Private Shield Plans’ Premiums Have Increased – What To Do About It?

If you have yet to notice… premiums for most (or all) private medical shield plans have increased along with the introduction of new benefits under the Medishield Plan administered by the CPF Board. Some of those whom I know:

– Expected It And Accepted It Unwillingly (since this is an Important Insurance Plan to have and Cost of Living for everything else has risen as well)

– Not Very Happy About It And Looking Towards Some Drastic Measures (e.g. Terminating It)

If you are one of those who are unhappy about it, do consider some of my suggestions before you choose the option of terminating it…

#1 – Medical Cost In Singapore Or Anywhere Is Really Expensive If You Require Medical Treatment

Like it or not… if you are sick or down with a long term illness, the cost of treatment in Singapore or anywhere else is really expensive if your desire to get well is strong! Even if you choose to not do anything about your medical condition (and prefer the dying option), it’s not that straightforward and fast as well so cost of living and burden to others will still come in place! So if that’s the case, I would prefer that you choose to have the desire to get well and get yourself treated!

The good thing is that the standard of medical treatment in Singapore is really high (which commands the high price) and if you are covered under a private medical shield plan, it should cover 90% to 100% of the medical treatments. The cost of servicing the premiums (even with the increment) is still justifiable (adjustments to daily lifestyle may still be required, e.g. going a little less to those restaurants for meals) should one strike with a mid to long-term medical condition in the future and requires medical treatment!

#2 – Terminating Any Medical Insurance Plans Now And Re-Applying It Will Not Give You Standard Approval

I have seen a few cases whereby people choose to terminate their medical plans (due to cost or unhappiness) and decide to re-apply/upgrade for them (especially after suffering from a particular condition or going for checkups)… only to either get rejected or sub-standard approval (meaning certain medical conditions and its related are not being covered and not eligible for any future claims).

It may seem unfair but the fact that the Insurance Companies are doing this for the benefits of the other policyholders who are healthy and keeping their medical plans for peace of mind – allowing those who are already sick to re-apply and keep to a standard approval will only add on to the cost of the claims experience which also means that future premiums will have to increase as well. Totally unfair to those who are healthy!

So despite the fact that premiums have increased but along with it are additional benefits which make the medical insurance plans more comprehensive! If you are indeed terminating your plan because of the increment, do re-consider because of this suggestion!

#3 – What If The Premium Increment Is Really The Main Concern

If the Premium Increment is really the main concern for you to decide to terminate your plans… there are a few areas to re-consider and look into that may help you to make a better decision:

a) Choose To Downgrade Your Plan

If you are under a higher plan (e.g. those that entitle you to Private Hospital Treatment or Restructured Hospital Class A) and you are really sure that you can maintain a good health in the long run and forgo some of the benefits under your current plan, you can choose to downgrade your plan to those that entitle you to medical treatment under Class B1 and below.

If the premium rate at that level is still a concern, you can still opt to revert back to your Basic Medishield Plan under the CPF Board. You must still remember that if you decide to upgrade in the later stage and your health conditions have changed, you may not be able to get standard approval.

b) Look for Plans under other Insurance Companies

Though this is not really advisable (especially if you got any particular health conditions), this is still an option to consider because some insurance companies do have plans that have lower premium rates or packages (e.g. free coverage for children).

If you are choosing this option, my advise is that do not terminate your plan straight away but going for the usual application and see the outcome (do make known that you have an existing plan). Should the outcome be good, you can proceed to terminate your existing plans.

c) Get the other Family Members to help

Some of the really affected parties are those Senior Citizens because at their age, most of them are paying cash on top of the usual CPF payment from their Medisave Account. If you do have family members who are in this category, do get other family members to come in and help out in the cash payment portion and/or top up their Medisave Account. Should something really happen, the financial burden may still fall back to the rest of the family but at least having some form of medical insurance coverage may still help!

Conclusion

I do hope some of these suggestions can help to change your mind if you are affected by the premium increments of your medical insurance plans. If you have some unanswered queries, please feel free to post your comments below or arrange for an appointment with your Financial Planner and discuss about this issue!

Stay Healthy!

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