With healthcare costs rising globally as well as here in Singapore, couples who are planning for parenthood are naturally concerned. While Singaporeans and permanent residents do enjoy subsidies for the cost of prenatal care like ultrasounds as well as the actual delivery, some parents-to-be are faced with unexpected situations during the prenatal and post-partum periods that could lead to expensive hospital and doctor bills.
To help address this, insurance companies have come up with pregnancy insurance policies that can ease the stress during such unforeseen circumstances. After all, the costs being covered really means one less thing to worry about during those trying moments. Let’s take a look at what they have to offer.
You can purchase pregnancy insurance policies that reimburse a range of medical expenses incurred for hospitalisation, diagnostic tests, outpatient treatments. Many have add-on options to cover maternity expenses, cases of miscarriage, delivery charges, and emergency Caesarean sections, premature births, as well as congenital defects. This will help to defray the cost left behind after Medisave deductions.
Perhaps the most important thing to note with these types of policies is that you typically need to buy the plan up to a year in advance of getting pregnant, which means long-term planning is necessary — great for couples who did the whole family planning ahead of time. For unexpected bundles of joy, this option may not work for you.
If you are making use of Assisted Reproduction Techniques to conceive, you’d be happy to know that there’s a policy, the AIA Family First Baby, that covers for conception through in-vitro fertilisation.
Still, with newer type of dedicated maternity plans on the market, ladies who did not purchase an pregnancy insurance plan with maternity coverage prior to finding themselves pregnant do not have to worry.
Many insurance companies in Singapore have rolled out plans that you can purchase, typically from as early as 18 weeks into your pregnancy. Great Eastern Life’s Flexi Maternity Cover boasts coverage from as early as 13 weeks.
When it was launched in June 2010, PruFirst Gift from Prudential Singapore was the first of its kind in the local insurance market to provide guaranteed protection for the child even while she is still in the mother’s womb. The plan has been well received since its launch as it effectively caters to the specific needs of mothers-to-be. Since then, other brands providing similar offerings include AIA Singapore’s Family First Baby, AXA’s Mum’s Advantage and Pacific Prime Singapore’s Maternity Insurance.
The plans protect both mum and yet-to-be-born baby (or babies – yes, twins too) and usually converts into an endowment policy for the child later on, giving her a head-start in life. Mothers are covered in case of a range of pregnancy complications and hospital care, or in the worst-case scenario of miscarriage.
Newborns are also protected in case of selected congenital illnesses, as well as hospital care. Both are also covered in case of critical illness, permanent disability and even death.
Again, take note that not all policies offer the same benefits. According to Corrine Tan, Vice President of Product Management at Prudential Singapore, “Some insurers will only pay out the benefit if the baby is admitted to the intensive care or high dependency units; Prudential will pay out the benefit if the newborn is afflicted with Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease.”
Parents can use their Medisave for prenatal medical consultations and ultrasounds, as well as delivery expenses, under the Medisave Maternity Package. Furthermore, a Medisave account is automatically created for each Singaporean newborn with a grant of $3,000 -– the first $1,500 to be received after the registration of their birth and the remaining half in the subsequent year, provided they remain enrolled in MediShield or a Medisave-approved Integrated Shield Plan. This grant can help parents defray the costs of their child’s MediShield premiums, as well as other healthcare expenses such as vaccinations.
What the Ladies Say
Just as no two pregnancies are exactly the same, mothers and mothers-to-be in Singapore also have different views on purchasing maternity or pregnancy insurance plans.
“I didn’t know that there was maternity insurance when I was expecting, but I don’t think I would have bought such a plan, because I believe in trusting my baby to God and to keep a positive outlook,” says Wong YY, a 39-year-old senior engineer and mother of two children aged five years and one year.
Executive financial consultant Yvonne Tey who is currently eight weeks pregnant has a different view. “Every child is a gift to us. Don’t take chances. If one is able to afford the most basic premium on the pregnancy plan, do it.” She had clients who chose to ‘save money’ and then ended up regretting it when their baby was born with congenital defects, resulting in massive hospital bills they didn’t need on top of the emotional heartache.
At the end of the day, the choice is yours to make. Please speak with your insurance agent to find what your options are, and what works best for you and your child-to-be, and your brand new family.