Integrated Shield Plans Premium & Coverage Comparison: Which is the best IP plan? (2022)

Integrated Shield Plans Premium & Coverage Comparison: Which is the best IP plan? (2022)

All Singaporeans are covered by MediShield Life for the most basic of medical coverage. But on top of MediShield Life, an estimated two-thirds of Singaporeans are also paying for an integrated shield plan (IP) from one of 7 private insurers:

  • AIA Healthshield Gold Max
  • Singlife with Aviva Singlife Shield
  • AXA Shield
  • Great Eastern GREAT Supreme Health
  • Income IncomeShield
  • Prudential PruShield
  • Raffles Shield

Each insurer offers a few options for their integrated shield plans, which means Singaporeans looking for an IP will have over 25 options to choose from. That sounds daunting, but making your decision is actually easier than it seems.

You only need to have a faint idea of what level of coverage you want, and the rest of it is mainly just crunching numbers. Easier than deciding which bubble tea you want at KOI.

Ready to compare the heck out of Integrated Shield plans? Let’s go.

 

Contents

  1. Step 1: Understand the limits of MediShield Life
  2. Step 2: Choose the coverage level you want
  3. Step 3: Know what to look for in an Integrated Shield plan
  4. Integrated Shield comparison for public hospital Class B1 IPs
  5. Integrated Shield comparison for public hospital Class A IPs
  6. Integrated Shield comparison for private hospital IPs
  7. 3 tips for keeping health insurance affordable

 

Step 1: Know the limits of MediShield Life

We’ve established that all Singaporeans are covered with health insurance: MediShield Life. (If you didn’t know this, you definitely need to read this comprehensive guide to health insurance in Singapore!)

Instead of buying an Integrated Shield plan because your insurance agent friend told you to, it’s worth checking out what MediShield Life covers so you know WHY you want to get an IP.

Being government-issued health insurance, MediShield Life is very affordable, but it’s as basic as it gets. Which means it has some very serious limitations:

  • Covers only the lower wards: MediShield Life covers only up to public hospital Class B2 or C ward. If you stay in a more comfortable ward, you’ll need to top up the difference out of Medisave or your pocket.
  • Surgery coverage capped at $2,600: If your operation costs more than $2,600, you’ll need to top up the rest.
  • No pre-/post-hospitalisation treatment coverage: MediShield Life doesn’t include diagnosis, early stage treatments, and recovery, which can add up to more than a hospital stay.

Here’s a link to MOH’s website showing the claim limits of MediShield Life.

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Step 2: Choose the coverage (i.e. ward class) you want

If you feel underwhelmed by MediShield Life, take this opportunity to figure out what standard of healthcare you want to receive (at minimum) should you fall ill or get into an accident. 

Are you okay with going to a public hospital, as long as you get into a “better” B1 ward? Or you die-die must go to a private hospital for the best healthcare possible?

Each insurer offers 2 or 3 IPs corresponding to ward tiers: Class B1, Class A, or private hospital. 

Integrated Shield insurer Class B1 Class A Private hospital
AIA Healthshield Gold Max B Lite B A
Singlife with Aviva Singlife Shield Plan 3 Plan 2 Plan 1
AXA Shield Plan B Plan A
Great Eastern GREAT Supreme Health B Plus A Plus P Plus 
Income Enhanced IncomeShield Basic Advantage Preferred
Prudential PRUShield Premier
Raffles Shield B A Private

Once you’ve decided on the healthcare tier you need, you’ll have narrowed it down from 19 plans to just 5 or 7.

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Step 3: Know what to look for in an Integrated Shield plan

Don’t worry, you won’t have to look through the ENTIRE policy documents of every Integrated Shield plan unless you’re a masochist.

There are actually just 3 things you need to look out for when making your choice:

  • Cost of premiums: We’ll comparing the cost of both the IP premiums (which are Medisave-payable) and the cost of the co-payment rider (payable in cash).
  • Pre- and post-hospitalisation coverage: All IPs compared here cover these costs “as charged”, but they differ in length of coverage. Obviously, the longer the period, the better.
  • Annual coverage limit: This refers to how much you can claim up to each year before the insurer stops footing your bills.

3 things to considerwhen you choose an IPWhat’s an IP?Integrated Shield Plan (IP)Covering you beyond just the hospitalisation, IPs cover youfinancially before and after hospitalisation.Coverage lengthDays covered Pre /Post-hospitalisationCoverage limitAmount claimableannuallyIP premiumsPremiums paid annually

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Integrated Shield comparison 2022: Public hospital Class B1 IPs

Now let’s start crunching some numbers. Here’s a comparison of the Class B1 Integrated Shield plans:

 

Insurer Annual premium* Rider premium* Annual claim limit Pre & Post hospitalisation
AIA HealthShield Gold Max B Lite $492 $180 $300,000 100 days / 100 days
Singlife with Aviva Singlife Shield Plan 3 $490 From $0.27/day $500,000 180 days (panel) / 365 days (panel)
Great Eastern GREAT SupremeHealth B Plus $467-$489 $102 $500,000 120 days / 365 days (panel)
Income Enhanced IncomeShield Basic $453-$463 $78 $250,000 100 days / 100 days
Raffles Shield B $473 $80 $300,000 90 days / 90 days

* For Singapore citizens aged 35.

Class B1 IPs are extremely affordable, but they’re not that much of an upgrade over MediShield Life (which covers B2). The main benefit would be pre- and post-hospitalisation costs.

Great Eastern Supreme Health B Plus is probably the best IP you can buy for this level of coverage. Not only does it have relatively lower premium for this age group, it also has the highest annual coverage limit.

Great Eastern logo
Best High Value Plans & Covers COVID-19
Max. Annual Coverage Limit
S$1,500,000
Pre-Hospitalisation Benefit
120 days
Post-Hospitalisation Benefit
365 days
Apply NowApply directly on MoneySmart

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Integrated Shield comparison 2022: Public hospital Class A IPs

Moving on to the comparison of the Class A Integrated Shield plans, which all 7 insurers offer:

 

Insurer Annual premium* Rider premium* Annual claim limit Pre & Post hospitalisation
AIA HealthShield Gold Max B $558 $234 $1 million 180 days / 180 days
Singlife with Aviva Singlife Shield Plan 2 $558 From $0.46/day $1 million 180 days (panel) / 365 days (panel) 
AXA Shield Plan B $546 $200 $550,000 180 days / 365 days
Great Eastern GREAT SupremeHealth A Plus $496-$525 $81 $1,000,000 120 days / 365 days (panel)
Income Enhanced IncomeShield Advantage $473-$496 $94 $500,000 100 days / 100 days
Prudential PRUShield Plus $476-$502 $86 $600,000 180 days (panel) / 365 days (panel)
Raffles Shield A $502-$518 $254 (with Raffles hospital option)

$138 (others)

$600,000 180 days (panel) / 365 days (panel)

* For Singapore citizens aged 35.

Prudential’s PruShield Plus is the most value for money of the lot, and it offers a whole year’s coverage after hospitalisation, which seems like an excellent deal to me.  

Prudential logo
Best For Young Individuals & Covers COVID-19
Max. Annual Coverage Limit
S$1,200,000
Pre-Hospitalisation Benefit
180 days
Post-Hospitalisation Benefit
365 days
Apply NowApply directly on MoneySmart

Income Enhanced IncomeShield Advantage is also quite affordable. But note that the pre- and post-hospitalisation coverage is shorter than Prudential.

It’s worth mentioning that Raffles Shield A allows you to add on a Raffles Hospital option to your Class A IP so you can stay in some sort of private hospital. This works out to be cheaper than going for one of the full private IPs below.

Raffles Health Insurance logo
Covers COVID-19
Max. Annual Coverage Limit
S$1,500,000
Pre-Hospitalisation Benefit
180 days
Post-Hospitalisation Benefit
365 days
Apply NowApply directly on MoneySmart

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Integrated Shield comparison 2022: Private hospital IPs

All 7 insurers also offer private hospital IPs for maximum financial protection:

Insurer Annual premium* Rider premium* Annual claim limit Pre & Post hospitalisation
 AIA HealthShield Gold Max A $750-$791 $598 (without emergency & outpatient care booster)

$660 (with emergency & outpatient care booster)

$2 million (panel) 13 months (panel) / 13 months (panel)
Singlife with Aviva Singlife Shield Plan 1 $799 From $1.12/day $2 million (panel) 180 days (panel) / 365 days (panel)
AXA Shield Plan A $682-$690 $374 $2.5 million (panel) 180 days / 365 days
Great Eastern GREAT SupremeHealth P Plus $712 $335 $1.5 million 120 days / 365 days (panel)
Income Enhanced IncomeShield Preferred $615-$626 $265 $1.5 million 180 days (panel) / 365 days (panel)
Prudential PRUShield Premier $727-$733 $337 $1.2 million (panel) 180 days (panel) / 365 days (panel)
Raffles Shield Private $729-$732 $297 $1.5 million (Raffles Hospital or Government Restructured Hospital)

$600,000 (Other hospitals)

180 days (panel) / 365 days (panel)

* For Singapore citizens aged 35.

Considering the insane cost of private healthcare in Singapore, the premiums for Income Enhanced IncomeShield Preferred and AXA Shield Plan A seem pretty affordable.

AXA logo
Best Private Hospital Plans & Covers COVID-19
Max. Annual Coverage Limit
S$2,500,000
Pre-Hospitalisation Benefit
180 days
Post-Hospitalisation Benefit
365 days
Apply NowApply directly on MoneySmart

However, if you’re willing to pay a bit more for ultra-comprehensive coverage, AIA Healthshield Gold Max A has the highest levels of coverage on the market.

AIA logo
Covers critical illnesses and Covid-19
Max. Annual Coverage Limit
S$2,000,000
Pre-Hospitalisation Benefit
100 days
Post-Hospitalisation Benefit
100 days
Apply NowApply directly on MoneySmart

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3 tips for keeping health insurance affordable

If you’re looking for the most expensive tier — private hospital IPs — I don’t blame you. We’ve all heard enough bad stories about public healthcare to understand why some people would rather pay more to not be stuck in there.

But private IPs can get expensive. So here are 3 tips to help keep your premiums affordable:

1. Consider whether to buy a rider

After you buy an Integrated Shield plan, you still need to pay some of your hospital bills either out of pocket or from Medisave.

A deductible (up to $3,500) and co-payment (10% of your bill) will kick in before the insurer will pay the rest of the claim — somewhat like car insurance excess. So for a $20,000 private hospital bill, that’s $3,500 + $2,000 = $5,500.

An IP “rider” covers most of the above so you only need to co-pay 5% instead. So, for that $20,000 bill, you fork out $1,000 as co-payment. However, rider premiums can cost almost as much as the IP itself, and you have to pay for it in cash (no Medisave).

In our opinion, it does makes sense to get a rider if it’s cheap and you have the budget for it. But you can also get away with no rider if you have enough Medisave or cash savings.

2. Opt for an insurer with a panel

Insurers aren’t charities; they have to remain profitable. Therefore, if customers make too many claims, they may decide to sneakily revise their premiums upwards.

But it’s not just customers at fault. Some medical practices also overcharge once they know that an insurer is footing the bill. Either way, this results in high costs for the insurers, who would then pass it on in the form of higher premiums.

The solution is to look for insurers that work with a panel, such as AIA, who has a list of preferred healthcare Providers. Yes, it’s a hassle to have to go through a panel… but it also means that the insurer is trying to control their costs and hopefully keep our premiums from inflating too much.

3. Compare every year before renewing

Once your annual Integrated Shield plan expires, you are not obligated to renew it.

You can and should take the opportunity to shop around and compare the health insurance plans on the market. And yes, the IP premiums and coverage levels do change — take it from someone who has to update this article every year.

But note that if you switch to another insurer, you will be subject to medical underwriting. This means any medical conditions that arose since your previous insurer will be considered “pre-existing” and therefore not covered.

After a certain age, your premiums will be high no matter which insurer you go to. So you may then want to consider opting for a lower-tier plan — for example, from private to Class A. (“Downgrading” is generally a straightforward matter, whereas “upgrading” to a higher tier may require medical underwriting.)

Ultimately, while the cost of an annual premium is important, what’s more crucial is that you should pick an integrated shield plan based on the level of coverage you require.

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