Should we buy private Integrated Shield Plans, since Singapore’s subsidised healthcare is world-class?

Our CEO and Chief Investment Officer, Chuin Ting Weber, shares her perspectives on Integrated Shield Plans.
3 May 2024

Note on terminology: A private ISP does not = private hospital coverage.

There are ISPs for B1 and A-class Government wards. Just that the portion that “tops up” MediShield Life is with private insurers.

The recent debate in the news is about the “private private” ISPs – being able to continue with one’s chosen private specialists that fall out of an insurer’s panel. All government specialists are on the panels.

Back to the question.

𝗬𝗘𝗦, consider buying an ISP, even if you intend to use B2/C wards, because:

  1. MediShield Life has sub-limits to each cost type. These may not catch up to medical inflation quickly enough, and you’ll have to pay more out-of-pocket.

    That’s why the Government announced recently that they are reviewing MediShield Life.

  2. Dialysis. Perhaps not everyone knows this, but you can’t choose subsidised dialysis the same way you choose a subsidised B2/C ward.

    There is means testing to qualify to use NKF. My late father was a dialysis patient for 3.5 years. Because mum was working, he didn’t qualify. Helpfully, he had an ISP that covered a good part of the $3000/mth bill.

  3. Coverage of pre & post-hospitalisation bills, waiting times & choice of doctors

    IMPORTANT: Even if your company provides insurance, you still need your own ISP. You may not be able to get your own ISP if you have health issues before you leave or retire from your company.

What’s the strategy for choosing an ISP?

  1. Buy the highest coverage you can afford first. Downgrade later if you can’t.

    But keep all life and health insurance to <15% of take-home income (MAS’ Basic Financial Planning Guide).

  2. Buy as early as possible, when you DON’T need it.

    Insurance is one thing on which you don’t want to have a return! Once you have ANY health problems (or even put on weight), you can’t buy or upgrade anymore.

    It’s not wasted: you are insuring your insurability.

  3. Don’t go for neither-here-nor-there plans!

    Recently, there’s a new “starter” type of cheap “private private ISP” that limits claims to $20k/yr. One private surgery can easily bust this. Then you are worse off than if you just got the B-ward plan. It does its job:

  4. Do your homework

    If you are concerned about being upsold (yes, the Shield plan is a door opener for more insurance sales), do some homework yourself, and maybe buy it online.

    MOH has already done a comparison:

With warmest regards,

Chuin Ting Weber, CFP®, CFA, CAIA
CEO and Chief Investment Officer

While every reasonable care is taken to ensure the accuracy of information provided, no responsibility can be accepted for any loss or inconvenience caused by any error or omission. The information and opinions expressed herein are made in good faith and are based on sources believed to be reliable but no representation or warranty, express or implied, is made as to their accuracy, completeness or correctness. Expressions of opinions or estimates should neither be relied upon nor used in any way as indication of the future performance of any financial products, as prices of assets and currencies may go down as well as up and past performance should not be taken as indication of future performance. The author and publisher shall have no liability for any loss or expense whatsoever relating to investment decisions made by the reader.


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