In Singapore, all citizens and Permanent Residents have a basic insurance plan under MediShield Life (formerly known as MediShield). This is our nation’s answer to basic hospitalisation coverage and select outpatient treatments for the majority. Of which, MediShield Life premiums will be paid from an individual’s Medisave account.
For pregnant mothers, there is even a Medisave Maternity Package to offset costs incurred during the pregnancy period. So with a basic insurance coverage in place, is there still a need for pregnant mums to purchase maternity insurance?
What is the Medisave Maternity Package?
With Medisave Maternity Package (MMP), parents can utilise their Medisave to pay for delivery expenses, as well as pre-delivery medical expenses such as consultations and ultrasound tests. However, there are withdrawal limits of:
- $450 a day for hospitalisation;
- $900 for pre-delivery medical expenses;
- and between $750 and $3,950 for surgeries, depending on the type of delivery procedure.
Currently, MMP can be used in both public and private hospitals.
What does maternity insurance cover?
There are insurances that cover instances like miscarriages or premature births. But these are purchased prior to being pregnant, and at least 10 months in advance. Once a mum-to-be learns that she is pregnant, she can still choose to be insured sometime after 13 weeks, depending on the insurance provider.
In Singapore, where medical emergencies and expenses can chalk up hefty bills, enhanced coverage through maternity insurances can protect mother and baby from unexpected complications.
This means insuring mums-to-be against seven to eight common pregnancy-related complications and death, as well as newborns from congenital illnesses such as spina bifida and congenital deafness, or admission into intensive care unit or high dependency unit. Such coverage offer much needed peace of mind as a couple welcome a new family member into the family.
On top of medical coverage, some maternal policies come with a saving or investment component that can be transferred to the newborn. This gives him or her a head start in wealth accumulation.
Is maternity insurance available to all mums-to-be?
A mum-to-be’s pre-existing conditions play a part in the underwriting process. During which she will be assessed based on her medical history and reports from her obstetrician/gynaecologist. A woman who has suffered repeated miscarriages will very likely be rejected, subject to underwriting.
It is also worth noting that in Singapore, most insurance providers do not cover conceptions through in-vitro fertilisation (IVF). As a mum-to-be undergoes more scans as the pregnancy advances, it pays to obtain coverage as early as possible, before potential complications are detected.
It is important to set your mind at ease as you welcome the arrival of a new life. While MediShield Life provides some coverage, it is often thought to be inadequate. The option to pay a premium to defray medical bills or receive payouts (even though you hope you’ll never need to exercise them) is then a small price to pay.