Maternity (& Pregnancy) Insurance in Singapore: Guide for 2019
If you're pregnant now, you would certainly face a realisation...
You're obligated to take care of this soon-to-be-born baby... for the long haul.
Your current priorities and responsibilities need to be adjusted to cater for the increased finances needed to take care of a child.
One uncertainty that would-be mothers have is what's going to happen when complications arise during pregnancy.
That's why this ultimate guide on maternity insurance in Singapore will give you the insights you'll need to be well-informed.
Do you really need it? The contents in this article will aid in your decision making.
So, let's get on with it!
Finding the best and cheapest maternity plans in 2019?
The Joys Of Being Pregnant
First of all, congratulations!
If this is your first pregnancy, there's bound to be an exciting journey ahead. It's not just for the coming months, but a lifetime after...
The happiness, love, and the not-so-happy times from having a child is all part of life, and what we live for.
If this isn't your first, then you're no stranger. But somehow the phrase: "same same, but different" comes into mind.
Every pregnancy is different, but we all want the same: everything to be smooth-sailing.
... can it always happen, though?
What Can Go Wrong During The Maternity Period?
Of course, everything can go "Business As Usual".
But the truth is, there may be hiccups (some can be severe) along the way.
Usually during a pregnancy, complications can arise. Examples of these complications are ectopic pregnancies, pre-eclampsia, still birth, etc...
When these happen, medical treatments need to be administered and monitoring will be done (getting warded), resulting in unexpected costs out of your pocket.
But that's not all...
What About After The Baby Is Born?
If in the unfortunate event that your baby is born with any congenital illnesses (birth defects), not only would there be additional medical treatment at that point of time, but the child may never get any form of health and life insurance anymore.
Fast forwarding to the future, that might not be a good situation to be in for the child, especially when she starts to earn an income and subsequently, to support the family where the exact thoughts you're having right now are running through her mind (inception).
But let's not think so far ahead.
How about a couple years down the road after the baby is born?
Things like Bronchitis, Hand Food Mouth Diseases (HFMD), and not unheard of. And these may not be covered by the regular health insurance. So you may have to fork out your hard-earned money to pay for the medical bills.
No one wants that...
3 Reasons Why Your Regular Health Insurance May Not Be Enough
1) Long Waiting Periods
If you intend to upgrade or purchase an Integrated Shield Plan (ISP) to get some form of coverage because either you're planning to get pregnant or already am, usually there are long waiting periods.
A typical waiting period for this can take 10 months so your impending birth will likely not be covered.
This is negated if you have already upgraded your ISP well beyond the waiting period.
However, different companies have different coverage for pregnancy complications so check your policy document to be doubly sure.
2) Limited Coverage For Pregnancy Complications
Even if you have satisfied the waiting period, the coverage is usually very limited, covering only a few complications at most.
3) Don't Cover For The Newborn Baby
In my opinion, this is the most important part.
Firstly, your health insurance won't cover the newborn baby. If anything happens to the baby, then you would need to fork out additional cash.
Secondly, even if you're already pregnant, you can't apply for an ISP for the soon-to-be-born baby (no birth certificate).
This effectively puts you in no man's land.
If the baby is born with abnormalities and you apply for an ISP for the baby, there's a high possibility that the application will be rejected.
Even if everything is ok, there are long waiting periods to cover for congenital anomalies, which could take another 24 months.
So, what then?
To bridge this "void"...
What Is A Maternity/Pregnancy/Prenatal Insurance?
Call it whatever you want, maternity insurance, pregnancy insurance, prenatal insurance...
They all mean the same.
It helps to cover the gap if mishaps and complications like those mentioned above were to happen.
Because regular health insurance may not cover pregnancy complications, a maternity insurance can provide a lump sum payout to offset additional medical costs.
The policy can also provide a daily hospital cash benefit for the mother and child when the need of being warded arises.
But most importantly, having this plan would allow the newborn to have an easier pathway to getting covered when born (even with medical conditions).
This policy is a one-time payment, and comes either as a standalone plan or bundled together with other plans.
Maternity Plans That Cover Normal Delivery Costs vs Those That Do Not
There are mainly 2 distinct types of pregnancy insurance out there - one that covers even the normal delivery costs and the other, complications that arise.
Yes, being able to cover almost all your delivery costs even when nothing goes wrong sounds good.
But is it necessary?
These plans usually come with long waiting periods of up to 24 months. It'll mean that you need to pay at least 2 years of premiums, and only then the policy would become "active".
In addition, the premiums are not cheap at all and can cost several hundreds per month.
And on top of that...
It does not mean that if you want to get pregnant, you can do so easily.
For example, if you've waited 2 years for the waiting period, and only get pregnant 1 to 2 years after that, you would have forked out a lot more. And if you happen to get pregnant before the 2 years waiting period, the delivery costs may not be covered.
If you're already pregnant, this option should be out already. Even if you're not, can you wait that long? The uncertainty may not be worth it.
So you might be better off to save and just pay for your normal delivery costs out-of-pocket.
This is the reason why most people go for the second option (covering for just complications) and that's the focus in this article.
What Can Be Covered?
Although the list of conditions covered differs from company to company, there are 4 main categories which one can claim from:
- Pregnancy Complications for the Mother
- Hospital Cash Benefit for the Mother
- Congenital Illnesses for the Child
- Hospital Cash Benefit for the Child
- Death Benefit for the Mother or Child, or both.
Here's an example of what NTUC's maternity plan covers (pictures below are from the brochure):
For the Mother
For the Child
What Is Not Covered?
As usual, any other conditions not listed in the plan and normal delivery costs will not be covered.
Is It Worth It To Get A Pregnancy Insurance?
So it boils down to this: is a pregnancy insurance necessary?
Here are some pointers to help in your decision:
1) Most plans are bundled with an Endowment/Investment Linked Product (ILP)
To be able to get the maternity plan, you'll need to purchase another plan - usually an endowment or ILP.
This may or may not be transferred to the newborn baby, depending on the type of plan applied for.
There are 2 ways to see this...
Firstly, if you just want a maternity plan, you're restricted and considerations to which bundled plan to get need to be done.
Secondly, there are benefits to having that "additional" plan. It could be a disciplined form of savings for the child, additional protection for the parents, etc. Those have to be addressed sooner or later anyway.
So you might as well take this chance to have a review done to get your priorities straighten out.
There are also plans that come as a standalone, and they do have a downside to them: usually, there's still some form of health underwriting when the newborn comes.
2) Does not cover normal delivery costs
Like mentioned, the costs to deliver a baby when there are no complications will be fully borne by you.
But isn't this what insurance is about?
Only insuring when the undesirable happens - making the uncertainty become a certainty.
It may be more effective to just "self-insure" by saving up to pay for these delivery costs (which you can also use your CPF Medisave to pay part of it).
1) Covers things that aren't usually covered
Nobody wants an overlap in their insurance portfolio or to over-insure themselves.
That's why maternity insurance forms a great bridge.
It is entirely unique and you wouldn't be able to find such cover in other plans (except in the ISPs, though limited).
2) It's affordable
Depending on age, this insurance for pregnant mothers is a one-time premium that varies from $300-$800.
It forms a cheap stepping stone to get your newborn covered.
3) Early coverage
Unlike regular health insurance, there are no waiting periods for a pregnancy insurance (note: we're still not talking about those that cover normal delivery costs).
You can apply for it as early as 13 weeks into the pregnancy.
This is a good point because health underwriting still needs to be done. Being able to apply early when there are no known complications increases your chances of getting accepted.
4) Increased insurability of the newborn
In Singapore or any part of the world, one wouldn't be able to buy whatever insurance they want even though they have the money for it.
Those who have medical conditions - even just a minor one - and applied for insurance before knows how much of a hassle it can be.
Thankfully, if you've purchased a maternity plan, the newborn baby might not need to be subjected to comprehensive underwriting. And thus, have a higher chance to get cover after.
Hopefully by now, you would've found this article useful.
Whether you think a maternity plan makes sense or not, you would have a better idea now.
If you're still on the fence or are interested to know more about pregnancy insurance in Singapore, take the first step by grabbing a comparison. Find the best maternity insurance here..