Complete Guide To Buying A Private Integrated Shield Plan

This article first appeared on DollarsAndSense.sg

When it comes to health insurance, one of the most important health insurance policies that all Singaporeans and Permanent Residents (PRs) should consider getting is a private integrated shield plan.

A private integrated shield plan (IP) helps policyholders cover any potential cost that may be incurred if they are hospitalised, either in public or private hospitals.

A private integrated shield plan comprises of two components. The first is MediShield Life. All Singaporeans and PRs are automatically covered under MediShield Life, Singapore’s basic health insurance plan. Coverage is provided regardless of age or pre-existing conditions.

The main limitation with MediShield Life is that coverage provided will be pegged to the expected treatment cost in Class B2 or C wards in public hospital. What this means is that if a patient chooses to be admitted to a higher-class ward in a public hospital, or in a private hospital, the pay-out provided by MediShield Life is likely to only be a fraction of the total bill.

To ensure coverage is provided for higher-class public hospital wards or at private hospitals, Singapore residents can choose to upgrade their existing MediShield Life to an Integrated Shield Plan.

Different Types Of Integrated Shield Plan

Coverage for integrated shield plans can be grouped into three different types.

Standard Integrated Shield Plan (Standard IP)

Standard IP provides coverage for policyholders for Class B1 wards at public hospitals. Benefits provided by the Standard IP are identical across all IP insurers.

Class A Plans

Class A plans provide coverage for policyholders for Class A wards at public hospitals. Benefits provided by the plan may differ from insurers.

Private Hospital Plans

Private hospital plans provide coverage for policyholders at private hospitals. Similar to Class A plans, benefits provided may differ from insurers.

Coverage Provided By Integrated Shield Plan

As mentioned above, benefits provided by Standard IP plans are identical across all insurers while benefits provided for private hospitals and Class A plans may differ among insurers.

In general, here are the different types of coverage one can expect.

Inpatient & Day Surgery: This includes daily ward, treatment cost and surgery

Outpatient Treatment: This includes treatment for kidney dialysis, cancer treatment and chemotherapy

Pre & Post Hospital Treatment: This covers the cost of any related treatments that are incurred before or after the hospitalisation stay.

* To find out more about the benefits provided by the Standard IP, please refer to MOH comparison here.

** To find out more about the benefits provided for Class A wards, please refer to MOH comparison here.

*** To find out more about the benefits provided for Private Hospital plans, please refer to MOH comparison here.

Who Are The Different Insurers?

As the name suggests, private integrated shield plans are offered by private insurers. Today, there are a total of six insurers that offer these private insurance plans. They are:

AIA: AIA HealthShield Gold Max

Aviva: Aviva MyShield

AXA: AXA Shield

Great Eastern: Supreme Health

Income: IncomeShield

Prudential: PruShield

Except for Standard IPs, exact benefits and premiums across the various private insurers differ slightly.

Besides choosing the plan which provides you with the most extensive coverage, policyholders should also be mindful about the premiums that they will be paying. This applies not just to what they are paying today, but also its affordability over the long-term.

Paying For Your Integrated Shield Plans Premiums

Similar to MediShield Life, annual premiums for your private integrated shield plans can be paid for using your Medisave.

However, unlike MediShield Life premiums, which can be paid fully using your Medisave, there is a cap to how much Singapore residents can use from their Medisave account to pay for the premium for their private integrated shield plan.

The amount they are able to use from their Medisave to pay for their private integrated shield plan, also known as the Additional Withdrawal Limits, are as follows.

However, do take note of the withdrawals limits.

Medishield withdrawal limit

For example, if the premium for the private integrated shield plan is $375 and the individual is 35 years old, he will be able to use $300 from his Medisave to pay for his premiums and will need a cash outlay of just $75.

As a person grows older, annual premiums for private integrated shield plans will naturally increase. This increase reflects the situation that older people are more likely to require hospitalisation and treatment as compared to younger folks.

Buying A Rider

Similar to MediShield Life, coverage provided at higher-class wards does not mean hospitalisation bills are fully paid for. All integrated shield plans still include deductibles and co-insurance.

In the past, if you want complete coverage so that you do not have to pay for any deductibles and co-insurance, you have the option of purchasing a separate rider that can fully cover all hospitalisation bills incurred.

In March 2018, the Ministry of Health announced that all new integrated shield plan riders will have to incorporate a co-payment of at least 5%. However, this applies only to new integrated shield plan riders. Existing integrated shield plan with full riders will not be affected.

Moving forward, riders will have a minimum co-payment of 5% but are likely subjected to an annual cap of $3,000.

For example, if you incur a hospitalisation bill of $15,000, a 5% co-payment will mean having to fork out $750, with the remaining $14,250 being covered by the private integrated shield plan.

To find out more about the changes to shield plan riders, you can read this article about 5 facts about the latest integrated shield plan changes that Singaporeans need to know about.

DollarsAndSense.sg is a personal finance website that aim to help Singaporeans make better financial decision.

Been doing lots of research, but not sure who to engage to take the final step? Look no further! fundMyLife connects you to credible and incredible financial advisers privately and anonymously, based on the financial planning questions that you ask. We aim to empower Singaporeans to make financial decisions confidently.

Follow us on our fundMyLife Facebook page to get exciting updates and your dose of finance knowledge! Alternatively, the Insurance Discussion SG Facebook group is a good place to discuss insurance-related topics with fellow Singaporeans.

Ask fML Advisers: What Are The Most Common Questions On Integrated Shield Plans?

fML advisers share the most common questions on integrated shield plans

[5 min read]

MediShield Life is a national health insurance scheme that protects all citizens and PRs regardless of economic status and health to cope with large hospital bills. They can also purchase Integrated Shield Plans as an upgrade to their basic plan to stay in higher class wards. We had the impression that there is plenty to add on top of our previous piece on the most common misconceptions about Integrated Shield Plans. As such, in this article fundMyLife asks another three of its financial advisers – Michelle Ngiam from Great Eastern, Roshan Belani from AIA, and Melvin Liu from Manulife – about the most common questions on Integrated Shield Plans.

Michelle Ngiam, Great Eastern

Michelle Ngiam, Great Eastern
Michelle Ngiam, Great Eastern

#1 Do I still have to pay for MediShield Life when I purchase an Integrated Shield Plan?

Yes, an Integrated Shield Plan is an upgrade of MediShield Life. Therefore, MSHL is still embedded within the IP. By paying the premium to the private insurer, you are actually paying for 2 components – MediShield Life premium and private insurance company premium. CPF still deducts the MSHL premium from your payment.

#2 I already have MediShield Life. Why do I need to purchase an Integrated Shield Plan?

MediShield Life will provide coverage for your large hospital bills in Class B2/C wards in government hospitals. If you prefer to seek treatment in Class A/B1 or in private hospitals, MediShield Life will not be able to cover the bill fully, leading to you forking out more from your MediSave account or cash.

Therefore, by upgrading your MSHL with an Integrated Shield Plan, you have the choice to cover all the way up to private hospitals. This allows you to have the option to go to any ward of your choice.

#3 Will the premiums increase once I purchase an Integrated Shield Plan?

Yes, generally premiums will increase as you get older. However, there are also a few factors at play here.

Firstly, it depends on how the insurance companies price their premiums. Most insurers also use an age-band premium scheme like MediShield Life. For example, if you are 35 years old, you will be paying the same premium as the rest of the people insured within the same age band of 31 to 40 years old. The premium will increase once you enter the next age band (in this example, 41 to 50 years old).

Secondly, they are affected by government policies regarding health insurance in Singapore. In 2015 when the government upgraded MediShield to MediShield Life (MSHL), the premiums were also increased with added benefits. With the upgrade of MSHL, insurance companies had to reprice their plans to cover the new premiums of MSHL, with enhanced benefits for better overall coverage.

Lastly, how the claims experience for the insurer has been like. In recent years, many insurers have faced rising claims and it has affected the premiums leading to premium hikes. The increases were largely focused on plans covering private hospital treatments and stays.

Roshan Belani, AIA

Roshan from AIA
Roshan Belani, AIA

#1 Am I covered for overseas treatment?

The answer is both yes and no. For most integrated shield plans, overseas treatment is only covered if it is deemed to be an emergency. At best, even if a plan allows for general overseas coverage, the benefit payable is still limited to the level of Reasonable and Customary charges in a Singapore private hospital. With this limit, say if a surgery in the US cost $20,000, had the same surgery been performed in a private hospital in Singapore at $10,000, then the claimable amount would only be based on the customary charges in Singapore, which is $10,000 in this example.

As such, it is important to determine whether overseas coverage is necessary. For most who are working in Singapore, shield plans generally provide good level of coverage for the individual based here. However, for those who are working or studying overseas, having a global plan or even a plan that is available in that country will be a great complement to the shield plan. The shield plan should still be active in case the individual decides to come home to Singapore for various reasons such as finding a job, starting a family or even retirement.

#2 Am I covered for pregnancy?

This is a question commonly asked by first-time mothers as they prepare themselves for the cost of pregnancy. To be very clear from the beginning, a pregnancy without complications with straight forward procedures will not be covered under a integrated shield plan. This is because there was no ‘risk’ or incident that required protection from per se and thus, the bill would not be reimbursed. However, should pregnancy complications arise during the pregnancy, and if it falls within the definitions as stated in the integrated shield plan, the bill would be reimbursed accordingly.

Of course there are maternity insurance plans out there that provide cover for even normal deliveries and prenatal consultations. However, they are in addition to the integrated shield plan and generally cost much higher premiums.

#3 Does the plan cover me for outpatient treatments?

Again, the answer is yes and no. For outpatient treatments, they are claimable only under two conditions: 1) Treatments and consultations eventually lead to confinement in the Hospital for hospitalisation or a surgery being done and 2) falls within the allowed number of days for pre & post hospitalisation benefit. Both conditions must be met and if either one fails, the outpatient treatments is not claimable.

To give an example of how condition 1) might not be met, an individual who fractured his foot was referred to a specialist but was told that no hospitalisation or surgery was necessary. Consultations and treatment costs for its healing would not be covered since the individual did not have to stay in the hospital or require a surgery.

To give an example of how condition 2) might not be met, an individual recalled having seen a specialist about 4 months (120 days) from his hospitalisation. His integrated shield plan only allowed for 100 days for pre-hospitalisation treatment. As the number of days exceeded the allowable limit (120>100), the consultation and treatment that day would not be reimbursed.

Melvin Liu, Manulife

Melvin Liu's picture
Melvin Liu, Manulife

#1 Can my hospital plan cover me for scope procedures (eg. colonscopy / endoscopy etc)?

Colonscopy/endoscopy (and similar procedures) are considered as a day surgery procedure and  will be covered under shield plans. However, it’s important to note that this will depend on whether its a routine check-up or whether it is ordered by your doctor during a consultation. It may not be covered if it is simply a health screening.

#2 Can my shield plan cover me if I am hospitalized overseas?

Overseas cover generally apply to emergency hospitalization, and for some insurers, benefits may allow for pre-arranged overseas inpatient treatment which is pre-approved by the insurer. It is best to buy additional travel insurance if going overseas.

[Editor note: We wrote something about personal accident plans when you travel overseas, so you should check that out too]

#3 I recall I have bought a hospital plan, but I can’t remember which insurance company I bought from or what plan I bought. How do I check?

You can login to your CPF account under: My Messages > Healthcare > MediShield Life/ Integrated Shield Plan. From there you should be able to see which company is your insurer. You can contact your insurer to find out the details of your plan.

fundMyLife Summary

Michelle provided the rundown on common consumer concerns on getting Integrated Shield Plans, such as what it is and whether premiums will increase. Roshan explained that Integrated Shield Plans do not cover normal pregnancies, but will kick into effect when there are complications that occur during pregnancy. He also shared that Integrated Shield Plan claims for outpatient treatments can be a bit complicated, as it depends on whether the outpatient treatment results in hospitalization/surgery and that the outpatient treatment fell within a stipulated time frame from hospitalization. Both Roshan and Melvin wrote about whether Integrated Shield Plans will help when the consumer is overseas – they both recommend that it’s wiser to get travel insurance when travelling. Melvin cautions that endoscope procedures is covered if it is ordered by a doctor, but a routine checkup is not covered. He also gave advice on how to check which company the consumer bought the Integrated Shield Plan, by going to the CPF website.

Conclusion

That’s all folks! We hope this article shed a bit more light into the most commonly asked questions on Integrated Shield Plans. If you’ve more queries on the plan or are considering to get insurance but don’t know who to ask, head on to our main site and ask our curated pool of financial advisers! Alternatively, if you’d like to connect with either  Michelle Ngiam from Great Eastern, Roshan Belani from AIA, or Melvin Liu from Manulife, just click on the link in their names and you can ask them questions directly from their profile pages.

Been doing lots of research, but not sure who to engage to take the final step? Look no further! fundMyLife connects you to credible and incredible financial advisers privately and anonymously, based on the financial planning questions that you ask. We aim to empower Singaporeans to make financial decisions confidently.

Follow us on our fundMyLife Facebook page to get exciting updates and your dose of finance knowledge! Alternatively, the Insurance Discussion SG Facebook group is a good place to discuss insurance-related topics with fellow Singaporeans.

Top 9 Reasons Why Singaporeans Land In Hospitals

Top reasons why Singaporeans land in hospitals

Have you ever wondered why Singaporeans land in hospitals? We can look to data for that. However, medical data in many countries can be sparse at best, opaque at worst. Fortunately for us Singaporeans, data is plenty and often available readily. We here over at fundMyLife love data, and what better to explore this passion by going through the hospital bill data provided by the Ministry of Health?

In the handy Excel sheet from the MOH website, there are a total of 155 condition/procedures in the list, capturing hospital bills between 2016 and 2017. While immensely useful, it can be somewhat overwhelming, chock full of data. In this article, fundMyLife distills the list and examines the top 7 reasons (in no particular order) why Singaporeans land in hospitals.

#1 Anus, Surgical removal of haemorrhoids (Haemorrhoidectomy) – 10,180 cases

We start this list with the end. Of our bodies, that is. Haemorrhoids, also known as piles, are swollen veins in the rectum and/or anus. Haemorrhoids are a literal pain in the ass, causing plenty of discomfort when you sit or when you’re pooing. In the worst case scenario, the swell results in a visible clot that requires surgery for removal. Most cases are mild, and can be treated without surgery. To prevent this, make sure you eat plenty of fibre so that you have soft stools and don’t need to strain during bowel movements.

#2 Childbirth – 40,157 cases

In the list, we found two different reasons for hospitalization under the category of Childbirth. There’s antenatal care (6,548), where a mother is admitted into the hospital due to problems during pregnancy. For example, abnormal bleeding or tests and monitoring that requires an overnight stay. The second reason is the childbirth itself, where mothers either do it naturally (22,628) and Caesarean (10,981). We note that twice the number of mothers choose natural childbirth rather than Caesarean (ouch).

#3 Newborn, Normal Baby – 25,391 cases

According to the list, almost 2/3 of the children born in hospitals require hospital stay, assuming each case in #2 results in one child. Even if the child is healthy, they sometimes require observation overnight (15,202). There are many reasons for this. If the baby releases his/her bowels before birth, he/she will be swimming in amniotic fluid with the stool. While most babies are ok despite that, they are observed for any possible infection for 24 hours.

Mothers who carry Group B Streptococcus in their vagina receive antibiotics childbirth, but the baby will undergo observation for any possible infection. In addition, if the mother’s water broke longer than 24 hours before the child’s birth, the baby is at risk of developing infection in the lungs which requires observation. If the baby’s weight is lower than average, the baby may require observation for possible health concerns.

Another main reason for a normal baby requiring overnight stay is neonatal jaundice (10,189), caused by high levels of bilirubin – broken red blood cells that causes yellowing in eyes and skin. During the stay, the baby undergoes phototherapy, a treatment that exposes him/her to florescent light that the skin absorbs to help break down bilirubin to a more harmless form.

#4 Eye, Cataract Surgery – 46,142 cases

As you age, there is a chance of your lens clouding up that turns your lens opaque. Symptoms of cataracts involve generally poor vision and trouble with seeing light, which really reduces your quality of life. Diabetics and smokers are more likely to develop cataracts. At over 46,000 cases in a year, it’s indeed one of the more common ailments people face in Singapore. The only way to treat this is to remove the cloudy lens and replacing it with artificial lens to restore vision.

#5 Intestine/Stomach, Gastroenteritis (Diarrhoea) – 14,857 cases

Did you know that you can get hospitalized for shitting too much? Neither did we, until a very good friend of one of our members was warded for non-stop diarrhea. While it sounds funny, we assure you that it is anything but. Gastroenteritis refers to the inflammation of the intestine and stomach, usually caused by bacterial toxins or viral infection. Symptoms typically involve expulsion of liquid from your body via non-stop vomiting and/or diarrhea. This is often accompanied by fever and dehydration. Fortunately, mortality in Singapore for severe diarrhea is low, requiring constant hydration.

#6 Intestine/Stomach, Endoscopy for gastrointestinal bleeding (Day Surgery) – 45,006 cases

Endoscopy is a commonly performed procedure to examine your upper digestive system, i.e. oesophagus, stomach and small intestine. It involves putting a long tube with a camera attached to one end called an endoscope into your mouth, where it will travel through your body. We lumped two procedures together, 1) Intestine/Stomach, Endoscopy for gastrointestinal bleeding (25,547) with 2) Stomach, Gastroscopy (Day Surgery) (19,459) since they are similar procedures but for different parts of the body.

Endoscopy helps to image parts of your insides to discover causes for symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, pain in the abdomen, and gastrointestinal bleeding. It’s a day surgery because doctors will give you anesthesia before the endoscope inside your mouth.

#8 Intestine, Colonoscopy (Day Surgery) – 20,747

While the scope went in through the mouth for endoscopy, in colonoscopy the doctor inserts the scope from the opposite end. Doctors use colonoscopy to diagnose possible colon cancer and bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease, polyps, and ulcerative colitis.

#9 Respiratory Tract, Upper respiratory tract infections (URTI) – 29,824

URTI refers to the infections of upper respiratory tract, including middle ear infections and allergic rhinitis. It is a very broad category as the respiratory tract involves several body parts, e.g., nose, nasal cavity, pharynx, and larynx. Common symptoms include nasal discharge, congestion, sneezing, sore throat. Sounds familiar? It’s the ordinary cold and cases like allergy. However, sometimes the cold can so bad that the patient checks him/herself into the ward for observation. Interestingly, a large number of the cases come from KKH, implying that most of these patients are relatively young.

Conclusion

That’s all folks! That was a lot of cases of hospitalization in one year. We hope this article was informative, and you found the reasons why Singaporeans land in hospitals useful in anticipating future possible ailments (touch wood). If you have any more questions on MediShield Life and Integrated Shield Plans, why not ask our curated pool of trusted financial advisers?

Been doing lots of research, but not sure who to engage to take the final step? Look no further! fundMyLife connects you to credible and incredible financial advisers privately and anonymously, based on the financial planning questions that you ask. We aim to empower Singaporeans to make financial decisions confidently.

Follow us on our fundMyLife Facebook page to get exciting updates and your dose of finance knowledge! Alternatively, the Insurance Discussion SG Facebook group is a good place to discuss insurance-related topics with fellow Singaporeans.

A Guide To Student Loan Repayment

Student loan repayment guide

Written by Qiu Yiming, edited by Jackie Tan.

Many students in Singapore take up loans for the purpose of financing their higher education. This makes student loans fundamentally different from other consumer loans, which are made by households to purchase goods that would be consumed immediately. Taking student loan is, in some way, more similar to an investment – it helps borrowers to to gain knowledge and skills through their university education, which would enable them to perform better and gain higher earnings in the future.

Similar to all investment activities, taking student loans involves giving up resources and exposure to risks. Upon graduation, borrowers will face a substantial amount of debt, accumulated during the years of studies which has to be repaid regularly together with interest. Most students would want to repay the loans as soon as possible. After all, the longer you take to repay the loan, the more interest would be incurred, and the more you have to pay in the end. However, before you put all your extra salary into loan repayment, here are five considerations to make so you can make the best decision.

#1 How much money you need monthly to have a decent standard of living?

The first thing you need to consider is your monthly living expenses, which are the money you need to spend on necessities so as to have a decent standard of living. You can calculate this by referring to your past spending history, and make adjustments based on any changes your plan to make. The table below is a guide for you to calculate your monthly living expenses: 

Table for expense calculation
Example of a table you can set up to sum up your expenses.

#2 How much salary do you take home monthly?

After calculating how much you need to live, you also need to know how much you take home and how much you are left with. Your monthly take-home pay is calculated by subtracting your CPF contribution from your monthly salary, which is 20% and is up to a maximum of $1,200 per month.

Table that you can set up to calculate your take home pay. Remember: 20% of your monthly salary, and at the max of $1,200/month

#3 Saving for emergency situations

It is always important for you to have some savings for emergency situations. This way, you will be financially prepared to deal with unforeseen circumstances in the future. You may also consider other factors, such as whether your parents would lend you money should emergency situations arise, when deciding on how much you need to save. That said, you should not count on your parents to lend you money.

How much money you’ve left after putting money into savings

#4 Calculate your loan repayment period under different scenarios

The earlier you repay the loan, the less interest you incur, and the less you need to pay in total. There is, however, a tradeoff between your total loan repayment amount and your living standard. You either choose to take longer time and spend more on loan repayment while maintaining a decent living standard, or take shorter time and spend less on loan repayment, with little to spend on your other activities. To find the right balance, you can calculate and compare loan repayment period under different scenarios.

Here is a formula you can use to calculate your repayment period:

Seems daunting, but it’s a relatively simple equation.

PV (present value) is the total amount of debt you have; PMT (payment) is the monthly loan repayment you plan to make; I (interest) is the monthly effective interest rate; N is the total number of months you need to repay your loan. 

Simply insert your PV and I values, and try out different PMT values to obtain N. You can play around with the figures until you find something acceptable. 

There are several loan calculators out there; we used the loan calculator in this website: https://www.thecalculatorsite.com/finance/calculators/loancalculator.php)

#5 What is your personal preference?

Some people just dislike debt. The feeling of owing someone something adds psychological burden on them so it is better for them to repay their debt as soon as possible. If you are one of those people, consider a larger amount of monthly loan repayment (PMT), so you will have a smaller total number of payments (N) and get rid of your debt in a shorter period. If, however, you belong to the group of people who regard happiness and high living standard as very important, and do not mind holding debt for a long period of time, you may want to have a smaller monthly loan repayment, giving yourself extra money to spend on other activities. Do note that the longer you take to repay the loan, the more interest would be incurred on interest due to compounding effect, and the total amount you have to pay to get rid of debt may increase a lot in the end.

Debt is not always a bad thing. Student loans are investments in human capital and may be necessary for you to find good jobs. The repayment of student loans do create headache for some. To have a bigger picture and to make the most suitable choice, ask yourself these five questions when making your loan repayment plan!

If you have any more questions on personal finance and loans, why not ask our curated pool of trusted financial advisers?

Been doing lots of research, but not sure who to engage to take the final step? Look no further! fundMyLife connects you to credible and incredible financial advisers privately and anonymously, based on the financial planning questions that you ask. We aim to empower Singaporeans to make financial decisions confidently.

Follow us on our fundMyLife Facebook page to get exciting updates and your dose of finance knowledge! Alternatively, the Insurance Discussion SG Facebook group is a good place to discuss insurance-related topics with fellow Singaporeans.

How Personal Accident Plans In Singapore Work

How Personal Accident Plans Work

This article first appeared on DollarsAndSense.sg

When compared to other insurance types such as life and critical illness policies, personal accident plans are generally less well understood by consumers.

In this article, we will explain what exactly personal accident plans are, and how they help give us added protection in our lives.

What Are Personal Accident Plans?

Simply put, personal accident plans are a type of general insurance that provides policyholders with financial support in the event of an unfortunate accident occurring. Payouts are either in the form of a reimbursement basis, based on medical expenses incurred, or a lump-sum payout, depending on the type of injuries sustained.

For example, in the event of a permeant loss of a limp due to an accident, a personal accident plan will provide the policyholder with a lump-sum payout.

Beyond permeant injuries sustained, medical expenses are also covered under most personal accident plans on a reimbursement basis. The total amount that is claimable depends on the coverage limit. Expenses that can be claimed from include surgical, hospital or even Chinese physician expenses.

It’s important to note that personal accident plans differ from life and health insurance as coverage provided is only meant for injuries and treatments which arises due to an accident. This is in contrast to life and health insurance, which provides coverage regardless of the circumstances which lead to death, illness or injuries, be it accidental or natural.

This is why personal accident plans are usually regarded as a useful complement to other existing insurance policies that a person may already have, and not a substitute.

Coverage Provided By Personal Accident Plans

In general, here are the types of coverage that you can get from a personal accident plan.

# 1 Death Benefit

This refers to accidental death, and not natural death.

# 2 Permanent & Partial Disability

Similar to death benefit, this is payable if caused by an accident.

# 3 Income Benefit

This is payable if the policyholder is 1) gainfully employed at the time of the injury and 2) unable to work due to the injury. Benefit are usually paid on a weekly basis.

# 4 Medical Expenses

Most personal accident plans will cover medical expenses incurred up to a certain limit.

# 5 Daily Hospital Benefit

This is payable if you are hospitalized due to the accident. Unlike income benefit, you do not need to be employed to receive this.

Do note that the coverage highlighted above may not be applicable for all personal accident plans. It’s also a non-exhaustive list and that there might be other coverage provided by your personal accident plans beyond what is listed. If you are intending to buy a personal accident plan, we suggest that you look through in details the areas that are covered.

Why Consider A Personal Accident Plan?

Not all consumers may see a personal accident plan as being essential. Some consumers may already enjoy coverage from their company’s group insurance plan. Some occupations and lifestyle would also require a higher degree of coverage as they are generally deemed as riskier.

This article from fundMyLife helps explain 5 things you should consider before buying a personal accident plan.

Even if you think you are adequately insured, there are still merits to getting a personal accident plan if you wish to enjoy a higher level of insurance protection.

For a start, even with a hospitalization plan, your medical expenses may not be fully covered. A minor accident which does not leave you hospitalised may still require x-rays and MRI scans and other follow-up treatments. A personal accident plan helps you defray some of the out-of-pocket expenses arising from these treatments.

For individuals who are self-employed, buying a personal accident plan can help provide them with additional protection on top of their existing private integrated shield plan. That’s because most personal accident plans provide policyholders with added coverage such as a weekly payout, up to a certain cap, if a policyholder is unable to work due to a temporary injury sustained from an accident.

If you are unsure about whether a personal accident plan is something that you truly need, and would like to seek the opinion and advice of a trusted financial advisor, DollarsAndSense have team up with fundMyLife to help get your financial planning questions answered. fundMyLife is a platform that connects users financial planning questions to the right advisers using an intelligent matching system.

DollarsAndSense.sg is a personal finance website that aim to help Singaporeans make better financial decision.

fundMyLife is a platform that aims to empower Singaporeans to make financial decisions confidently. We also connect consumers to the right financial planners in a private and anonymous manner, based on their financial planning questions.

Follow us on our fundMyLife Facebook page to get exciting updates and your dose of finance knowledge! Alternatively, the Insurance Discussion SG Facebook group is a good place to discuss insurance-related topics with fellow Singaporeans.

When Shit Happens: A Collection of Personal Accident Stories Part II

Personal accident stories part II

The world can be a scary place, as illustrated by our article on personal accidents stories. After sharing that article, members of the Facebook group Insurance Discussion SG chimed in to share both their own and/or their clients’ experiences with personal accident. We thought it’d be a good opportunity to compile another set to inform and educate readers out there. As such, in this article fundMyLife presents the second set of personal accident stories shared  in the Facebook group (without any personal details of course), with an additional educational twist.

Personal accident stories, part II

 #1 Motorcycling accident

One commenter recounted how he encouraged his client to purchase a personal accident plan since he commuted daily using a motorcycle. Soon after, the client experienced an accident. While the client was okay, he subsequently went for TCM treatment. Fortunately, his personal accident plan covered the TCM treatment.

While this story seems very common, it highlights two important things. Firstly, it’s important to get personal accident coverage when commuting using vehicles with relatively higher risks of injury. Secondly, timing is important, especially if the activity is done frequently, i.e. daily riding.

#2 Fowl play

One of the commenters shared was about she cracked her teeth biting into boneless chicken rice, or what was she thought. While dental claims are usually limited to incidences like car accident, she successfully claimed the full amount for the dental treatment…since it’s an accident.

What to do when eating boneless foods

We don’t think there’s much to caution when consuming boneless food, except to do an exploratory nibble before going for a chomp. Fun fact: if you’re feeling paranoid, there is such a thing as dental accident insurance. Not only does it cover accidents, it also covers routine preventive work such as scaling and polishing to encourage dental care. General insurance companies like Chubb and MSIG offer them.

#3 Canine trouble

In two separate but similar accounts, two members of the group recounted how their clients experienced injuries due to dog bites. One incident involved a client experience a bite from a dog which just recently given birth. Another incident involved a house visit to someone with a dog – the owners assured the person that the dog was harmless, which did not turn out to be the case when the person was bitten soon after.

What to do when encountering dogs that might bite

Angry dog
This is the look of a dog that might bite you – drooped ears and bared teeth.

While dogs are friendly, it is nonetheless important to be careful and recognize the warning signs. Firstly, avoid prolonged eye contact. You’re scared, but you cannot make eye contact because the dog will lunge at you. After removing eye contact, slowly move away and pretend to ignore the dog. After you’re a safe distance away from the dog, walk away real fast. Good luck.

#4 Raw meal to real deal

From the book of the same name, the author shared what happened after her husband of 20 years lost his hearing after consuming raw fish contaminated with Group B Streptococcus (GBS) bacteria. She successfully claimed against his company’s group personal accident plan and the family’s own personal accident plan, after much difficulty. On a related note, another individual affected by the GBS incident lost all of his four limbs.

What to do if you love raw fish

After the GBS incident, the Ministry of Health placed a ban on all raw fish sales from open stalls. You can still eat them from restaurants as restaurants generally follow strict hygiene rules for food preparation and kitchen cleanliness.

#5 Nailing it

Inspired by video games of the same genre, escape room games are games where you solve puzzles and riddles present in a room in order to escape it under a time limit. It takes wit, teamwork, and creativity to escape the rooms, but it’s a lot of fun when you solve them.

One commenter recounted how he lost his pinky toe nail in one of those Escape Room games, where he had to climb into a coffin for clues. Unfortunately, in his climb his nail was left behind inside. Fortunately, after clarifying with the insurance company, his insurance covered all treatment expenses. Escape Rooms can be surprisingly physically demanding since the challenges require you to run around to solve puzzles. A cursory search on Google reveals that there are plenty of injuries that result from these games. Be careful when you go for one with your friends!

Conclusion

That’s all folks! Some stories were part horror (mostly horror), part humorous but they were all educational. fundMyLife would like to thank the folks from the Insurance Discussion Group for their personal accident stories. As always, we here at fundMyLife believe in educating consumers on the possible dangers out there, and what better to alleviate risks in daily life than personal accident plans. If you have any more questions on personal accident, why not ask our curated pool of trusted financial advisers?

Been doing lots of research, but not sure who to engage to take the final step? Look no further! fundMyLife connects you to credible and incredible financial advisers privately and anonymously, based on the financial planning questions that you ask. We aim to empower Singaporeans to make financial decisions confidently.

Follow us on our fundMyLife Facebook page to get exciting updates and your dose of finance knowledge! Alternatively, the Insurance Discussion SG Facebook group is a good place to discuss insurance-related topics with fellow Singaporeans.

Ask fML Advisers: What Are The Common Misconceptions About Integrated Shield Plans?

Financial advisers of fundMyLife share some common misconceptions about integrated shield plans

[5 min read]

According to the Ministry of Health, the MediShield Life is a national health insurance scheme that provides lifelong protection against large hospital bills. On top of MediShield Life, locals and PRs can purchase Integrated Shield Plans from six insurance companies, which provides additional coverage for higher hospital class wards. While MediShield Life is relatively straightforward, Integrated Shield Plans can be quite a tricky matter.

In the past, we wrote about the considerations to make before purchasing Integrated Shield Plans. However, we also realize that there might be clarification required before embarking on buying these plans. Who better to clarify possible misconceptions, but our very own financial advisers of fundMyLife? In this article, we ask three of our fundMyLife financial advisers – Winifred Tan, Jonathon Han from Prudential, and Ryan Teo from AXA – about the common misconceptions about Integrated Shield Plans.

Winifred Tan

Winifred Tan, Great Eastern
Winifred Tan

#1 “IP plans are the same as CPF Medishield Life plans”

Firstly, Medishield Life (MSHL) and IP plans are not exactly the same although they have some overlapping similarities. Both MSHL policies and IP policies are payable by CPF. MSHL is a compulsory hospital/surgical insurance for all Singaporeans and PRs which covers only basic hospital stays, e.g., daily room and board benefits, and basic surgeries, but with limitations on claim amount and also on type of hospital that the user can stay in (up to only public B2 ward, 6-bedder ward).

IP plans are composed of MSHL as its foundation and an additional private insurance on top of it from either of the six insurers in SG to remove all the category limits and allow users to even insure themselves for better types of hospital services e.g. Private hospital, or Public A ward (1-bedder). It is thus essential to get an Integrated Shield Plan if one has enough CPF-Medisave to afford it as it would really help when bills incurred are large, as in most cases MSHL only covers 10-20% of a bill!

#2 “Why must I get the rider? I’m still young and don’t want to waste my own cash to buy a rider which I would probably wouldn’t claim anyway”

Whether you are young or not, every hospital/surgical bill incurred will first subtract off the Deductibles and 10% co-insurance – essentially you have to co-pay this part – before you can claim using the main IP plan paid by CPF. It’s not an easy part to explain, so you can either ask me directly or drop me a message on my Facebook page. In terms of probability of going into hospitals, perhaps things like critical illnesses are rarer among younger people but what about the possibility of being active in sports or at work that you injure yourself and require a say, surgery e.g. ACL tear/burns/fractures? How about Congenital illnesses that may out of a sudden, strike in a young adult? These are the probabilities we need to guard against and having the entire package (basic main IP plan + rider) would really help you mitigate such financial risks

#3 “I have a hospital-cash/hospital-income benefit rider in my whole life plan! It’s so much cheaper than the rider of the IP plan so why should I waste money to get this when I can claim through the whole life rider?”

Firstly, the coverage is entirely different in the hospital-cash rider of the whole life plan vs a full IP package. The former only gives a small payout, i.e. $30 a day when you’re hospitalized and warded to help replace your possible income loss during the time you’re hospitalized. They do not normally pay for surgeries/outpatient treatments/followups as well. The latter really covers all of your hospital bills as well as surgery/outpatient/followups/pre-admission tests from the first dollar onwards. The latter is also more of a reimbursement of bill instead of extra payout for income-loss. Bills often can be as high as $1,000 even for minor surgeries or hospital stays. Thus, what we have to focus on, is to ensure the bills are covered for, and then work on getting the extra hospital-cash for some income replacement during the time that you’re unfit for work!

Jonathon Han, Prudential

Jonathon Han's picture
Jonathon Han, Prudential

#1 Buying an ISP means anything to do with hospitals can be claimed

ISP are hospitalization plans. What this means is that the customer must be HOSPITALIZED in order for the plan to take effect. Should the client see a specialist – even with a referral letter – without staying in the hospital, they will not be covered for the medical bills. However, if their specialist check-up requires them to be warded for observation or medical treatment, then yes the bills will be covered.

Special circumstances can be made for customers to claim their ISP without being hospitalized, and these include A&E treatment and follow-up specialist treatment from previous hospitalization stays.

#2 Having a company insurance means I don’t need to buy an ISP

Not true. Why?

Firstly, a majority of company insurance is not as comprehensive as personal insurance. Personal health insurance can protect individuals from medical bills of up to $1.5 million a year, whereas a lot of company insurance barely crosses the $20k of medical coverage per individual per a year.

Secondly, company insurance is non-transferable. What this means is that the moment you leave the company, your coverage will stop. Some of my clients had to leave the company due to their inability to work, and leaving the company means that they no longer are covered under the corporate insurance. At this point of time, if we don’t have an ISP, we are left exposed to the mercy of the bills.

Ryan Teo, AXA

Ryan Teo's picture
Ryan Teo, AXA

 

#1 Integrated Shield Plans payment is separate from MediShield.

When you sign up for an Integrated Shield Plan, you’re still paying for the MediShield component as well. This is because Integrated Shield Plans are not separate coverage, as it is an additional top up coverage to MediShield.

#2 It is a minor matter to switch Integrated Shield Plans

Before you switch providers, you need to weigh the options that the other provider gives, especially if there was a previous surgery or pre-existing illness. Cost-wise or benefits may seem better, especially as plans improve; however, you may not enjoy the same protection you previously enjoyed for existing medical conditions. In fact, under your old plan, you may potentially pay more for the same level of coverage.

#3 No need to pay a single cent if I have full rider coverage by Integrated Shield Plans

Actually, it is not really true. You may still need to pay a cash deposit if it’s required by the hospital. Therefore, it’s useful if possible to have a letter of guarantee (LOG) as an assurance of payment offered by insurers before any hospital admission.  It can help to waive any cash deposit required by the hospital or bill payment. However, it’s still up to the discretion of the hospital to accept the letter. You may still need to fork out your own money first before applying for a claim.

fundMyLife Summary

Winifred clarified the differences and similarities between Medishield and Integrated Shield Plans. Ryan also expressed similar sentiments – it seems that consumers do mistake MediShield and Integrated Shield Plans as separate kinds of plans, when the former is a sub-component of the latter. No wonder this necessitates clarification on the MOH website. Winifred also emphasized the importance of riders, and explained the differences between hospital-cash rider of the whole life plan and the rider of a full IP package. Jonathon cautioned that not everything hospital related is claimable using Integrated Shield Plans and stressed the importance of not relying on company insurance. Ryan also debunked the myth that it is a small matter to switch insurers for Integrated Shield Plans, and talked about cash deposits during hospitalization and how Letter of Guarantees can alleviate the financial pressure.

Conclusion

We hope this article was helpful in addressing the common misconceptions about Integrated Shield Plans! If you’ve more questions on the plan or any other insurance plans, head on to our main site and ask our curated pool of financial advisers! Alternatively, if you’d like to connect with either Winifred Tan from Great Eastern, Jonathon from Prudential, or Ryan Teo from AXA, just click on the link in their names and you can ask them questions directly from their profile pages.

Been doing lots of research, but not sure who to engage to take the final step? Look no further! fundMyLife connects you to credible and incredible financial advisers privately and anonymously, based on the financial planning questions that you ask. We aim to empower Singaporeans to make financial decisions confidently.

Follow us on our fundMyLife Facebook page to get exciting updates and your dose of finance knowledge! Alternatively, the Insurance Discussion SG Facebook group is a good place to discuss insurance-related topics with fellow Singaporeans.

4 Things To Consider Before Buying An Integrated Shield Plan

Things to consider before getting an Integrated Shield Plan

MediShield Life is a basic health insurance plan that is administered by the Central Provident Fund to help pay hospital bills. Consumers can also opt to get Integrated Shield Plans, which is composed of Medishield Life and a second component that provides additional private insurance coverage for higher class wards in public and private hospitals. Higher class wards and private hospital wards can be quite pricey, and as such Integrated Shield Plans are very popular amongst Singaporeans – 68% of them have Integrated Shield Plans.

While Integrated Shield Plans are great, they nonetheless require more premiums per year and as such require careful thought before adding it on. In this article, fundMyLife lists the things to consider before getting an integrated shield plan.

#1 Personal preferences for treatment

MediShield Life provides enough coverage to take care of large hospital bills in B2 or C class wards in public hospitals. In B2 or C class wards in public hospitals, you share a room with 6 and 8-10 beds respectively, without any TVs. These wards have natural ventilation, i.e. no air-con, and the patients are taken care of by a team of doctors. However, in an A/B1 ward in public hospitals and wards in private hospitals, you get to have your own bed or share with less patients. The wards are air-conditioned and you’d be taken care of by individual doctors.

One of the things to consider before getting an integrated shield plan – your personal preference. Figure adapted from Central Provident Fund website.

As the diagram above shows, there is a difference between B2/C and A/B1/private wards. However, it really depends on your personal preference. You can opt for B2/C wards if you do not mind the crowd and a lack of TV – a pair of earphones and a good book solve these issues. On top of that, you’d be spending most of your time recovering and sleeping anyways.

#2 Your current and future budget

It is important to consider not just your current budget, but your future budget as well as premiums of shield plans will increase as you get older. The increases are not trivial as you age. To illustrate this, we compiled integrated shield plan premiums for private hospital from the six insurance companies that offer them. In addition, if you are curious to know more, you can either go to the companies’ website or the Ministry of Health’s website. The Ministry of Health releases regularly updated information on MediShield and Integrated Shield Plans, including premiums and benefits.

Premiums for Private Hospital Plans from different insurers
A bar chart showing the increasing premiums for private hospital plans. Plans referred to: 1) Income Enhanced IncomeShield Preferred, 2) AIA HealthShield Gold Max A, 3) AXA Shield Plan A, 4) Great Eastern Supreme Health P Plus, 5) Aviva MyShield Plan 1, 6) Prudential PruShield A Premier. Some of the plans do not have information at certain age ranges.

As the illustration shows, the premiums increase over time, and most sharply after age 40. More specifically, the premiums increase between 50-70% when you are 41, from age 40, depending on which company. While we used private hospital shield plan premiums to illustrate this, the pattern is the same for plans for lower class wards as well. Your future ability to pay the ever-increasing premiums is important because there is a limit on how much your MediSave can cover the premium, which means you’ll need to fork out cash for the rest. The ability to pay is one of the more important things to consider before getting an Integrated Shield Plan.

#3 Riders

As the name suggests, riders are add-ons to enhance existing coverage by the Integrated Shield Plans. These riders are useful, as they can assist in reducing any deductible or co-insurance portions on the consumers’ hospital bills (subject to co-payment within limits).

In addition, there are two ways to get daily cash benefits using riders. One way is to be warded in a ward that is of a lower class than you were entitled to. Another way is to get daily cash benefit riders that specifically pay out daily cash benefits for every day you are hospitalized. Other riders include coverage for children’s illnesses and international hospitalization.

#4 Hospital bill sizes

Besides knowing your coverage, we feel that it is important to understand the average bill sizes across different hospitals and wards. We visited the website in the Ministry of Health, which display the rates for various hospitals in 2015. In the list, there are nine hospitals – Alexandra Hospital (AH), Changi General Hospital (CGH), Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH), KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH), National University Hospital (NUH), Ng Teng Fong General Hospital (NTFGH), Singapore General Hospital (SGH), Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH), and National Heart Center (NHC).

A comparison of average bill sizes from different hospitals. Source from Ministry of Health website.

Not surprisingly, the average bill sizes vary across different hospitals. While there is little difference between the average bill sizes between Class B2 and Class C, the difference is much more noticeable for between Class B1 and Class B2. Note that the bill sizes are on average, and do not reflect the bill for various medical conditions. For that, it is another major article topic in itself.

Conclusion

That’s all, folks! We hope that this article was useful in sharing the things to consider before getting an Integrated Shield Plan. It can be tricky to figure out what kind of coverage you need. As such, if you have any more questions on this plan, why not ask our curated pool of trusted financial advisers? They can definite advise on the things to consider before getting an integrated shield plan!

Been doing lots of research, but not sure who to engage to take the final step? Look no further! fundMyLife connects you to credible and incredible financial advisers privately and anonymously, based on the financial planning questions that you ask. We aim to empower Singaporeans to make financial decisions confidently.

Follow us on our fundMyLife Facebook page to get exciting updates and your dose of finance knowledge! Alternatively, the Insurance Discussion SG Facebook group is a good place to discuss insurance-related topics with fellow Singaporeans.

7 Ways Couples Can Manage Their Money Without Fighting

Manage money without fighting

Written by Daniel Tay, edited by Jackie Tan. 

Getting together as a couple presents not only a new lifestyle, but also new ways on managing their finances together. It is said that couples often prefer to manage their money like how their parents did. However, a couple’s unique situation may require a style different from their parents’. Money is a huge factor in a couple’s relationship, and managing them is a key to either breaking or making it. In this article, we present seven ways of managing a couple’s finances.

#1 To Each His/Her Own

Each person handles personal finances in separate accounts.

Barry is a widower whose ex-wife had cancer. To pay for her medical expenses, Barry depleted his savings, borrowed heavily on his credit cards, and took personal loans. While paying off his debts, he enters into a new relationship with Iris. They want to buy a property together. However, Barry might be unable to take any loan, having maxed out his borrowing facilities. Barry and Iris keep their finances separate until his finances become healthier.

This way also works when:

  1. One party’s finances are much more complex than the other, e.g., one party has multiple sources of income
  2. One party has secrets to hide
  3. Mutual trust is lacking between the two
  4. Both parties spend money very differently or are unsure of their long-term commitment to each other

What is required:

  1. Simple financial planning
  2. Sophisticated estate planning, due to individually owned assets

2) What’s Mine Is Yours

Combine all finances in joint accounts.

Young adults Harry and Gwen have been dating for years. They have similar personalities, hobbies, and life goals. They do almost everything together. Each cares deeply for the other’s family. As they make similar financial decisions, they decide to combine their resources in a single account.

This works when a couple:

  1. Want to seal their long-term commitment to each other
  2. Have shared hobbies, combined financial goals, and straightforward finances
  3. Are close to their families
  4. Have mutual trust

What it requires:

  1. Sophisticated financial planning
  2. Simple estate planning with joint ownership of assets
  3. Open communication about each other’s spending

#3 You’re My Equal

Each person owns an account and contributes equally to a joint account.

In Diana’s family, the women are strong-willed. In Steve’s family, men make the decisions. Unable to agree on their money management, Diana and Steve hold separate accounts. However, they need to pay for their house and daily household needs. They pay for these expenses from a joint account to which they contribute equally.

This works when a couple has:

  1. Some combined financial goals, but want some independence.
  2. Roughly the same income
  3. Moved in together and have shared household expenses or shared savings goals.

What it requires:

  1. Complex financial planning and estate planning

#4 I Pay, You Save

One person pays for everything. The other saves/invests all of his/her income.

Scott and Jean want to take up a full-time university course, but cannot do so simultaneously. They first accumulate savings, living on Scott’s earnings and saving all of Jean’s earnings. After building their savings and emergency fund, Jean goes for full-time study. By now, they are used to living on Scott’s salary. When Jean finishes her studies, she finds a job with income roughly equal to Scott’s salary. Scott then goes for his further studies.

This works when:

  1. One person earns much more than the other
  2. A couple goes single income in future, as it disciplines them to survive on one person’s income

What it requires:

  1. An income replacement plan for the one whose income pays for all the family expenses, in case she/he becomes unable to work
  2. Family emergency fund
  3. Disciplined spending
  4. Budgeting for leisure

5) The Fair Treatment

Each person contributes an amount proportionate to his/her income.

Henry, a scientist, earns a stable income. His wife Janet starts an interior design company. At first her projects are intermittent. Some months she earns nothing. Hank contributes more to their shared account. Janet contributes when she can. When Janet’s business flourishes, she takes over contributing more to pay for their shared expenses.

This works when:

  1. One person’s income is much higher than the other’s, and he/she is uncomfortable with the other contributing the same amount.
  2. Both have different lifestyles.
  3. One party is switching career, or starting a business.

6) Pay As You Use

Each person pays for the products/services that he/she use more.

Peter is a photojournalist. Mary-Jane is a fashion model. To look her best, she uses beauty products and services. She pays for their magazine subscriptions, including her beauty magazines and Peter’s photography journals. Peter buys cameras, lenses, computers, and photo-editing software. He pays for the family computer and related online services.

This works when one partner:

  1. Does not want to pay for the other’s hobby
  2. Has an expensive hobby, like shopping, collecting luxury items, travel etc
  3. Uses a household service much more than the other e.g. internet, cable TV, garden services, etc

7) The Japanese Method

One person holds all the money and gives the other an allowance.

Clark comes from a rural Indian village. He came to Singapore to work in a tech company. His wife Lois, a homemaker, grew up in Mumbai and immigrated to Singapore. Knowing little about finances, Clark gives his monthly salary to Lois who makes the financial decisions. Lois gives Clark a monthly allowance.

This is useful when only one party knows how to manage money.

Risks:

  1. If the one managing the money becomes unable to do so, the other could be at a loss as to what to do.
  2. If the breadwinner manages the money, the other might feel a power imbalance in the relationship.

What it requires:

  1. An income replacement plan for the breadwinner, in case s/he becomes unable to work
  2. Family emergency fund
  3. Insurance for the non income earner because if he/she falls ill, becomes disabled or gets into an accident, the breadwinner may have to pay for others to look after the children and household or take time off and a pay cut to do it

At the end of the day, each couple has to decide which method best suits their preference and situation. A couple does not have to stick with one way all the way, because situations do change. And these methods are not mutually exclusive as different ways can be combined for certain situations. In addition, couples should seek the advice of a holistic financial planner to optimize their assets.

Been doing lots of research, but not sure who to engage to take the final step? Look no further! fundMyLife connects you to credible and incredible financial advisers privately and anonymously, based on the financial planning questions that you ask. We aim to empower Singaporeans to make financial decisions confidently.

Follow us on our fundMyLife Facebook page to get exciting updates and your dose of finance knowledge! Alternatively, the Insurance Discussion SG Facebook group is a good place to discuss insurance-related topics with fellow Singaporeans.

When Shit Happens: A Collection of Personal Accident Stories

fundMyLife presents personal accident stories

[3 min read]

Personal accident plans are plans that help you and your loved ones when you experience disabilities or death, be it from your occupation or everyday life. While the probability of going through an accident is slim, it is nonetheless a very real possibility. How else to illustrate this possibility, but through stories? To do this, we scoured the internet for interesting personal accident stories. Besides anecdotes from blogs and financial websites such as MoneySmart and Clearly Surely, we also found several real life case by Straits Times Invest Editor Lorna Tan, and paraphrased these stories for brevity. In this article, fundMyLife takes a look at these stories and glean insights from these incidents.

Personal accident stories

#1 Road accident

A 55-year old man was involved in a road accident and sustained injuries to his shoulder, neck and back. He went through X-ray and outpatient treatment at a TCM clinic, which was fully reimbursed by his insurer Sompo.

#2 Child falling

A 5-year old child fell from the third storey of a staircase. He experienced wounds, and a brain trauma caused by fatal injury, succumbing to his wounds 10 days later.  The child was covered under a family plan, so the parents were paid $12,500 and $1,500 for death and medical expenses respectively by insurer Sompo.

#3 Motorcycle accident

A 36-year old man met a motorcycle accident, and fractured his right foot. His insurer Sompo paid out for his expenses, miscellaneous benefits, and a weekly income benefit for missing work for 7 weeks.

#4 Workplace mishap

A 53-year old man died at work, pinned by a heavy object and suffered multiple injuries. The AXA group personal accident policy by his workplace paid out a death benefit to his family members, burial expenses, and family security. In addition, because of no prior claims, his family also had increased benefit payout.

#5 Getting hurt during staycation

A 50-year old woman slipped and fell on a flight of stairs during a staycation in Sentosa. She cut herself and sprained her ankle. Her insurer Tokio Marine fully reimbursed her medical bills for out-patient treatment.

 

#6 Injuring self while changing light bulb

A 52-year old man lost his balance and fell while changing his kitchen’s lights. During his fall, his neck hit one of the kitchen’s chairs. The injury subsequently paralyzed him. The company’s personal accident plan for workers paid off a lump sum of $100,000 as he was permanently disabled.

#7 Slip and fall from cleaning

A 45-year old man was wiping his windows, when he slipped and fell. His head hit the floor, leading to a head injury which he succumbed to. As the man bought a personal accident policy which was featured with his home insurance, his family received a death benefit payout of $20,000.

#8 Accidental overdose of drugs

A 50-year old man was found unconscious, after consuming a large variety of drugs in high doses. The coroner ruled that the incident a suicide, which prevented the $1.2M insurance claim from AIA as there was a suicide exclusion. The High Court also ruled similarly in 2016. The family then escalated it to the Court of Appeal, and in 2017 the Court of Appeal found that the incident was indeed an accident and not suicide.

There was no evidence to suggest that the man was suicidal, and consumed the drugs with no expectation of injury. As such, this incident was classified as an accident – unforeseen and involuntary event that causes an injury.

Conclusion

In general, the stories do not seem to follow any pattern at all. However, the slip and fall accidents seem to affect those in their later years, i.e. 40s onwards. Besides practising good safety measure while doing household chores, it pays to consider getting a personal accident plan indeed.

You might be wondering what the point of this article is. “Scare tactics”, you might mumble under your breath. However, from these personal accident stories, the usefulness of personal accident plans cannot be denied. We thought by sharing some of these real life cases, you’d be more aware of how fragile we as humans can be. With low annual premiums, it might not be a bad idea to get personal accident insurance. In addition, it is also be a good idea to check your company’s policy to see if you’re adequately protect.

We here at fundMyLife believe in educating consumers on the possible dangers out there, and what better to alleviate risks in daily life than personal accident plans. If you have any more questions on personal accident, why not ask our curated pool of trusted financial advisers?

Been doing lots of research, but not sure who to engage to take the final step? Look no further! fundMyLife connects you to credible and incredible financial advisers privately and anonymously, based on the financial planning questions that you ask. We aim to empower Singaporeans to make financial decisions confidently.

Follow us on our fundMyLife Facebook page to get exciting updates and your dose of finance knowledge! Alternatively, the Insurance Discussion SG Facebook group is a good place to discuss insurance-related topics with fellow Singaporeans.