Life Insurance

Here’s Why You Still Need to Buy Insurance Instead of Just Relying on MediShield Life


Peter Lin



Ever since MediShield Life took effect on November 1st, every Singaporean Citizen and PR (whether you even live in the country or not) is now covered by it. But just in case you’re tempted to think that means there’s no need to worry about your health anymore and that insurance agents are now all out of work, be sure not to make one of the biggest mistakes of your life.


But first things first… what is MediShield Life?

If the words “MediShield Life” have crossed your Facebook news feed so often this week that your brain is now registering it as spam, feel free to skip this section. But if you’re not quite sure exactly what MediShield Life does for you, read on.


1. MediShield Life is the upgraded MediShield – wider coverage, better benefits

MediShield Life is the new basic health insurance plan that all Singaporean Citizens and PRs are now covered by. You’re automatically included, and no, you can’t opt out. But why would you want to?

Compared to the old MediShield, which was so basic that you probably needed to buy other health insurance policies just to feel more secure about falling sick, MediShield Life promises better benefits, such as higher subsidies for your hospital bill.

2. Better benefits come with higher premiums

Yes, MediShield Life is going to cost you more. An improved nationwide health insurance plan needs to be funded somehow, and if you think the Government was going to pay for all of it then please excuse me while I laugh like a hyena.

But in all seriousness, the premiums will never be so high that they’re unaffordable. Even for the less well-off and the elderly, the government will be providing subsidies and support if they’re unable to pay the premiums. No one on MediShield Life will lose coverage because they can’t afford it.

3. Who will benefit from it?

Any Singaporean Citizen and PR who falls seriously ill or needs hospitalisation. So really, the only people who should be complaining about paying higher premiums for MediShield Life, are those who never, ever get cancer, need kidney dialysis or get hospitalised for the rest of your life. And if that’s the case, then you really should have no reason to complain.

4. But MediShield Life isn’t enough on its own

MediShield Life is a health insurance policy. It doesn’t cover death, or total permanent disability. For that, you’ll need life insurance.


What is life insurance and why is it different from health insurance like MediShield Life?

Life insurance protects you and your loved ones if something serious happens to you like death or total permanent disability. More importantly, good life insurance policies also cover critical illnesses like cancer, heart attack, stroke and kidney failure. In all, there are 37 critical illnesses in the common insurance industry definition.


But wait… didn’t you say MediShield Life covers cancer treatment and kidney dialysis?

Yes, but MediShield Life only helps you by subsidising your treatment costs. When you have major illnesses like cancer, there are a lot more factors to consider than just your treatment.

For example, as a consequence of the ongoing treatment, you may find yourself needing to take time off from work or change your lifestyle in order to adjust to your new situation. This can result in a loss of income and may affect your cashflow if you’re not prepared. Good critical illness coverage will immediately pay you a lump sum when you are first diagnosed in order to help you through these difficult times.


Okay, this is all easy to say, but wouldn’t such insurance policies be expensive?

Not if you get term insurance. Term insurance is the most basic of all life insurance policies. Not many people consider it because it doesn’t give you anything back in return. Simply put, it doesn’t double up as a long-term investment. Supposedly, not many insurance agents push it to their clients either, because it doesn’t earn them much commission. But, as a result, it’s significantly more affordable compared to whole life insurance.

Say you need a term insurance that covers death, total permanent disability and critical illnesses for 20 years. The premiums would only set you back by as little as $300 a year. That’s definitely value for money for peace of mind.


So ideally, I should get term insurance on top of MediShield Life?

Essentially, yes. MediShield Life will help subsidise your inpatient and outpatient treatment and day surgery costs. For life, with no lifetime limit. And everyone is covered, even those considered “uninsurable” by insurance industry standards.

It’s a really bold move that far surpasses the old MediShield plan, but ultimately, MediShield Life doesn’t help you much if you’re dead or suffering total permanent disability or a critical illness. So give your insurance agent a call and find out what policy you’re currently covered by.

How do you feel about MediShield Life? Let us know.

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Peter Lin

I am the poster boy for reinventing one's self. I've been a broadcast journalist, technical writer, banking customer service officer and a Catholic friar. My life experiences have made me the most cynical idealist you'll ever meet, which is why I'm also the co-founder of a local pop culture website. I believe ignorance is not bliss, and that money is the root of all evil only if you allow it to be.

  • Sylvester

    Actually I’ve been hearing a lot about “insurance agent don’t recommend term policies much because it doesn’t earn them much commission”. That’s totally untrue. In fact, most term insurance pays higher comm than whole life policies with certain insurers. Truly out of curiosity, where did the author get this info from?

    • Hi Sylvester, great question.

      From what I understand, agents selling term life and whole life policies earn a percentage of the premium. As a result, even if term life policies earn a higher percentage in commission compared to whole life, term life will still earn the agent much less because of the significantly lower premium compared to whole life.

      I hope that clarifies!

      • Sylvester

        Thanks for clarification Peter. Another question, shouldn’t we identify our needs and set a budget first, then see what’s the best solution that can cater to our needs?

        It’s like if I can identify that I need a place to stay and I can easily afford $5000 a month, I’ll definitely choose a condo in a prime area over a one room flat with a 30 years lease left. Both are solutions to my needs and the latter is definitely cheaper, but I’ll still choose the former since its within my budget, and it gives me so much more.

        So do you agree that it is more logical to set a budget to cater for future use? If yes, am I right to say with the same budget, term plans actually pays a higher comm to the agent?

        • Sylvia Tan

          Hi Sylvester, you’re right to point out that one should identify his needs then set a budget to address his needs. If you’ll like to know how to do that, please contact me at 96959690. You can also connect with me on Facebook or LinkedIn

  • Gabriel Tham

    what about for older people around age of 60+? shld they still get the critical illness insurance at that age? its going to be extremely expensive to buy in so late too

  • Ray Ang

    i dont understand what is the point of having a national medical insurance plan that “isn’t that much help” in the event of “total permanent disability or a critical illness”. I don’t need insurance for my cold, i need it for cancer.

    • Agnes Lew Xin Yi

      Hey Ray, Medishield life is more important because it really helps those in the lower income category. If you’re looking for comprehensive coverage such as cancer, you can not do without a life plan. Feel free to message me if you want to know more on how it works!

      • Ray Ang

        And the same question is asked again Agnes. What happens when the lower income folks get cancer or total disability? And they don’t have term life insurance? What use is MediShield life for the really disastrous situations?

  • Testuser

    Can you write up on the standard IP too?

  • Vince

    Many have a misconception that medishield life is sufficient for hospitalisation and surgical needs. Think again. Look at the schedule you can claim from medishield life…. $2k max for surgery and with limits too? Ask yourself is it sufficient? Probably you may want to upgrade to the integrated shield plan first.