Raffles Health Insurance is one of the lesser known insurers in Singapore, but they are actually one of 7 insurers offering Integrated Shield plans.
We highly recommend getting an Integrated Shield plan if you can afford to do so, as they save you from having to rely on the very bare-bones MediShield Life should you get hospitalised. Let’s see if the Raffles Shield Plan is worth buying.
What are Integrated Shield plans?
All Singaporeans and PRs have a very basic form of government medical insurance called MediShield Life. MediShield Life can offer payouts if you get hospitalised. But that does not mean the coverage is adequate.
MediShield Life is designed to only cover stays in Class B2 or C wards at public/restructured hospitals, so if you stay at a higher class ward or a private hospital, you’ll have to either pay a ton of money out-of-pocket or rely on private health insurance or an integrated shield plan. What’s more, MediShield Life caps its payouts, so you have to be careful not to go over the limit or risk having to pay more out-of-pocket.
MediShield Life also does not offer payouts for pre- and post-hospitalisation costs. This is not at all comforting when you consider that pre- and post-hospitalisation costs can sometimes exceed the actual cost of hospitalisation. Ouch!
An Integrated Shield plan offers protection where MediShield Life does not, with higher claim limits, access to higher class wards and/or private hospitals, and coverage for pre- and post-hospitalisation expenses.
Raffles Shield Integrated Shield premiums
|Raffles Shield||Access to||Annual premium*|
|B||Class B1 ward||$310 (MediShield Life) + $83 = $393|
|A||Class A ward||$310 (MediShield Life) + $112 = $422|
|A + Raffles Hospital||Public hospital Class A + Raffles Hospital||$310 (MediShield Life) + $223 = $533|
|Private||Private hospital||$310 (MediShield Life) + $339 = $649|
*For Singapore citizen aged 35
There are 3 tiers of Raffles Shield plans: B, A, and Private. You can add on a Raffles Hospital option to the A plan.
Price-wise, Raffles stands out is with its “A + Raffles Hospital” plan. This allows you to enjoy private hospital treatment (albeit just one hospital) at a lower cost than other insurers’ private hospitalisation plans.
Otherwise, Raffles Shield premiums are average; they are neither the most expensive nor the cheapest among the other insurers. You can see how it stacks up against the other Integrated Shield plans in Singapore here.
A portion of your annual premium (in this case $310) goes towards MediShield Life, while the remainder is for Raffles Shield coverage. The latter component can be paid using MediSave, up to annual limits. For a 35-year-old, the limit is $300 a year.
Raffles Shield Integrated Shield plans
|Raffles Shield||Pre-hospitalisation cover||Post-hospitalisation cover||Annual coverage limit|
|B||90 days||90 days||$300,000|
|A||180 days via panel or public hospital (otherwise 90 days)||365 days via panel or public hospital (otherwise 180 days)||$600,000|
|A (+ Raffles Hospital)||180 days via panel or public hospital (otherwise 90 days)||365 days via panel or public hospital (otherwise 180 days)||$600,000|
|Private||180 days via panel or public hospital (otherwise 90 days)||365 days via panel or public hospital (otherwise 180 days)||$1.5 million via panel (otherwise $600,000)|
Raffles Shield comes in a variety of plan types:
- The most basic plan, Raffles Shield B, gives you access to B1 wards in public/restructured hospitals
- Raffles Shield A gives you access to A1 wards in public/restructured hospitals
- Raffles Shield A + Raffles Hospital option gives you access to A1 wards and Raffles Hospital
- And for the most complete protection, Raffles Shield Private offers coverage for stays in private hospitals.
We would suggest giving the cheapest Raffles Shield B plan a miss as the mere 90 days of pre- and post-hospitalisation coverage is the shortest period on the market. Check out the other B-ward Integrated Shield coverage here.
Raffles Shield A and Raffles Shield Private offer average coverage at average prices.
But one perk of the Raffles Shield A Plan is that you can purchase a Raffles Hospital Option. You can get covered not only at public hospitals, but also Raffles Hospital, which is a private hospital. That means you’ll be able to get private hospital treatment while paying less than you would for a private hospital plan.
If you’re on the A or Private plan, make sure you go to a public hospital or panel specialist as that will affect the amount of pre-hospitalisation and post-hospitalisation coverage you receive.
Raffles Shield Raffles Key Rider premiums
All Integrated Shield plans offer an add-on called a rider, which allows you to reduce your out-of-pocket costs when making a claim.
Without a rider, you’d need to pay a deductible of up to $3,500 + co-insurance of 10% when you are hospitalised. With a rider, you need only co-pay 5% of your bill, capped at $3,000 a year.
The Raffles Key Rider does just that, at a pretty affordable price too (annual premiums vary with your base plan). For a 35-year-old, the rider costs $80 for Raffles Shield B, $138 for A, $254 for A + Raffles Hospital, and $297 for Private. These premiums must be paid in cash as they’re not MediSave-eligible.
You’ll need to either get treated at a public hospital, a panel specialist, or have your treatment pre-authorised in order to enjoy the rider benefits. You can also get daily hospital cash benefit when you opt for a ward that is lower than what you are entitled to.
How does Raffles Shield supplement MediShield Life coverage?
Raffles Shield enables you to stay at higher class wards or private hospitals, which you cannot do when you rely entirely on MediShield Life, unless you’re prepared to pay huge out-of-pocket expenses.
Another important area of coverage is pre- and post-hospitalisation expenses, which can be considerable.
Going for tests before being diagnosed can cost a lot of money, especially if yours is a rare or hard-to-diagnose condition. After getting discharged, you might also find yourself being charged a lot of money for follow-up visits or rehabilitation.
None of this is covered by MediShield Life, but will be covered by Raffles Shield so long as it falls within the pre- and post-hospitalisation time limits.
Should you get Raffles Shield?
If you are fine with using Raffles Hospital, the Raffles Shield A with Raffles Hospital Option can be a cost-effective way to be able to afford private hospital care.
Otherwise, all the Raffles Shield plans offer decent coverage at reasonable prices at all three tiers with above-average pre- and post-hospitalisation cover, provided you are willing to go to one of the private hospitals on their panel or a public/restructured hospital. They’re not the absolute cheapest, but they do offer good value-for-money.
Note that you will need to go through a panel for the upper-tier plans, but we’ve found this to be increasingly common among insurers. It’s a bit of a hassle, but think of it as a way to keep your insurance premiums in check.
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Photo by Martha Dominguez de Gouveia on Unsplash