I just met up with a Client who came back to Singapore after 10 years of staying and working in the USA.
The purpose of the meet up is to recommend a Private Medical Insurance and any possible Supplementary Benefits that can be added.
How Singapore’s Medical System And the USA’s Medical System Differ
I had a good chance to understand the difference between the medical health system in the USA and Singapore. And what my Client has shared is quite shocking! And here are some of it, though I must still say that the accuracy of what I will be sharing may not be the whole truth:
– The Charge To Call For An Ambulance In The States Is $500 Per Trip
(image courtesy from sxc.hu)
Yes, you are reading this right! If there’s any emergency that you really need to call for an ambulance to fetch, be prepared to pay $500!
And if you are thinking that this ambulance will fetch you to the best hospital around, guess again. These ambulance services will still fetch you to the nearest hospital near your residence. If you stay just 30 minutes to the hospital, this $500 is a huge price to pay! This is why my Client says that most people in the States have to think twice before calling an ambulance.
They do have Medical Insurance Plans to cover for the ambulance services but you have to read the second last Pointer to understand that having a medical insurance plan will not make much difference.
– To Call For An Ambulance In Singapore Ranges From $35 to $75 per Trip
After I know the cost to pay for an ambulance in the States is that high, I am glad to know that Singapore’s Ambulance Services (either operated by the Civil Defence or Private Companies) are within reasonable range – $35 to $75 (may still differs) per trip.
And in Singapore, there are private medical insurance plans, usually provided under the Supplementary Benefits, that will cover this Ambulance Services. Similarly, you can read the last Pointer why you are not short-changed being a Singaporean.
– There Are People In The States Who Declared Bankrupt Because Of Huge Medical Bills
My client did share that in terms of medical treatment, it’s definitely better in the States. But because of lack of regulations in the medical system, better = very expensive! And there are scenarios whereby people have to declare bankrupt because they are unable to pay off their medical bills. Just imagine a fracture may deliver you a bill that’s $XX,XXX (I really hope my Client is joking on this).
– There Are Assistance Provided For Singaporeans With Huge Medical Bills
Similarly, after understanding what the people in the States are going through, I am glad to know that Singapore does have a good medical system in place.
Till date, during my four years being a Financial Planner, I have not came across any of such cases whereby one in Singapore has to declare bankrupt because of a huge medical bill. Although there are real cases whereby one’s Medisave account is wiped out.
Beside that, I do know that there are assistance provided to help any Singaporeans who need help with their Medical Bills like through Medical Subsidies, the Medifund or through the Social Workers within the Hospital Management (I salute them!).
– Medical Insurance Plans In The States Get More And More Expensive Each Year
Understood from my Client that if you intend to purchase a medical insurance plan in the States, do prepare to pay higher premiums each and every year, irregardless of whether you have done any claims in that year.
Although their medical insurance plan can cover almost all the bills and charges but it’s only worthwhile when you are making a claim. Else, the increment in the premiums outweigh the benefits in the long run.
– Premiums For Medical Insurance Plans In Singapore Do Not Increase Each Year
If you are still contemplating whether to get that private medical insurance plan, you will be glad to know that the premiums do not increase each year but according to age band (every 10 years if you are below 60 and every 5 years once you are above 60).
How about the “once a while” increment? First you must know that your premium will not increase the moment you made a claim. This “once a while” increment is usually based on the overall claim experience. If it’s too much for the Insurer to absorb, they will have no choice to increase by a small percentage.
So Are You Still Contemplating Taking Up That Private Medical Insurance Plan?
My Client literally take up the plan (together with the supplementary benefits) after understanding the above pointers. He understands the importance of having such coverage and that in terms of the premiums that he will be paying, is definitely way much lesser should he have a similar plan in the States.
If you are still contemplating taking up one, and my few above pointers do help to answer your concerns, then I would hope that it will change your mind today!