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How Much Health Insurance Will Cost You Over Your Lifetime

“Health is wealth” – so the saying goes, and as such, it makes sense that you’d want to protect your health as a key component of your assets. That’s where health insurance comes in, to ensure you have sufficient resources to get the treatment you need should you fall ill.

But how much health insurance do you need, and how much can you expect to pay as a result over your lifetime? We delve into the costs behind a robust healthcare plan.

Necessities of medical insurance

Comprehensive medical insurance comprises four parts, of which health insurance is one component. The illustration below gives an overall framework for what medical insurance should deliver for you.

In sum, comprehensive medical insurance should be able to cover hospitalisation bills and medical treatments, and replace your income should you not be able to work due to critical illness or disability.

Health insurance is a key aspect that covers your hospitalisation bills, surgeries and treatments, and certain outpatient treatments.

All Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents (PRs) are automatically enrolled into the compulsory health insurance plan MediShield Life upon birth or receiving their PR status. This health insurance plan is administered by the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board. This helps to cover large bills in subsidised B2/C wards in public hospitals, and selected outpatient treatments such as kidney dialysis and chemotherapy for cancer.

What is the annual cost of health insurance?

Should you be diagnosed with a serious ailment, you’ll want to be able to pay your hospital and treatment bills. In order to ensure this, there are three layers of financial protection you can consider, with the costs increasing as you age.

Apart from your age, the premiums payable using CPF MediSave and/or cash will also vary depending on the plan types you choose.

There is a limit on how much you can withdraw from your CPF MediSave to cover the premiums for enhanced coverage through the Integrated Shield Plan. The limits are set out in the table below.

Age group
Additional Withdrawal Limit (annually) per life insured
40 and belowS$300
41 to 70S$600
71 and aboveS$900

If the premium for the Integrated Shield Plan exceeds the additional withdrawal limit, you’ll need to pay the excess using cash.

How much will you pay in premiums over your lifetime?

The following illustrations will give you an understanding of how much the premiums for benefits under the Integrated Shield Plan – which allow you access to private or public hospitals – will cost you as you hit various age milestones.

This is based on the current premium rates across different insurers who are providing such health insurance plans. Take note that for these rates:

  • Premiums under the main plan are inclusive of the MediShield Life premiums
  • Premiums under the main plan will be payable using CPF MediSave unless the premium for the enhanced coverage exceeds the additional withdrawal limits

Based on age next birthday: 25

NTUC IncomePrudentialAXA
Enhanced IncomeShieldCash OutlayRider:
Deluxe Care
PRUShield PremierCash OutlayRider:
PRUExtra Premier CoPay
Shield Plan ACash OutlayRider:
Enhanced Care
S$438S$0S$500S$459S$0S$606S$435S$0S$314
Great EasternSinglife with AvivaRaffles
SupremeHealth P PLUSCash OutlayRider:
TotalCare Elite
MyShield Plan 1Cash OutlayRider:
MyHealthPlus Option C-II
Shield PrivateCash OutlayKey Rider
S$454S$0S$601S$482S$0S$669S$468S$0S$286
AIA
HealthShield Gold Max ACash OutlayRider:
AIA Max VitalHealth A*
S$479S$0S$540
*Without Emergency and Outpatient Care Booster option

Based on age next birthday: 35

IncomePrudentialAXA
Enhanced IncomeShield PreferredCash OutlayRider:
Deluxe Care
PRUShield PremierCash OutlayRider:
PRUExtra Premier CoPay
Shield Plan ACash OutlayRider:
Enhanced Care
S$676S$0S$632S$690S$27S$717S$682S$0S$374
Great EasternSinglife with AvivaRaffles
SupremeHealth P PLUSCash OutlayRider:
TotalCare Elite
MyShield Plan 1Cash OutlayRider:
MyHealthPlus Option C-II
Shield PrivateCash OutlayKey Rider
S$690S$22S$712S$690S$109S$765S$690S$39S$297
AIA
HealthShield Gold Max ACash OutlayRider:
AIA Max VitalHealth A*
S$690S$60S$598
*Without Emergency and Outpatient Care Booster option

Based on age next birthday: 45

IncomePrudentialAXA
Enhanced IncomeShield PreferredCash OutlayRider:
Deluxe Care
PRUShield PremierCash OutlayRider:
PRUExtra Premier CoPay
Shield Plan ACash OutlayRider:
Enhanced Care
S$1,125S$39S$819S$1,125S$54S$1,153S$1,125S$0S$386
Great EasternSinglife with AvivaRaffles
SupremeHealth P PLUSCash OutlayRider:
TotalCare Elite
MyShield Plan 1Cash OutlayRider:
MyHealthPlus Option C-II
Shield PrivateCash OutlayKey Rider
S$1,125S$49S$1,148S$1,125S$114S$919S$1,062S$0S$307
AIA
HealthShield Gold Max ACash OutlayRider:
AIA Max VitalHealth A*
S$1,125S$305S$740
*Without Emergency and Outpatient Care Booster option

Pro tip: Comprehensively compare the available Integrated Shield Plans using this breakdown

If we assume that there is no increase in premiums, and use the current rates to calculate the costs for someone who is turning 25 and expected to live until 85, how much in premiums can he or she expect to pay? The plan type will determine the total amount:

  • ‘Private or public hospitals’ plan type

Depending on the insurer, he or she will likely have to pay at least S$87,000 from CPF MediSave and between S$120,000 to almost S$280,000 in cash over his/her lifetime.

  • ‘Up to ‘A’ ward in public hospitals’ plan type

Depending on the insurer, he or she will likely have to pay at least S$75,000 from CPF MediSave and between S$37,000 to almost S$90,000 in cash.

Costs of common surgeries in private and public hospitals

Health insurance can help cover or lessen the costs of treatments that would otherwise add up to a hefty sum. We’ve listed examples of estimated bill sizes for common surgeries below. These costs are based on the 50th percentile actual transacted fees across the medical institutions based on information from the Ministry of Health.

Heart (expansion of blocked heart vessels)

Hospital/Ward Type
Total Estimated Cost
‘A’ Ward in Public Hospital
S$30,000 to S$50,000
Private Hospital
S$80,000 to S$110,000

Breast (removal of the entire breast, removal of cancerous growth with lymph node testing and/or removal)

Hospital/Ward Type
Total Estimated Cost
‘A’ Ward in Public HospitalS$20,000
Private Hospital
S$34,000 to S$65,000

Female reproductive tract (removal of fibroids and muscle from the uterus – keyhole surgery / complicated / >5cm)

Hospital/Ward Type
Total Estimated Cost
‘A’ Ward in Public HospitalS$26,000
Private HospitalS$58,000

Knee (joint replacement – simple / one side)

Hospital/Ward Type
Total Estimated Cost
‘A’ Ward in Public HospitalS$46,000
Private HospitalS$90,000

Eyes (cataract surgery, removal of lens implant – one side)

Hospital/Ward Type
Total Estimated Cost
‘A’ Ward in Public HospitalS$11,000
Private HospitalS$25,000

Male reproductive tract (removal of prostate gland – <30g)

Hospital/Ward Type
Total Estimated Cost
‘A’ Ward in Public HospitalS$18,000
Private HospitalS$42,000

For an idea of the out-of-pocket costs you might have to pay, this calculator by Mount Elizabeth hospital gives you estimates for common surgical procedures based on the kind of health insurance you have.

Hospitalisation bills can be astonishingly high, making health insurance a critical part of your overall protection plan. Apart from keeping yourself healthy and leading a balanced lifestyle, you should review your medical needs from time to time. Also remember to cater for the increasing premiums of your health insurance plan over the long run.

As part of your retirement planning, check that your passive income is sufficient to cover your medical needs, besides your lifestyle needs.

Read more: When Should You Start Planning for Retirement?

It is never too early to start planning for your retirement and ensuring that you have enough runway to accumulate wealth for future needs.

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