​Understanding health insurance

Health insurance helps pay for your health care costs if you are injured, sick, or disabled. Find out what health insurance covers, how it works, and why you need to be insured.

what is health insurance?

Health insurance helps you pay for your medical expenses when you get sick, injured, or disabled. All Singaporeans are covered by Medishield Life, a basic government health plan to cover large medical expenses. In addition to having to deal with large medical or hospital bills, you may not be able to work during your recovery.

Reading: How far back does health insurance cover

Some health insurance plans will provide you with cash payments to help pay for treatment or long-term care.

There are short-term and long-term policies. long-term policies cannot be canceled without your consent. For short-term policies, insurers can terminate your policies by giving you advance notice.

Make sure you buy a policy that fits your needs. Keep in mind that a new policy may not give you the same coverage as before.

types of health insurance plans

There are 5 types of health insurance plans. This table shows the different coverages offered by each plan:

cover your hospital and surgical (medical) costs

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medishield life already covers citizens and permanent residents of singapore, paying large hospital bills and selected expensive outpatient treatments. if you want more coverage, you might consider getting an integrated protection plan.

receive a fixed amount of cash for each day you are in a hospital

hospital cash insurance

receive a lump sum to help with expenses if you are diagnosed with a major illness like cancer

critical illness insurance

replace your income when you are disabled and unable to work

disability income insurance

pay for the care you need if you are severely disabled

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long-term care or serious disability insurance (for example, eldershield and eldershield supplements, and careshield life from 2020)

see also: guide to types of health insurance

who should buy health insurance?

Singaporeans are already covered by Medishield Life, a mandatory health insurance plan that pays for basic treatment in public hospitals.

If you prefer to be admitted to a better-type ward or private hospital, you may want to consider upgrading to an integrated protection plan with broader coverage.

See how much hospital treatments cost.

There are a few things to consider when choosing a health insurance plan:

  • if you are young and healthy: check if your coverage is enough for you or if you want to upgrade. Don’t wait until you develop health problems to get more coverage, as the insurer may exclude coverage for that in your policy.
  • If you have a family, make sure your family has adequate health insurance. medical emergencies can be expensive. make sure deductibles and coinsurance payments are affordable in the long run.
  • if you are a senior: visit the cpf website to see if you are covered by eldershield. If you are under 65 and have opted out of ElderShield before, talk to any of the private insurers to opt back in. premiums and payments are the same in all insurers. You will need a medical evaluation. your application could be denied if you have a pre-existing condition.
  • careshield life provides better basic protection against long-term care costs in the event you become seriously disabled. offers higher payments that increase over time and you will receive the payments as long as you remain severely disabled.

    those born before 1980 can choose to join careshield life if they are not seriously disabled. to make joining more convenient, singapore citizens or permanent residents born between 1970 and 1979 (inclusive) who are insured under the eldershield 400 plan and are not seriously disabled will be automatically enrolled in careshield life from december 2021.

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