Plans. Surprisingly, Great Eastern still managed to be lower than NTUC in the age 41 to 55 band for public hospitals, Ward A and below. They are pretty close in prices to NTUC and comes in a close second place.

Additional Points
1) The annual pay out limit for Prudential is higher than the others at 1.2 million, the rest are at 1 million for the riders plan in private hospitals.
2) Great Eastern has a Total Platinum Health Select + Health Connect and is the cheapest among the 100% coverage for private hospitals. The caveat is that it requires 3 days pre-authorisation. I heard AIA does have similar plan but I am unable to find the relevant information.
3) You can top up to NTUC Daily Cash Rider if you require cash benefits.

For people who are cash strapped, these plans can help you:
1) NTUC Assist Rider, it only ask you to pay for 10% of the bills, subject to a limit up to $3,000.
2) Prushield Extra Lite covers 100% of the co-insurance but 50% of the deductible.

What this means for me
I was deciding between buying the plan for Private hospital or Restructured (Public) hospital with ward A and below. Since I stay near a public hospital, I feel that it is sufficient. I am keen to change my family including my baby from Prudential to NTUC IncomeShield Plus Rider Advantage. My parents will be changing from AIA to NTUC too.

For my baby
Difference for a 1 year old (Prudential Extra A Plus vs NTUC) = 69 + 244 - 69 - 167 = $77
For me
Difference for a 31 year old (Prudential Extra A Plus vs NTUC) = 113 +273 - 104 - 188 = $94
For my parents
Difference for a 61 year old (AIA Gold Max B vs NTUC) = 664 + 787 - 603 - 634 = $214
Difference for a 66 year old (AIA Gold Max B vs NTUC) = 1287 +1087 - 912 - 839 = $623

You may think it's not substantial amount per year, but think of the amount you can save throughout your lifetime! Changing a provider does not mean sacrificing the coverage or benefits at all in this case.

Update: I called NTUC requesting for a financial advisor but they did not get back to me even after a second reminder. Thus, I decided to go with Great Eastern Total Health Gold as the agent is my friend too. Luckily for us, we bought these plans before 1st May 2017 which was before the price increase for Great Eastern. They are actually cheaper than NTUC!

Final advice
I advocate Integrated Shield plans to everyone. Why? Because peace of mind is priceless. I don't think it's worth it to save the money and yet having to worry all night on the hospital bills when accident strikes.

Health is wealth.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________
Please do not trust my calculations and decide on your own which is the best for you. I do not recommend NTUC or other policies because I get zero commission from this. Like me on Facebook to get more updates on relevant financial comparisons.

Jes

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6 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing.

    Have to make sure there is no pre existing illness before one does a switch.

    Personally i feel paying insurance (advantage ntuc or the like) for A1 ward in public hospital is quite redundant.
    Either the basic or private.

    The bottleneck is the specialist who are immediately available in private for surgery. Having advantage, u are just having a better ward with no priority for specialist, so better to get the cheapest one for public hospital.

    Im on the advantage ntuc now actually ...been procrastinating on upgrading to the preferred one

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I worked in public hospitals. Yes, A-class patients have priority over B1, and B1 over B2 & C. In terms of scheduling appointments, surgery dates, etc.

      Only in a blue moon will a lower class patient override --- and that is if:
      1) that patient requires immediate surgery for life or death situation.
      2) no other qualified-enough specialist / surgeon.

      Of course if you insist on a popular & well-known specialist who already has a long list of hundreds of patients con-currently seeing him, then it will be challenging to always get dates that you want. Scheduling will have to be on seriousness of condition for each patient under that specialist. It's the same with specialist in private hospital.

      Delete
    2. Hi Sgdividends,

      Yep, pre-existing conditions are the main concern but luckily it's covered under MediShield Life. Anyway, I think there is no right or wrong. I personally feel paying for private hospitals is redundant, haha! This is because I just visited a friend staying in Ward A in NUH, it's really luxurious. I think it's definitely more than sufficient. For the specialist case, I can't comment since I am lucky not to have encountered them.

      If you really feel like upgrading to the preferred one soon, don't procrastinate anymore :)

      Delete
    3. Hi Anonymous,

      Thank you for the sharing your knowledge. It does makes me feel better having bought the Ward A policy in public hospitals. That means if the majority who bought the private hospital policies go only to private hospitals, then there is no priority to anyone. They will be attended to depending on the severity of their conditions.

      Whereas in public hospitals, at least staying in Ward A will get me some priority. This is also great information for us to buy riders for your parents/children just to get the priority, on top of the peace of mind for paying nothing for hospital bills.

      Appreciate this great information, thank you very much!

      Delete
  2. You should also consider the pre and post hospitalisation period. Aia seems cheap on the surface but it's post hospitalisation is 100 days as compared to GE which is 180.. axa is 365 days

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Cheryl,

      Thanks for sharing this point. For me, the pre and post hospitalisation period is not the most important part. I would not want to pay more for a plan that can cover longer post hospitalisation. The bulk costs would be the stay in hospitals and the medical tests done there. That's only for me though, probably others can consider them depending on their situation.

      Appreciate the sharing!

      Delete