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Integrated Shield Plans Premium & Coverage Comparison: Which is the best IP plan? (2022)

·16-min read

All Singaporeans are covered by MediShield Life for the most basic of medical coverage. But on top of MediShield Life, an estimated two-thirds of Singaporeans are also paying for an integrated shield plan (IP) from one of 7 private insurers:

  • AIA Healthshield Gold Max

  • Singlife with Aviva Singlife Shield

  • AXA Shield

  • Great Eastern GREAT Supreme Health

  • Income IncomeShield

  • Prudential PruShield

  • Raffles Shield

Each insurer offers a few options for their integrated shield plans, which means Singaporeans looking for an IP will have over 25 options to choose from. That sounds daunting, but making your decision is actually easier than it seems.

You only need to have a faint idea of what level of coverage you want, and the rest of it is mainly just crunching numbers. Easier than deciding which bubble tea you want at KOI.

Ready to compare the heck out of Integrated Shield plans? Let’s go.

 

Contents

  1. Step 1: Understand the limits of MediShield Life

  2. Step 2: Choose the coverage level you want

  3. Step 3: Know what to look for in an Integrated Shield plan

  4. Integrated Shield comparison for public hospital Class B1 IPs

  5. Integrated Shield comparison for public hospital Class A IPs

  6. Integrated Shield comparison for private hospital IPs

  7. 3 tips for keeping health insurance affordable

 

Step 1: Know the limits of MediShield Life

We’ve established that all Singaporeans are covered with health insurance: MediShield Life. (If you didn’t know this, you definitely need to read this comprehensive guide to health insurance in Singapore!)

Instead of buying an Integrated Shield plan because your insurance agent friend told you to, it’s worth checking out what MediShield Life covers so you know WHY you want to get an IP.

Being government-issued health insurance, MediShield Life is very affordable, but it’s as basic as it gets. Which means it has some very serious limitations:

  • Covers only the lower wards: MediShield Life covers only up to public hospital Class B2 or C ward. If you stay in a more comfortable ward, you’ll need to top up the difference out of Medisave or your pocket.

  • Surgery coverage capped at $2,600: If your operation costs more than $2,600, you’ll need to top up the rest.

  • No pre-/post-hospitalisation treatment coverage: MediShield Life doesn’t include diagnosis, early stage treatments, and recovery, which can add up to more than a hospital stay.

Here’s a link to MOH’s website showing the claim limits of MediShield Life.

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Step 2: Choose the coverage (i.e. ward class) you want

If you feel underwhelmed by MediShield Life, take this opportunity to figure out what standard of healthcare you want to receive (at minimum) should you fall ill or get into an accident. 

Are you okay with going to a public hospital, as long as you get into a “better” B1 ward? Or you die-die must go to a private hospital for the best healthcare possible?

Each insurer offers 2 or 3 IPs corresponding to ward tiers: Class B1, Class A, or private hospital. 

Integrated Shield insurer

Class B1

Class A

Private hospital

AIA Healthshield Gold Max

B Lite

B

A

Singlife with Aviva Singlife Shield

Plan 3

Plan 2

Plan 1

AXA Shield

Plan B

Plan A

Great Eastern GREAT Supreme Health

B Plus

A Plus

P Plus 

Income Enhanced IncomeShield

Basic

Advantage

Preferred

Prudential PRUShield

Premier

Raffles Shield

B

A

Private

Once you’ve decided on the healthcare tier you need, you’ll have narrowed it down from 19 plans to just 5 or 7.

Back to top

 

Step 3: Know what to look for in an Integrated Shield plan

Don’t worry, you won’t have to look through the ENTIRE policy documents of every Integrated Shield plan unless you’re a masochist.

There are actually just 3 things you need to look out for when making your choice:

  • Cost of premiums: We’ll comparing the cost of both the IP premiums (which are Medisave-payable) and the cost of the co-payment rider (payable in cash).

  • Pre- and post-hospitalisation coverage: All IPs compared here cover these costs “as charged”, but they differ in length of coverage. Obviously, the longer the period, the better.

  • Annual coverage limit: This refers to how much you can claim up to each year before the insurer stops footing your bills.

3 things to consider when you choose an IP What’s an IP? Integrated Shield Plan (IP) Covering you beyond just the hospitalisation, IPs cover you financially before and after hospitalisation. Coverage length Days covered Pre / Post-hospitalisation Coverage limit Amount claimable annually IP premiums Premiums paid annually

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Integrated Shield comparison 2022: Public hospital Class B1 IPs

Now let’s start crunching some numbers. Here’s a comparison of the Class B1 Integrated Shield plans:

 

Insurer

Annual premium*

Rider premium*

Annual claim limit

Pre & Post hospitalisation

AIA HealthShield Gold Max B Lite

$492

$180

$300,000

100 days / 100 days

Singlife with Aviva Singlife Shield Plan 3

$490

From $0.27/day

$500,000

180 days (panel) / 365 days (panel)

Great Eastern GREAT SupremeHealth B Plus

$467-$489

$102

$500,000

120 days / 365 days (panel)

Income Enhanced IncomeShield Basic

$453-$463

$78

$250,000

100 days / 100 days

Raffles Shield B

$473

$80

$300,000

90 days / 90 days

* For Singapore citizens aged 35.

Class B1 IPs are extremely affordable, but they’re not that much of an upgrade over MediShield Life (which covers B2). The main benefit would be pre- and post-hospitalisation costs.

Great Eastern Supreme Health B Plus is probably the best IP you can buy for this level of coverage. Not only does it have relatively lower premium for this age group, it also has the highest annual coverage limit.

Great Eastern logo
Great Eastern logo

Best High Value Plans & Covers COVID-19

Great Eastern SupremeHealth

Max. Annual Coverage Limit

S$1,500,000

Pre-Hospitalisation Benefit

120 days

Post-Hospitalisation Benefit

365 days

Apply NowApply directly on MoneySmart

More Details

Key Features

  • Great Eastern Supreme Health is an Integrated Shield Plan (IP) for Singaporean citizens and Permanent Residents (PRs) to supplement their MediShield Life health insurance plan that is provided by Singapore’s Ministry of Health

  • 3 types of Great Eastern SupremeHealth plans, namely Standard, B Plus, A Plus, and P Plus for incremental medical treatment coverage and access to wards in public and private hospitals

  • Access to Great Eastern HealthConnect, an over-the-phone or email medical concierge service to help you book medical consultation appointments with Great Eastern panel doctors, clinics, and hospitals

  • Full coverage aka “As Charged” coverage for your daily hospitalisation ward, board, Intensive Care Unit (ICU), short stay wards in public hospitals, and community hospital stays, including miscellaneous fees such as meals, prescription, doctors’ fees, etc.

  • Pre-hospitalisation coverage for specialists’ consultations within 120 days prior to your hospital admission

  • Post-hospitalisation coverage for referred treatments within 365 days after your hospital discharge. From the 180th to 365th day, your post-hospitalisation treatment has take place in a restructured hospital with pre-authorisation letter

  • Post-hospitalisation coverage for psychiatric treatments, speech and occupational therapy within 180 days after your hospital discharge

  • Outpatient cancer coverage for chemotherapy, stereotactic radiotherapy, immunotherapy, and radiotherapy

  • Outpatient coverage for kidney dialysis, immunosuppressants for organ transplant, erythropoietin, and long-term parenteral nutrition

  • Organ donation to your family members or transplant benefits between S$20,000 and S$60,000 depending on your plan

  • Benefits for congenital abnormalities for yourself and your biological child (for female individuals)

  • Emergency medical treatment overseas coverage, has to be a life or death situation (prices of treatments received abroad will be charged to equivalent treatments’ prices in Singapore public hospitals)

See all card details 

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Integrated Shield comparison 2022: Public hospital Class A IPs

Moving on to the comparison of the Class A Integrated Shield plans, which all 7 insurers offer:

 

Insurer

Annual premium*

Rider premium*

Annual claim limit

Pre & Post hospitalisation

AIA HealthShield Gold Max B

$558

$234

$1 million

180 days / 180 days

Singlife with Aviva Singlife Shield Plan 2

$558

From $0.46/day

$1 million

180 days (panel) / 365 days (panel) 

AXA Shield Plan B

$546

$200

$550,000

180 days / 365 days

Great Eastern GREAT SupremeHealth A Plus

$496-$525

$81

$1,000,000

120 days / 365 days (panel)

Income Enhanced IncomeShield Advantage

$473-$496

$94

$500,000

100 days / 100 days

Prudential PRUShield Plus

$476-$502

$86

$600,000

180 days (panel) / 365 days (panel)

Raffles Shield A

$502-$518

$254 (with Raffles hospital option)

$138 (others)

$600,000

180 days (panel) / 365 days (panel)

* For Singapore citizens aged 35.

Prudential’s PruShield Plus is the most value for money of the lot, and it offers a whole year’s coverage after hospitalisation, which seems like an excellent deal to me.  

Prudential logo
Prudential logo

Best For Young Individuals & Covers COVID-19

Prudential PRUShield

Max. Annual Coverage Limit

S$1,200,000

Pre-Hospitalisation Benefit

180 days

Post-Hospitalisation Benefit

365 days

Apply NowApply directly on MoneySmart

More Details

Key Features

  • Up to S$1.2 million in annual coverage claim limit for PRUShield Premier for private hospitals, S$600,000 for PRUShield Plus for class A wards and below in public restructured hospitals, and S$150,000 for PRUShield Standard for class B1 wards and below in public restructured hospitals

  • Full “As Charged” coverage for MediShield-approved surgeries listed in the table of surgical procedures from Table 1A to 7C, and includes day surgeries that does not require you to be warded overnight

  • Coverage for treatments or follow-up treatments related to your inpatient hospitalisation stay for 180 days pre-hospitalisation and 365 days post-hospitalisation

  • Coverage for outpatient radiotherapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy cancer treatments, kidney dialysis and erythropoietin

  • Other benefits include emergency overseas medical treatments, congenital abnormalities, inpatient psychiatric treatment, inpatient accidental dental treatments, and short stay wards

  • Claims-based pricing: Premiums will not rise year-on-year and will remain as stipulated in your policy contract’s schedule of premiums unless you make a claim – which will increase as stipulated in the claims multiplier table

  • PRUExtra series of riders grants you access to specialists and hospitals under the PRUPanel Connect medical concierge for easy appointment bookings

See all card details 

Income Enhanced IncomeShield Advantage is also quite affordable. But note that the pre- and post-hospitalisation coverage is shorter than Prudential.

It’s worth mentioning that Raffles Shield A allows you to add on a Raffles Hospital option to your Class A IP so you can stay in some sort of private hospital. This works out to be cheaper than going for one of the full private IPs below.

Raffles Health Insurance logo
Raffles Health Insurance logo

Covers COVID-19

Raffles Shield

Max. Annual Coverage Limit

S$1,500,000

Pre-Hospitalisation Benefit

180 days

Post-Hospitalisation Benefit

365 days

Apply NowApply directly on MoneySmart

More Details

Key Features

  • Full “As Charged” coverage for your daily ward, Intensive Care Unit (ICU) charges in the hospital, and community hospitals for plans Private, A, and B

  • Full “As Charged” coverage for MediShield-approved surgeries listed in the MInistry of Health’s table of surgical procedures Table 1A to 7C

  • Coverage for inpatient psychiatric treatment, accidental inpatient dental treatment

  • Coverage for outpatient kidney dialysis, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, stereotactic radiotherapy, erythropoietin, and immunosuppressants for organ transplant

  • Includes coverage for treatments sought 180 days prior to your hospitalisation (you must keep the reports and bills, and they must be related to your actual hospitalisation stay)

  • Includes coverage for treatments sought 365 days after your hospitalisation (at Raffles Panel clinics)

  • Coverage for major organ transplant, stem cell transplant, and living donor organ transplants

  • Includes coverage for 6 pregnancy complications, breast reconstruction after a breast cancer-related mastectomy, congenital abnormalities for you

  • Includes coverage for emergency overseas medical treatment, HIV contracted due to blood transfusion or occupation

See all card details 

Back to top

 

Integrated Shield comparison 2022: Private hospital IPs

All 7 insurers also offer private hospital IPs for maximum financial protection:

Insurer

Annual premium*

Rider premium*

Annual claim limit

Pre & Post hospitalisation

AIA HealthShield Gold Max A

$750-$791

$598 (without emergency & outpatient care booster)

$660 (with emergency & outpatient care booster)

$2 million (panel)

13 months (panel) / 13 months (panel)

Singlife with Aviva Singlife Shield Plan 1

$799

From $1.12/day

$2 million (panel)

180 days (panel) / 365 days (panel)

AXA Shield Plan A

$682-$690

$374

$2.5 million (panel)

180 days / 365 days

Great Eastern GREAT SupremeHealth P Plus

$712

$335

$1.5 million

120 days / 365 days (panel)

Income Enhanced IncomeShield Preferred

$615-$626

$265

$1.5 million

180 days (panel) / 365 days (panel)

Prudential PRUShield Premier

$727-$733

$337

$1.2 million (panel)

180 days (panel) / 365 days (panel)

Raffles Shield Private

$729-$732

$297

$1.5 million (Raffles Hospital or Government Restructured Hospital)

$600,000 (Other hospitals)

180 days (panel) / 365 days (panel)

* For Singapore citizens aged 35.

Considering the insane cost of private healthcare in Singapore, the premiums for Income Enhanced IncomeShield Preferred and AXA Shield Plan A seem pretty affordable.

AXA logo
AXA logo

Best Private Hospital Plans & Covers COVID-19

AXA Shield

Max. Annual Coverage Limit

S$2,500,000

Pre-Hospitalisation Benefit

180 days

Post-Hospitalisation Benefit

365 days

Apply NowApply directly on MoneySmart

More Details

Key Features

  • Full coverage for your hospitalisation, room, board, medical related services, Intensive Care Unit (ICU) expenses, although co-insurance, deductibles, and pro-ration factors apply

  • Full coverage for MediSave-approved surgeries (all surgeries listed in Tables 1A to 7C), although co-insurance, deductibles, and pro-ration factors apply

  • Up to 180 days pre-hospitalisation coverage for treatments, including any Accident and Emergency (A&E) treatments 24 hours prior to hospitalisation

  • Up to 365 days post-hospitalisation coverage for treatments if you seek treatment at pre-authorised private hospitals, restructured, or community hospitals

  • Coverage for planned inpatient and emergency treatments in Aviva pre-authorised hospitals

  • Coverage for major outpatient treatments: kidney dialysis, erythropoietin, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, brachytherapy, immunotherapy, stereotactic radiotherapy, and immunosuppressant drugs for major organ transplant

  • Pro-ration for non-subsidised outpatient cancer treatments is applicable. Dialysisrelated treatment and immunosuppressants will not be pro-rated.

  • AXA Shield Plan A with private hospital coverage, offers a high annual limit of up to S$2.5 million (If treated by AXA Panel of Specialists or at a Restructured Hospital)

See all card details 

However, if you’re willing to pay a bit more for ultra-comprehensive coverage, AIA Healthshield Gold Max A has the highest levels of coverage on the market.

AIA logo
AIA logo

Covers critical illnesses and Covid-19

AIA HealthShield Gold Max

Max. Annual Coverage Limit

S$2,000,000

Pre-Hospitalisation Benefit

100 days

Post-Hospitalisation Benefit

100 days

Apply NowApply directly on MoneySmart

More Details

Key Features

  • Pre-Hospitalisation: Treatment bills covered fully aka “As Charged” within 100 to 180 days prior to hospitalisation stay

  • Hospitalisation: Daily room, ICU, community hospital covered fully

  • Post-Hospitalisation: Treatments covered fully within 100 to 180 days, or up to 13 months after hospitalisation for plan A holders seeking treatments with AIA panel doctors

  • Critical Illnesses: Coverage for 30 critical illnesses within 100 days post-hospitalisation, bills covered fully

  • Surgery: Covers all MediSave-listed surgical procedures, including organ and stem cell transplant, and surgical implants

  • Pregnancy Complications: Fully covers 26 pregnancy complications, including ectopic pregnancy, eclampsia, miscarriage, haemorrhage, still birth, gestational diabetes, and more.

  • Newborn Congenital Abnormalities: Covers S$3,000 to S$5,000 per child for female insured’s biological child

  • Organ Transplant: From S$20,000 to S$60,000 coverage per transplant if you are the donor or recipient

  • Psychiatric Treatment: From S$1,000 to S$5,000 coverage for in- and post-hospital psychiatric treatments per policy year

See all card details 

Back to top

 

3 tips for keeping health insurance affordable

If you’re looking for the most expensive tier — private hospital IPs — I don’t blame you. We’ve all heard enough bad stories about public healthcare to understand why some people would rather pay more to not be stuck in there.

But private IPs can get expensive. So here are 3 tips to help keep your premiums affordable:

1. Consider whether to buy a rider

After you buy an Integrated Shield plan, you still need to pay some of your hospital bills either out of pocket or from Medisave.

A deductible (up to $3,500) and co-payment (10% of your bill) will kick in before the insurer will pay the rest of the claim — somewhat like car insurance excess. So for a $20,000 private hospital bill, that’s $3,500 + $2,000 = $5,500.

An IP “rider” covers most of the above so you only need to co-pay 5% instead. So, for that $20,000 bill, you fork out $1,000 as co-payment. However, rider premiums can cost almost as much as the IP itself, and you have to pay for it in cash (no Medisave).

In our opinion, it does makes sense to get a rider if it’s cheap and you have the budget for it. But you can also get away with no rider if you have enough Medisave or cash savings.

2. Opt for an insurer with a panel

Insurers aren’t charities; they have to remain profitable. Therefore, if customers make too many claims, they may decide to sneakily revise their premiums upwards.

But it’s not just customers at fault. Some medical practices also overcharge once they know that an insurer is footing the bill. Either way, this results in high costs for the insurers, who would then pass it on in the form of higher premiums.

The solution is to look for insurers that work with a panel, such as AIA, who has a list of preferred healthcare Providers. Yes, it’s a hassle to have to go through a panel… but it also means that the insurer is trying to control their costs and hopefully keep our premiums from inflating too much.

3. Compare every year before renewing

Once your annual Integrated Shield plan expires, you are not obligated to renew it.

You can and should take the opportunity to shop around and compare the health insurance plans on the market. And yes, the IP premiums and coverage levels do change — take it from someone who has to update this article every year.

But note that if you switch to another insurer, you will be subject to medical underwriting. This means any medical conditions that arose since your previous insurer will be considered “pre-existing” and therefore not covered.

After a certain age, your premiums will be high no matter which insurer you go to. So you may then want to consider opting for a lower-tier plan — for example, from private to Class A. (“Downgrading” is generally a straightforward matter, whereas “upgrading” to a higher tier may require medical underwriting.)

Ultimately, while the cost of an annual premium is important, what’s more crucial is that you should pick an integrated shield plan based on the level of coverage you require.

Found this article useful? Share it with anyone who needs health insurance. (That’s everyone!)

 

The post Integrated Shield Plans Premium & Coverage Comparison: Which is the best IP plan? (2022) appeared first on the MoneySmart blog.

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Original article: Integrated Shield Plans Premium & Coverage Comparison: Which is the best IP plan? (2022).

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