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question about private medical insurance for PR

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GSM8
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question about private medical insurance for PR

Postby GSM8 » Mon, 15 May 2017 1:57 am

I have a rather specific question about health insurance for PR, but thought there might be a few others who've been in a similar situation. When I received PR a few months ago, I signed up for a private hospital integrated plan (IP) to supplement Medishield, costing about $840 a year (including Medishield). So far I've been working for a large corporate and therefore on their group medical plan as well, which has hospitalization, outpatient and medicines coverage (that, touchwood, I rarely had to use). Now, I am contemplating becoming an independent consultant (in which case no more corporate coverage) and was wondering if there is any advantage in taking additional private medical insurance coverage (say costing $1800/year), on top of the IP (which covers hospitalization only). From what I could see, the private medical coverage would only duplicate the hospitalization coverage of the IP, and give a limited outpatient/medicines benefit (is there anything I am overlooking?) Of course if I do take up an additional private insurance now, should any chronic medical condition arise in the future (I'm in mid forties), I won't have to deal with a pre-existing condition clause for outpatient visits and medicines. But then, non-Medishield insurance plans can always raise their premiums or refuse to renew if the person is "costing too much".

Another related question. While buying the integrated plan, the agent convinced me to sign up for a rider to cover the deductible and cost about $620/year (increasing with age, of course). Any thoughts on whether these "riders" are worth it? I understand they are not regulated by the gahmen, and rationally looking at the premiums over the years, one would need to have a few major hospital stays for it to balance out. I've always held the general view that one should only take insurance for bank breaking expenses, but maybe I am changing in my middle age :-k (My better half on the other hand has always taken every insurance she can.)

Appreciate your thoughts and insights, especially on the first question on whether there is any merit in taking on an additional private medical insurance.

Thanks!

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Re: question about private medical insurance for PR

Postby Strong Eagle » Mon, 15 May 2017 2:19 am

The big kicker, IMHO, is that there is no overseas medical coverage. If you are an American, this is particularly acute, as there are a lot of global health policies that do provide coverage everywhere except the USA.

I was EP before I was PR, and as an American, I chose a policy that let me come visit the USA for up to four weeks at a time... and I forget the number of times per year... perhaps 3?... and I would have full medical coverage while in the USA.

I also chose a policy that had repatriation benefits so that if I ended up with something like cancer, I would be repatriated back to the USA and my medical bills would be covered there.

I also got an evacuation insurance rider so that if I was in the middle of BumF*ck, Laos, and broke my neck, I'd be airlifted to the nearest qualified hospital.

Because I was travelling to the USA once or twice a year, I never considered in other supplemental policies to jig in with MediSave.

One other alternative, which I provided to my employees who needed it, was comprehensive travel insurance which included medical care, evacuation, etc when out of Singapore.

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Re: question about private medical insurance for PR

Postby earthfriendly » Mon, 15 May 2017 7:38 am

Hi GSM8, can I piggybacked onto your post, rather than starting a new post?

I have seen Singaporeans residing in USA having to admit their visiting elderly SG parents into US hospital (for stroke?) during their short tourist visit to USA. It was not covered by insurance and they ended up footing the entire bill out of their own pockets. Eileen was very fortunate as she was able to raise the money in a relatively short amount of time. Time is of essence here. Do you happen to know which travel (?) insurance my Singaporean relatives can purchase in Singapore before their visit to USA to avoid this scenario. I believe they mostly purchase the readily available ones e.g. NTUC and I am just not sure if it is adequate.


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GSM8
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Re: question about private medical insurance for PR

Postby GSM8 » Thu, 18 May 2017 1:31 am

Strong Eagle wrote:The big kicker, IMHO, is that there is no overseas medical coverage. If you are an American, this is particularly acute, as there are a lot of global health policies that do provide coverage everywhere except the USA.

Indeed this is the case, SE. My Medisave linked IP does cover emergency and planned treatment overseas in line with coverage in Singapore, but limits the cost to Singapore private hospital rates. And that'll probably cover only a third of US medical cost (admittedly at 1/10 of the premium)

Strong Eagle wrote:I was EP before I was PR, and as an American, I chose a policy that let me come visit the USA for up to four weeks at a time... and I forget the number of times per year... perhaps 3?... and I would have full medical coverage while in the USA.

I also chose a policy that had repatriation benefits so that if I ended up with something like cancer, I would be repatriated back to the USA and my medical bills would be covered there.

I also got an evacuation insurance rider so that if I was in the middle of BumF*ck, Laos, and broke my neck, I'd be airlifted to the nearest qualified hospital.

The non-medisave linked insurance I was looking at does cover emergency overseas costs to the extent of coverage limits ($1 million) excluding pre-existing conditions at the time of policy start date (not trip start date), so this is the closest i can get to being reasonably covered if planning to travel to the US regularly

Strong Eagle wrote:Because I was travelling to the USA once or twice a year, I never considered in other supplemental policies to jig in with MediSave.

I plan on staying in Singapore, so the Medisave-supplement IP makes sense in my case. (Although i am not sure if the additional rider to the IP that the agent managed to sell me, does)

Strong Eagle wrote:One other alternative, which I provided to my employees who needed it, was comprehensive travel insurance which included medical care, evacuation, etc when out of Singapore.

This is a half-way alternative which costs under $500/year, but the pre-existing condition seems to apply to anything existing before the trip, so basically it excludes anything except things like auto accident, breaking a bone, food poisoning, developing sepsis etc. But I've read several cases where situations like heart attack, stroke or cancer was declined, saying it existed before the trip, even if it didn't exist at the time of initial policy start - I may not be fully informed on this one, but stating anecdotally.

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Re: question about private medical insurance for PR

Postby GSM8 » Thu, 18 May 2017 1:41 am

earthfriendly wrote:Hi GSM8, can I piggybacked onto your post, rather than starting a new post?

I have seen Singaporeans residing in USA having to admit their visiting elderly SG parents into US hospital (for stroke?) during their short tourist visit to USA. It was not covered by insurance and they ended up footing the entire bill out of their own pockets. Eileen was very fortunate as she was able to raise the money in a relatively short amount of time. Time is of essence here. Do you happen to know which travel (?) insurance my Singaporean relatives can purchase in Singapore before their visit to USA to avoid this scenario. I believe they mostly purchase the readily available ones e.g. NTUC and I am just not sure if it is adequate.


https://give.asia/movement/please_send_my_father_home


Earthfriendly, the situation you mentioned is indeed a difficult one, and something I've also seen a few times, especially with elderly parents visiting from Asia. Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be an easy way around it (see part of my response to SE). Any tripwise or travel insurance taken in Singapore will not cover such pre-existing conditions. But normal private medical insurance or Medisave linked IPs might, provided the policy has been in continuous force since clearly before the pre-existing condition arose.


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