If you were going to pick a place to live as an expat family, Singapore is ranked as one of the best locations in the world. HSBC’s own Expat Explorer survey ranks Singapore as the number one place in the world for expats, and third in terms of its family ranking. Both school and childcare quality are among the best around the globe, and the country counts itself among one of the cleanest and safest places to live, anywhere.
One thing that many expat families need, wherever in the world they live, is comprehensive family insurance. In the Lion City, your medical options are advanced and expert, but they can sometimes be costly. Having Singapore family insurance can help your family meet these costs, and often help streamline the care you and your dependents may need. Our sponsor, Pacific Prime Singapore, this week discusses the ins and outs of medical coverage for families.
What is family insurance?
If we’re being honest, a family insurance plan is not really that different to individual health cover. Most insurance products these days, especially in Singapore, can be flexible enough to help you tailor coverage and a premium cost that suits your needs. That said, there are always certain things that families will need that a single individual might not, so here’s what to consider when you’re looking for a Singapore family insurance plan:
Adjusting the deductible
The deductible is the price you’re willing to pay when you require care, before your insurer covers the rest. Why might you agree to this instead of having your insurer cover all of your costs? Because a deductible can make your overall premium price cheaper. Deciding upon an appropriate deductible level for your family can be difficult, and you’ll need to think about:
- How often do I expect that my dependents will need medical care?
- Do they need any expensive treatments during the year?
- How much is my healthcare budget?
If you know your children suffer colds frequently, or they’re prone to bouts of hay fever or allergy attacks, then you’ll want to weigh up how much a deductible will cost you over a year against having a fully covered outpatient plan. Those who know their family generally visit the doctor less, might find paying a higher deductible cheaper than paying for full coverage.
Location, location, location
Nearly all insurers will have a network of providers they either suggest or require clients use when seeking care. The benefit to insurance providers is that they can negotiate cheaper treatment and care rates with those deemed in-network. For you, the benefit can be that making claims for care with in-network providers can be quick and simple. Insurer networks are a great way of controlling costs, and ensuring efficient care when needed.
The downside to networks is that they may not be conveniently located near your home, your work, or your children’s school. If you have your own transportation, this may not be an issue. But if you need to have easy access to a hospital, clinic, or specialist, you’ll need to check that the network your family insurance plan provides meets your needs.
Outpatient visit and family doctors
When it comes to inpatient vs outpatient use, children are usually higher users of outpatient services through GPs and family doctors. On occasion, there may be a need to frequent a hospital for a school sports sprain, or a serious tummy bug, but for the most part, outpatient care is generally more important for families.
Insurance plans come with different levels of coverage for inpatient and outpatient care, so being clear about what care is covered is important. Check the outpatient benefits schedule to ensure that your children will be covered for everything you might expect they’ll need. There’s nothing worse than having a sick or injured child, then finding out your insurance won’t help them out.
Families that vaccinate their children will find Singapore family insurance plans that offer coverage for them. Often, coverage comes with a limit – there’s not many insurers that will offer full coverage for vaccinations. It may be that your insurer will offer an annual benefit of up to USD 700, where any extra will be required to be paid out of pocket. You’ll need to keep this in mind when selecting a plan.
There is also often a waiting period attached to many vaccination benefits. 12 months is common, meaning that your insurance company will not pay out for things like flu or immunisation shots until after a year is up.
Some, not all, insurers will offer discounts to families with multiple children. This may be in the form of reduced premiums per child/member on your family health insurance plan, or simply a case of parents only having to pay for the first two children; any subsequent children are covered for free. This is not a guarantee, however, and will depend on the insurer and the plan you choose.
If you and your partner find you are already covered by an employer-provided health insurance plan, it might be that your child or children need their own plan. This can often be the case when Singaporean employee benefits plans restrict extending coverage to dependents. Child-alone plans allow parents to secure appropriate health coverage for their children separately.
Again, this is not something offered by all insurers. Some choose not to offer child-alone plans, and will simply provide a standard individual health insurance product instead. If you’re in the market for a child-alone plan, you’ll need to know which companies will provide them.
Finding the best Singapore family insurance provider
Regardless of whether you’re new to Singapore or you’ve been here for a while, understanding the insurance market and the products available to secure your family’s health can be a big task. The internet is a great place to find helpful information, but your family’s best choice would be to use an experienced, independent health insurance broker.
Pacific Prime Singapore has been helping expats secure adequate medical coverage and family insurance for over a decade. As an independent broker, you can be sure that the outcomes for you and your loved ones are at the centre of their decision making – not the profit of the insurers. Their experienced advisors can work with you to find the most appropriate plan available, at a price that meets your budget.