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Frequently Asked Questions About the Integrated Shield Plans

Health Insurance FAQ

The government of Singapore has in place a medical insurance scheme for its people. MediShield provides basic cover for Singapore citizens and permanent residents. However, those who desire better beds in hospital wards and more choice of doctors can access Integrated Shield Plans (IPs).

The IP is an additional program offered by private companies. Usually, the program involves some add-ons that are specific to insurers. These add-ons are called riders. Typically, insurers used to provide full riders where policyholders did not cater for any medical bills. However, new guidelines effective 1 April 2021 requires patients to co-pay at least 5% of the medical bills.

With all these in mind, policyholders still might have questions about IP. In particular, policyholders ask questions in line with how to access the scheme and the premiums. Further, they ask about the firms that offer the IP scheme. Here are some health insurance FAQs that you may have. 

FAQ #1 Why is IP Necessary?

As mentioned, MediShield Life provides only basic cover. In particular, the basic cover affords a patient a Class B2/C in public hospitals only. Further, the cover assigns a team of doctors to the patient. Therefore, patients do not really have a wide choice when seeking medical attention under the MediShield Life insurance scheme.

However, the IP scheme affords the patient with better bed offers. For instance, with the IP scheme, the patient will access Class A/B1 wards in public and private hospitals. Further, the patient will have a choice on the doctor that attends to him or her. Therefore, the IP might be necessary for patients who desire a better option.

FAQ #2 Will Premiums Increase After I purchase an Integrated Shield Plan?

Definitely, the IP plan offers advanced cover with much more privileges. In particular, these are secondary to what the government caters for. Therefore, the premiums for the integrated shield plan are higher.

The patient will pay for the higher premiums from his/her pocket. However, it is also possible to pay for the higher IP premiums from the Medisave account.

FAQ #3 What is an Integrated Shield Plan Rider?

Basically, riders are the add-ons that insurers offer to customers who buy IPs. Typically, such offerings are designed to attract more customers. They are merely marketing tools. For instance, insurers go as far as offering zero co-payment riders. However, many industry players and the government blame such riders for chronic moral hazard.

In the new guidelines earlier mentioned, policyholders will have to pay for at least 5% of co-payment riders. However, insurers can still sell IP riders in the interim period.

FAQ #4 Will the Integrated Shield Plan Cover My Existing Medical Condition?

When taking an insurance policy, the MediShield Life, for instance, one has to provide all historical medical data. Here, it is possible to establish pre-existing medical conditions and work out how to take care of it. However, one can develop another medical condition after acquiring the insurance policy. This is now the existing medical condition.

In such a case, the IP taken after the onset of the existing medical condition will not cover the condition. In particular, the Integrated Shield Plan will only cover the condition that develops after having acquired the plan.   

FAQ #5 Does the Integrated Shield Plan Cover Maternity Expenses?

Here, there are two case scenarios. In the first case scenario, if the pregnancy goes through without any complications, there will be no extra charges. Therefore, the expenses will still fall under the MediShield Life insurance scheme.

However, if in another case, the pregnancy develops complications and incurs extra maternity expenses, IP will apply. Therefore, the IP plan is basically for the purposes of costs not covered under the basic insurance cover.

Wee Jim Hock

Business Development Director

Mr. Wee has over 40 years' experience in General Insurance and he has been in Pana Harrison since 2005. Previously with QBE Insurance International Ltd for 25 years till 2004, and last position as AGM for distribution. He was a Member for Motor Committee with General Insurance Association (GIA) from 1979 till 1988.

Then he was a Convenor for Motor Workmen & Other Committee. He was also a Council Member for Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) from 1988 till 1993, then Deputy Chairman from 1994 till 2000. He served as Chairman from 2001 till 2004.