Singapore is a world leader in life expectancy. Men live to age 80 on average and woman to the sprite age of 85. In January 2016, the Central Provident Fund Board (CPF) is enhancing its retirement fund scheme to account for longevity risk.

An Enhanced Retirement Sum – the monthly income you will receive at age 65 based on the sum you save – will be added to the Retirement Account options. The change coincides with the busy insurance enrollment season, encouraging Singaporeans to assess and reassess their retirement options.

While you are out shopping for insurance, here are a few terms that will help you make informed decisions on insurance products.

Insurance Checklist #1: Who Should Be Covered?

You can choose to buy insurance as a single with no dependents, a couple, or a family. Generally, the larger your group the lower the insurance premiums. No independents mean you have no child, elderly parent or spouse who claim a deduction on your tax return.

Be sure to coordinate coverage across spouses and family members. If you have spousal benefits in your pension plan, you will want to manage your insurance policies according to when these income streams will be paid.

Insurance Checklist #2: Be Forward Thinking

Today, technology is helping us predict what future illnesses we are at risk of acquiring. Gene tests can confirm if you are at risk of certain illness such as breast cancer. You should also review your family’s health history. Taken together, this information can help you make more informed decisions about your future healthcare needs.

Knowing whether or not you will break a bone on the ski slopes is harder to predict. But if you are an avid downhill skier, you should consider adding fracture coverage to your health insurance plan, if it is not already included.

Insurance Checklist #3: Practice Preventive Care

Preventive care can lower your insurance premiums. It also can identify a serious illness early. Preventive care measures can include:

– frequent and regular doctor’s check-ups

– regular testing – for example, mammograms

– regular exercise

– a healthy diet

Prepare in advance for health events you know will take place. If you are planning to become pregnant within the year, take out prenatal care coverage. A thorough policy that takes care of pre-natal consultations and all pregnancy scans can help ensure a healthy pregnancy. Change your diet and eating habits, accordingly.

Know the waiting times before coverage kicks in. How soon and often can newborns receive health checks and vaccinations? A delayed vaccination can put your child at risk, especially if you are spending a lot of time in hospital environments.

Insurance Checklist #4: Anticipate Medical Expenses

Does every member of your family have high blood pressure? Do you measure high but not yet in dangerous territory? High blood pressure medication may be a future expense. Hopefully, through healthy low-stress living and meditation classes, you can beat your family odds. But if you do see high blood pressure treatment as an option on your insurance plan, you may want to opt in. Are the drugs you require available as generic drugs? Could you lower your insurance costs by switching to generic versions? What is the likelihood you will need long-term care?

Insurance Questions to Ask Your Financial Consultant

Insurance Checklist #4: Choosing Doctors and Health Service Providers

Singapore’s healthcare system is one of the best in the world. One advantage is that patients can choose their healthcare providers, whether in the public or private system. The doctor-to-patient population is healthy and contributes to quality healthcare. Check any restrictions on doctor or healthcare service provider choices.

Insurance Checklist #5: Read the Fine Print

Even if you are renewing a policy, terms changes from year to year. The mortality rate used to determine your premium five years ago may have changed, and this will affect the cost of your insurance premiums. Always double check deductibles to avoid getting stung in your pocketbook. Your choice of provider networks may also have changed. You may discover that the new offerings do not meet your criteria.

Insurance Checklist #6: Past and Current Treatment Exclusions

If you have recently had medical treatment, you may be excluded from having similar treatment within a specific time period. These are called exclusion periods. Examples of exclusions to watch for include:

– Pre-existing conditions for which you have previously received treatment. Treatment may be provided but a waiting period applied.

– Homecare, private nursing – Demand for these services is growing. While they may be standard in a disability plan, the services may not be covered by a general health insurance plan.

– Dental or vision care. Accident insurance may cover it in relation to an accident only. A separate plan or plan add-on will be required.

– Plastic surgery – This includes many forms of non-elective surgeries – nose jobs, face lifts and tummy tucks. Some plastic surgery may be covered such as that related to a mastectomy or skin grafting of burn victims.

– Drug exclusions

– Behavioural or learning problems

– Alternative and complementary medicine – In Singapore, Chinese medicine is often covered or available as an add-on.

Insurance Checklist #7: Beyond the Premium

A plan with low premiums but high deductibles may turn out to be too expensive. Most doctor’s appointments involve a co-payment, a fixed fee you will be required to pay each time you visit a doctor. Before your plan starts paying for your treatment, an out-of-pocket payment limit may be set.

For example, you may be required to pay for $200 in Chinese medicine services before the healthcare policy will cover you for another $500 of treatment. The treatment may also have a lifetime maximum payout. For non-essential acupuncture, for example, you may have a lifetime limit of $1000.

When comparing insurance plans, you are seldom comparing apples-to-apples. The more you read the fine print, the more evident the differences in offerings will become. Take the time to carefully read through policies, and remember the onus is on the buyer to be informed and educated.  MoneySENSE was created as a resource to teach financial literacy and help you make more informed decisions when buying insurance and other financial products.

Health Insurance In Singapore Explained

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Founder @ The New Savvy
Anna Haotanto is the Advisor (former CEO) of The New Savvy. She is currently the COO of ABZD Capital and the CMO of Gourmet Food Holdings, an investment firm focusing on opportunities in the global F&B industry. She is part of the founding committee of the Singapore FinTech Association and heads the Women In FinTech and Partnership Committee. Anna is the President of the Singapore Management University Women Alumni. Anna invests and sits on the board of a few startups. Anna is also part of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry Career Women’s Group executive committee. Anna’s story is featured on Millionaire Minds on Channel NewsAsia. She hosts TV shows and events, namely for Channel NewsAsia’s “The Millennial Investor” and “Challenge Tomorrow”, a FinTech documentary. Anna was awarded “Her Times Youth Award” at the Rising50 Women Empowerment Gala, organised by the Indonesian Embassy of Singapore. The award was presented by His Excellency Ngurah Swajaya. She was also awarded Founder of the Year for ASEAN Rice Bowl Startup Awards. She was also awarded the Women Empowerment Award by the Asian Business & Social Forum. Anna has been awarded LinkedIn Power Profiles for founders (2018, 2017), Tatler Gen T, The Peak’s Trailblazers under 40 and a nominee for the Women of The Future award by Aviva


  1. […] Healthcare & Insurance: Being a woman, I focus on protecting my downsides. I am also concerned about my future and on making sure that my loved ones are taken care of. First, I will invest in health care and insurance by making sure that I am prepared for medical expenses and hospital bills. I will buy accident, health, critical illness insurance. […]


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