Health insurance is vital to protect yourself from unexpected illnesses and injuries.
There are two main types of health coverage in Singapore: Critical Illness (CI) Insurance and Hospitalisation Insurance. Many people confuse the two since they both can cover medical bills.
If you do not know what CI insurance is and how it complements hospitalisation insurance, here’s our guide.
What does each policy cover?
While both hospitalisation and CI policies cover you when there is a medical emergency, they serve different purposes, and their payouts vary as well.
Here is a comparison:
|Insurance Policy||Hospitalisation Insurance||Critical Illness Insurance|
|What it offers||Reimburses medical bills||Lump sum payout upon diagnosis of illnesses|
|Purpose of the plan||Covers the costs of hospitalisation, and cancer and kidney treatments||Provides a source of income while you recuperate|
|Geographical coverage||Most plans are limited to the country.|
E.g. Integrated Shield plans only covers Singapore and overseas treatments during short-term trips
|Examples of policies||● Integrated Shield plans|
● Hospital Cash plans
● International Medical plans
|● Term plans|
● Whole Life plans with critical illness rider
Read more: How different insurance policies work for varying medical situations
Which policy should you buy first?
Always get hospitalisation insurance first. At the very least, you need to be able to pay off any medical bills if you end up in hospital.
Hospitalisation insurance covers both minor and major illnesses, and injuries, as long as you are warded or undergo day surgery.
Check how much coverage you would need with our calculator here.
Do note that Integrated Shield Plans do not have outpatient General Practitioner (GP) or Specialist (SP) coverage.
For outpatient claims, you can check with your company employee benefits about your coverage, or you can buy an International Health plan.
Why do I need CI Insurance too?
CI coverage complements major and long-term treatments. Most illnesses require initial hospitalisation, but some require you to continue treatment while you recover at home.
These medical expenses cannot be claimed under a hospitalisation plan. CI insurance fills that gap.
It helps to replace any loss of income if the person cannot work while they undergo treatment.
The lump sum payout from a CI policy is usually able to cover a patient’s expenses for a few years.
Flexibility to adjust your payout
There are a variety of CI plans depending on the insurer. Some may cover more critical illnesses than the average, although these would likely command higher premiums.
CI plans can be either standalone policies or tied to your life insurance policy as a supplementary plan.
The good thing about a CI plan is its flexibility. You can use the payout however you wish. A hospitalisation plan can only be used to cover your medical expenses.
These are some ways you can use a CI policy’s payout:
- Make up for lost income from work
- Pay for rehabilitation and long-term care expenses such as medication, treatment, hiring caregivers or nurses, or purchasing medical equipment
- Protect yourself from using your savings or retirement funds
- Pay for regular household expenses
- Look after your dependents while you recover
The best time to buy a CI plan is when you are young, fit, and have no existing medical conditions as the premiums are lower and nearly all insurers will accept your application. You will also be completely covered without any exclusions.
Both hospitalisation and CI insurance are crucial to protect us from high and unexpected fees.
You should have both. They offer you and your loved ones a safety net if there is ever a medical emergency.
If you can afford it, make sure the rest of your family is also covered by both types of insurance, as you never know who will fall ill.
If you are unsure which CI plan to get, speak to a trusted financial consultant, or you can always reach out to us at email@example.com for more advice.