Maternity (& Pregnancy) Insurance in Singapore: Guide for 2022

Once you’re pregnant, you’ll certainly face this realisation: you’re obligated to take care of this soon-to-be-born baby, for a very long time.

Your current priorities and responsibilities need to be adjusted.

All couples wish everything to go well.

However, complications can happen with the pregnancy or when the child is born. That could mean digging further into your hard-earned savings.

In this guide on maternity insurance in Singapore, we’ll cover what it is, what it covers (and doesn’t cover), whether it is necessary, etc.

So, read on!

What Is Maternity or Pregnancy Insurance?

Call it whatever you want, maternity insurance, pregnancy insurance, or prenatal insurance, they all mean the same thing.

A maternity plan is a type of insurance that provides coverage for the mother and the newborn baby if complications were to arise.

For the mother’s coverage, there’s a death benefit, lump sum payout for pregnancy complications, and a daily hospital cash benefit if insured events happen.

For the baby’s coverage, there’s also a death benefit, lump sum payout for congenital illnesses, and a daily hospital cash benefit if insured events happen.

Depending on the plan, it can allow the newborn baby to have an easier pathway to getting life or health insurance, even with pre-existing medical conditions.

Such plans are meant to bridge a gap in coverage from regular health insurance. More on that later.

The maternity insurance is meant to be bought when the mother is pregnant. An application can be made when the mother is 13 to 36 weeks into the pregnancy. Most insurance companies also require the mother to be between the ages of 18 to 45.

Foreigners, if they have valid passes, can also purchase maternity insurance.

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Maternity Plans That Cover Normal Delivery Costs vs Those That Do Not

There are two distinct types of pregnancy insurance: one that covers even the costs of delivering a baby and the other, only when complications arise. 

Yes, being able to cover almost all of your delivery costs even if nothing goes wrong sounds good.

But is it necessary?

These plans usually come with long waiting periods of up to 24 months. It also means that you’ll need to pay for at least two years of premiums. In addition, the premiums are not cheap at all, and can cost several hundreds of dollars per month.

On top of that, it doesn’t mean that if you want to get pregnant, you can do so easily or right after the waiting period.

To illustrate, if you’ve waited two years to satisfy the waiting period, and only get pregnant one to two years after that, you would have forked out a lot more more. If you happen to get pregnant before the two-year waiting period, the delivery costs may not be covered, diminishing the effectiveness of the plan.

If you’re already pregnant, this option should be out already. Even if you’re not, can you even wait that long? That uncertainty might not be worth it.

This is why most people go for the second option (covering just the complications only) and save up to pay off the normal delivery costs out-of-pocket.

What Does Maternity Insurance Cover?

Although the list of conditions covered differs from company to company, there are six main categories of claims:

For the mother:

  1. Pregnancy complications
  2. Daily hospital cash (if insured events happen)
  3. Death benefit

For the baby:

  1. Congenital illnesses
  2. Daily hospital cash (if insured events happen)
  3. Death benefit

The insured amount is usually a minimum of $5,000 and can go upwards of $20,000.

One important additional benefit will be the option to purchase or transfer whole life insurance coverage when the baby is born, without medical undewriting.

What Doesn’t Maternity Insurance Cover?

Conditions that are not listed in the plan will not be covered. Even if a condition is listed, there may still be a criteria to qualify for an eligible claim.

It is important to note that normal delivery costs will also not be covered, along with consultations, check ups, or tests.

Two Options for Maternity Insurance: Standalone vs Bundled

The maternity insurance itself is a single-premium policy that costs around $300 to $1,000, depending on the coverage amount.

It can be purchased as a standalone plan or come as a bundle, depending on the insurer.

Standalone plans typically have less extensive range of cover compared to bundles.

In a bundle, you’ll have to purchase another plan. Most people would prefer a whole life insurance plan because it can be transferred to the newborn without medical underwriting. This way, the baby can still be insured even if medical conditions are present.

Some companies even go further by extending Integrated Shield Plan (IP) coverage to the newborn without medical underwriting (terms and conditions apply).

Is Maternity Insurance Necessary or Worth It?

So it boils down to this: is a pregnancy insurance necessary?

Here are some pointers to help in your decision:

The 4 Advantages

1) Covers items that aren’t usually covered

Nobody wants an overlap in their insurance portfolio or to over-insure themselves. 

Even if the mother has MediShield Life and an Integrated Shield Plan (IP), there may still be limitations.

For example, MediShield Life has a relatively wide range of pregnancy complications that can be covered. However, the basic plan is geared to cover government B2/C wards.

Even if you’ve upgraded to an IP, the list of items it covers for pregnancy complications are only a few.

That’s why maternity insurance forms a great bridge.

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2) It can be affordable 

Depending on age, this insurance for pregnant mothers is a one-time premium that could range from $300 to $1,000.

It provides some form of cover at a relatively low cost.

Just note that it may be bundled with other plans.

3) Get coverage as early as 13 weeks into the pregnancy

Unlike regular health insurance, there’s no waiting period for maternity insurance.

You can apply for it as early as 13 weeks into the pregnancy. The earlier you apply, you’d have more months of coverage before the baby is born.

4) Can provide guaranteed insurability to the newborn

Buying insurance requires a clean bill of health.

Those who have medical conditions will know how much of a hassle the application process can be.

So, even if the baby is born with a minor condition, it can be difficult to purchase life or health insurance.

Maternity plans bridges that gap as the newborn might not need to be subjected to comprehensive medical underwriting to get insurance coverage.

The 2 Disadvantages

1) Does not cover normal delivery costs or other items 

Like mentioned, the costs to deliver a baby, including consultations and tests, when there are no complications, will be fully borne by you.

You would still need to save up and pay for those costs. You could use part of your CPF MediSave as well.

2) Most maternity plans come bundled

To be able to get maternity coverage, you might need to purchase another plan – an endowment, whole insurance, or an investment-linked policy (ILP).

This may or may not be transferred to the newborn baby, depending on the type of plan applied for.

There are two ways to see this:

Firstly, if you just want the maternity coverage, the options are limited.

Secondly, although it may seem like the bundled plan is something you may not need, it does have its uses.

It could be a disciplined form of savings for the child, additional protection for the parents, or the transfer of life insurance coverage to the newborn. Those have to be addressed sooner or later anyway.

It can also be a good time to review your portfolio and get your priorities straighten out, especially when you have additional commitments and responsibilities coming your way.

There are maternity plans that come as a standalone. But they do have a downside: if you wish get life insurance coverage when the baby is born, some form of health underwriting would still be needed.

Summary of Pros and Cons of Maternity Insurance

ProsCons
1.Covers items that aren’t usually coveredDoes not cover normal delivery costs or other items
2.It can be affordableMost maternity plans come bundled
3.Get coverage as early as 13 weeks into the pregnancy
4.Can provide guaranteed insurability to the newborn

Other Important Areas to Consider

With a newborn, there’ll be greater financial commitments.

Apart from maternity insurance, there are other considerations.

Firstly, with another addition to the family, you’ll need to provide more in terms of finance – greater expenses, catering for future needs, etc.

This places an emphasis on the income you’re earning. If anything happens to that income, then it’ll all go downhill. So ensure that you have adequate life insurance coverage. One of the best ways is to get yourself protected with a term insurance or a whole life insurance.

Secondly, once the baby is born, do make provisions to apply for the regular health insurance (MediShield Life and/or the Integrated Shield Plan). This ensures that proper and comprehensive medical insurance coverage is in place. You’re able to apply once the newborn is 2 weeks old.

Thirdly, most parents would apply for a whole life insurance plan with the baby as the life insured. This is because the cost of insurance will be at the lowest, and it can be a gift (the policy has cash value) to the child in the future. If you have the maternity plan, you can usually transfer the bundled whole life plan or apply for a new one (with reduced health underwriting requirements).

Lastly, one of the greater financial commitments is to provide for the kid’s education, especially for university. The costs are significant and takes a while to save up, so always start early if possible.

You can look at endowment saving plans to help you achieve higher potential returns while still keeping your capital protected.

Finding the Best Maternity Insurance in Singapore

Hopefully, you’ve found this article useful and have a better idea on whether a maternity plan makes sense or not.

If you’re interested to know more about pregnancy insurance in Singapore, take the first step by getting a comparison of the best maternity insurance in Singapore.

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Disclaimer: The statements or opinions expressed on this site are of my own. The information is meant purely for informational purposes and should not be relied upon as financial advice.
Abram Lim

With over 7 years of experience in the financial advisory industry, and previous stints in Citibank and UOB, Abram eagerly shares his knowledge by publishing research-backed articles. Learn more about Abram