Imagine the feeling of being rushed to hospital in an ambulance, and worrying the whole time about how much that ambulance ride, and your impending treatment, will cost.
That’s what might happen to you if you do not purchase health insurance, and choose instead to rely entirely on the very basic MediShield Life.
MediShield Life, which all Singaporeans and PRs have automatically, covers very basic medical costs, but this is subject to strict limits and lots of exclusions. (And no, ambulance rides are not covered.) The solution to this problem is to purchase an integrated shield plan.
AIA HealthShield Gold Max is one such integrated shield plan. Let’s look at the benefits of getting it below.
What are integrated shield plans?
Integrated shield plans are health insurance plans that offer you medical protection over and above what MediShield Life offers, so you can enjoy more complete medical coverage and reduce even further your out-of-pocket medical expenses.
Although MediShield is compulsory and covers all Singaporeans and PRs, it is limited in what it offers, which means that you could still end up paying a ton when you fall ill. Having an integrated shield plan like the AIA HealthShield Gold Max will give you more peace of mind.
For instance, MediShield Life claims can only cover stays in Class B2 or C wards in public/restructured hospitals. So if you want to go to a private hospital in order to skip the long queues, your MediShield Life payouts will cover such a small portion of the cost that you might find yourself weighing the pros and cons of dying.
MediShield Life also has a whole lot of exclusions, including pre- and post-hospitalisation treatment. That’s not very comforting when you consider that the money spent before and after being hospitalised can actually exceed your hospital bill. Tests and diagnoses for tricky conditions alone can amount to the thousands.
AIA HealthShield Gold Max Integrated Shield Premiums
|AIA Healthshield Gold Max||Ward||Annual premium*||Pre-hospitalisaton cover||Post-hospitalisation cover||Annual coverage limit|
|B Lite plan||Class B1||$310 (payable by Medisave) + $102 = $412||100 days||100 days||$300,000|
|B plan||Class A||$310 (payable by Medisave) + $153 = $463||100 days||100 days (200 days for critical illnesses)||$450,000|
|A plan||Private hospitals||$310 (payable) Medisave + $286) = $596||100 days (13 months for AIA preferred provider)||100/200 days (13 months for AIA preferred provider)||$1,000 ($2, million of treated/admitted by AIA preferred private specialist/public hospital)|
*For Singapore citizens aged 35
AIA’s HealthShield Gold Max Integrated Shield plan has three tiers: B Lite, B and A.
The B Lite Plan gives you access to Class B1 wards in public/restructured hospitals. This is one step above the B2 wards MediShield Life gives you access to.
The B Plan lets you use up to Class A wards in public/restructured hospitals.
And those who wish to have the option of using private hospitals should opt for the A Plan.
In terms of pricing, AIA Healthshield Gold Max offers some of the most affordable ones on the market, with the A Plan offering particularly good value for money.
At a very affordable price relative to other insurers, the A Plan gets you a very generous 13 months’ pre- and post-hospitalisation cover so long as you use an AIA preferred provider. At the moment, there are no insurers that offer as much post- and pre-hospitalisation cover.
As with all integrated shield plans, you get to pay a portion of your premiums using Medisave. The balance must be paid out-of-pocket on an annual basis.
AIA HealthShield Gold Max additional riders
AIA offers the following rider, which reduces your out-of-pocket costs when making a claim:
- AIA Max VitalHealth – 5% co-payment capped at $3,000 per year if you go to an AIA Quality Healthcare Partner specialist or public hospital, $200 to $500 per day post-hospitalisation home nursing benefit, post-hospitalisation alternative medicine benefit of $1,000 to $5,000 per year, early detection screening benefit (A Plan only), emergency outpatient treatment due to accident benefit (B and B Lite Plans only) and ambulance service benefit (B and B Lite Plans only).
The rider can be added to any of the three AIA HealthShield Gold Max plans.
A Plan policyholders can also purchase an Optional Booster with enhanced benefits like post-A&E treatment benefit, ambulance service benefit, outpatient treatment for dengue and HFMD, and emergency international medical assistance and repatriation.
How does AIA HealthShield Gold Max supplement MediShield Life coverage?
Integrated shield plans like AIA HealthShield Gold Max do not duplicate what MediShield Life offers; rather, they act as a supplement. This makes them more economical than getting a separate health insurance policy from a foreign insurer that does not taken into account MediShield Life.
Your MediShield Life protection will be supplemented with coverage in areas like pre- and post-hospital treatment, treatment for certain rare conditions that MediShield Life does not offer coverage for and ambulance fees.
The limits for AIA HealthShield Gold Max are also much higher than MediShield Life’s, which means that you can claim much higher amounts instead of paying them out-of-pocket.
Should you get the AIA HealthShield Gold Max?
Compared to what other integrated shield plan providers are offering, AIA HealthShield Gold Max Plan A probably offers the best value for money right now, for people who are looking for a plan that offers access to private hospitals.
You just have to make sure you always use healthcare providers on their panel in order to qualify for the 13 month pre- and post-hospitalisation benefit.
If, however, you are on a tight budget and only want a plan that gives you access to B1 or A wards in public/restructured hospitals, HealthShield Gold Max’s prices are not as competitive. Check out Great Eastern’s Supreme Health plans instead, as they’re some of the cheapest in town and still offer decent benefits at those tiers.
Do you have any experience with AIA HealthShield Gold Max health insurance? Share your reviews in the comments.