What is maternity insurance?
Expecting parents are probably no strangers to the idea of maternity insurance. Unlike health insurance, maternity insurance is not mandatory in Singapore. And while MediShield Life and the Integrated Shield plans provide some coverage for pregnancy complications and hospitalisation expenses, it may not be enough for more complex cases. Maternity insurance acts as a safety net to guarantee you peace of mind in these unexpected scenarios.
Expectant mothers between 13 and 36 weeks of pregnancy can purchase maternity insurance. You will pay the same premium whether you purchase the policy at the 13th week or 36th week mark. For this reason, buying the policy as soon as possible is recommended to ensure you benefit from a longer period of coverage.
Not sure where to start? This guide contains everything you need to know about which plan you should get.
Types of plans available
Maternity insurance comes in many forms. Apart from varied premiums, there are also differences in the coverage offered. You should note, however, that in the event of a successful pregnancy, premiums will not be returned (i.e., there will be no pay-outs).
Generally, the following should be covered in your maternity insurance plan:
- Pregnancy complications
- High blood pressure
- Gestational diabetes
- Premature pregnancies
- Mental and hospitalisation expenditure
- If mother is warded due to pregnancy related complications
- Birth defects
- Congenital heart disease
- Cleft lip/palate
- Club foot
- Missing/underdeveloped limbs
- Down syndrome
There are three main kinds of plans namely standalone, bundled and worldwide health plans. The table below shows their coverage at a glance.
|Maternity related outpatient consultations
|Pregnancy or delivery complications
|Guaranteed insurance coverage for new-born
|Worldwide health plan with maternity cover
Standalone plans are plans that just contain the maternity rider. They start coverage as early as the 13th week of pregnancy, and premiums have to be paid just once.
Coverage for the mother usually includes 10 to 19 pregnancy complications, hospital care benefit of 1% to 2% of sum assured for up to 30 days, and 8 to 24 hospital conditions.
Coverage for the baby includes death, 23 to 26 congenital illnesses, 6 to 17 juvenile conditions, hospital care benefit of 1% to 2% of sum assured for up to 30 days, and 8 to 24 hospital conditions, and developmental delay.
Bundled plans mean that another plan has to be purchased on top of the maternity rider. Coverage starts with the maternity rider. Premiums are paid over the duration of the term agreed (which is normally more than 10 years).
If the base plan is life insurance, there is the option to transfer the life insurance policy to the child after birth. In the event that the child or foetus dies, the accompanying whole life or investment-linked insurance policy (ILP) will still be payable. The maternity policy will continue to cover the mother.
In Singapore, several insurance providers provide maternity insurance, including Great Eastern, Prudential, Manulife, Income, AIA, Singlife and HSBC Life. Each provider offers different plans with varying coverage, allowing you to choose according to your preferences.
The maternity rider will usually provide coverage for 3 to 4 years. The mother’s entry age can range from 18 to 45, and the sum assured can range from S$3,000 to S$30,000. Additionally, Prudential, AIA and HSBC Life offer guaranteed whole life coverage for the newborn without any medical underwriting required.
For an in-depth comparison of the insurance providers, check out our Maternity Insurance Comparison Page.
A breakdown of the premiums for the three types of plans is presented below:
|Premium (For age 30)
|Worldwide health plan, excluding USA, with maternity cover
|At least 10 months before delivery (Before getting pregnant)
S$10,917/year x 2 as your spouse must be covered
|Standalone maternity plan
|13th week of pregnancy
|~S$750 Single time
|Bundled maternity plan
|13th week of pregnancy
|~S$750 Single time for Maternity rider + S$1,300/year for 20 years limited pay whole life plan
As seen in the table, the worldwide health plan is the priciest option, with premiums costing upwards of S$20,000. Additionally, the eligibility criteria requires potential clients to purchase the plan before they get pregnant. This means that you would have to be certain to get pregnant after purchasing the plan, otherwise you would have to pay the premiums again the following year.
Standalone plans require one-time premiums, amounting to roughly S$750 for females aged 30. These are a good fit for individuals who are uncertain that they need a whole life insurance policy for their child, or find bundled plans too expensive. On the other hand, bundled plans, while pricier, are a good choice for parents eager to secure a whole life plan for their child.
Is maternity insurance right for me?
If you are still uncertain about whether maternity insurance is something you need, this section could be helpful. We provide a few scenarios that illustrate the benefits that maternity insurance offers, to ensure you reach a more informed decision.
Scenario A: Baby has congenital illness
The Ministry of Health reports that about 30 newborns had birth defects for every 1,000 live births in Singapore. In the event that your newborn has a birth defect, such as a cleft lip, for example, MediShield Life will not cover the cost of the surgery.
However, with maternity insurance, the cost of surgeries can be covered. For instance, Great Eastern maternity insurance plans cover 26 congenital illnesses in children. The congenital benefit payout is between S$5,000 to S$10,000 and you would receive 100% of the sum assured, if your newborn is diagnosed with any of the 26 covered illnesses.
Scenario B: Emergency caesarean section (C-section) due to early delivery
According to Singhealth, up to 30% of women in labour require an emergency c-section or assisted vaginal delivery. The Ministry of Health reports that in a private hospital, C-section deliveries can cost up to S$19,917. In contrast, a normal birth would cost up to S$11,721.
MediShield Life and Integrated Shield Plans do provide some coverage for emergency C-sections, but these must be a result of limited medical conditions. Additionally, they do not offer any cash payouts for emergency C-sections.
It can also be costly to cover this unexpected expenditure. In other words, the additional expense would have to be completely out of pocket. The HSBC Life EmpoweredMum plan, however, provides 15% of the sum assured in case of an early C-section delivery.
Scenario C: Mother’s health deteriorates during pregnancy
It is common for a mother’s health to deteriorate during pregnancy. In the event that she develops gestational diabetes, for example, she might find it hard to purchase a new plan without this exclusion. With a bundled maternity insurance plan, the mother has the option of keeping the base plan for herself. For the infant, parents always have the option to purchase a fresh policy to provide coverage.
Scenario D: Premature birth
The World Health Organisation estimates that 5% to 18% of babies across the world are born before their due date. Premature babies are often at risk of health problems, and may be required to stay at a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Daily room charges alone at the NICU can cost up to S$725, depending on the condition the baby is in. This is excluding costs for check-ups and medicine.
Maternity insurance also helps parents guard against additional expenses that come from premature births. For example, the Prudential maternity insurance plans provide hospital care benefits, which allows you to receive 2% of the sum assured a day, for up to 25 days of hospitalisation against 8 conditions such as premature birth and more.
The bottom line
Maternity insurance in Singapore serves as a crucial safety net for expectant parents, offering financial protection in unforeseen circumstances during pregnancy. Whether it’s covering congenital illnesses, emergency C-sections, or addressing complications, the right maternity insurance plan can provide peace of mind.
The key to a well-prepared parenthood journey lies in informed decision-making. Take the time to compare plans, understand the coverage details, and choose an option that aligns with your family’s unique needs. Maternity insurance isn’t just about childbirth; it’s an investment in the well-being of both mother and child.
For personalised maternity insurance quotes tailored to your needs, Planner Bee is here to help you. Take the first step towards securing a worry-free pregnancy journey.
Get your free, customisable maternity quotations here.