With the increasing cost of healthcare in Singapore and the rising incidence of illnesses worldwide, buying a health insurance policy is almost inevitable. But with so many options available, each with its unique selling points, finding an insurance policy that would work just right for you can be overwhelming. Don’t worry! We have simplified this to help get you started with health insurance before medical contingency hits. Here is a quick rundown of the 10 things you can consider before applying for health insurance for yourself and your family.
The insurance company plays a key role when it comes to health insurance. The speed of the claim processing varies from insurer to insurer. Therefore, you should be careful when making a choice. Thanks to the internet, these days, it is easy to go online and search for a reliable health insurance company. Most insurers showcase their customers’ testimonials and reviews on their websites. Make sure to check them out to know more about the services offered. Alternatively, you can chat with your friends and relatives about their insurers. If they have made a claim, find out their claim experience to know which company follows the best practices.
Check out the different types of plans a company offers and their unique selling points. Some companies offer a range of products to suit the varied coverage requirements of different clients. Choose a company with a diverse range of plans to find the right policy that best suits your needs.
Medical insurance plans list specific illnesses, treatments, or medicines for which coverage is available after a specified duration. For instance, in many plans, coverage for piles, fistula, hernia, etc., is available only after the first 2 policy years. These ailments are called specific diseases. Reach out to the insurance company if you are unsure about the coverage being offered.
To increase the scope of coverage, you may also consider add-ons or optional coverages if available. You can choose any suitable add-on to customize your health insurance plan. Note that every add-on cover requires an additional premium added to the base policy’s premium.
Most health plans cover the medical expenses that are incurred during hospitalization. But not all plans cover expenses incurred before and after the hospitalization. Pre- and post-hospitalization include ambulance charges and any tests, treatment, doctor visits, etc., conducted before or after the hospitalization. Different insurance companies have different terms and conditions regarding pre- and post-hospitalization. Make sure to check if your policy offers this coverage.
The conditions against which a claim cannot be made (exclusions) limit the scope of a policy. You must have total clarity about such conditions before purchasing health insurance. Being unaware of the exclusions can lead to claim rejection. Pre-existing medical conditions are the most common and well-known health plan exclusion. A pre-existing condition is a medical illness or injury that you have before you start a new health care plan. You will be asked to declare any pre-existing medical conditions when applying for a plan, and these will probably be excluded or limited from your coverage.
The waiting period is when you cannot raise a claim against the health insurance plan. During this period, the insurer will not accept any claim arising from pre-existing illnesses or specific illnesses like arthritis, varicose veins, cataracts, etc. It can range from 9 months to a few years, depending on the insurance company and the plan you want to purchase. Therefore, before buying, it is advisable to compare and choose a plan with a minimum waiting period so that you can claim the benefits in case of a health emergency.
You pay a premium to purchase a health insurance policy with a certain coverage. It can be lucrative to buy health insurance with the lowest premium. A policy with a lesser premium can be good if it offers you extensive coverage at an affordable price. But typically, the higher and more comprehensive the coverage, the higher the premium amount. Therefore, the best approach is to look for the reasons behind a reduced premium, as it should not be at the expense of the insurance coverage. Check if there is any additional clause of co-payment, deductibles, and sub-limits; if there are, you will end up paying more at the time of claim. It would be best if you bought a policy that offers adequate coverage without compromising on the benefits and at a premium that you can afford.
As per the co-payment clause, the policyholder must pay a predefined percentage of the hospital bill. Such policies cost less but offer less compensation as you have to pay a considerable part of the hospital bill. It is important to study this clause in detail if you decide to go for it. Most insurers would have a co-payment clause if you have any pre-existing medical issues or have passed a certain age limit.
When choosing the perfect health plan, you will often be given the option of selecting a deductible. A deductible is the total amount you will contribute to your healthcare costs, with the insurance company covering any remaining expenses. You may choose to take out a policy with no deductibles, but adding one to your coverage can significantly reduce your overall policy premium.
Over the years, insurers have optimized and simplified their claim process. Concepts such as AI-enabled claim processing, WhatsApp intimation, digital documentation, quicker approvals, app-based claim intimation, tracking, etc., are gaining traction. Such facilities speed up the claim process and make it hassle-free. A smooth and swift claim procedure is a boon when settling health claims. Therefore, you should look for insurers that provide such facilities for quicker and smoother claim settlements.
Study the company’s claim settlement approach before buying a policy. Check if the insurer has a wide network of hospitals where you can avail of cashless treatment in case of a medical emergency. The more comprehensive an insurer’s network, the better it would be. This would allow you to locate the nearest cashless hospital easily. Moreover, the insurer pays the sum insured directly to the hospital. You don’t need to arrange for funds nor file for its reimbursement, thus saving you from the tedious paperwork required at admission and claim time.
The younger you get health insurance, the better. You don’t want to scout for ideal health policies only after you’ve reached a certain age because a medical emergency can happen to anyone, anytime, and affect an individual emotionally and financially. Besides, while calculating the premium, the insured’s age plays a significant role. Therefore, buying a health plan early means you can get lower premium rates for more comprehensive coverage.
Also, there’s a waiting period in all health insurance plans during which you must wait before getting the insurance benefits. When you buy health insurance at an early age, it becomes easier to serve this waiting period as you’re less likely to become ill during this time. If you have not done so, remember that now is the right time to buy health insurance!