Upcoming Major Changes on Integrated Shield Plans
In the coming two months, there will be two major changes on Integrated Shield Plans in Singapore. Many clients and friends came to ask me relevant questions. To be more efficient for everyone, I listed down the key points about this topic in this article.
First Change: Adjustments on MediShield Life
My article last October introduced possible changes on MediShield Life. These changes will be effective from 1 Mar 2021. Since MediShield Life is part of an Integrated Shield Plan, the changes on MediShield Life will also be reflected on Integrated Shield Plans. For Integrated Shield Plan policy holders, the most relevant effect is the increase on premium.
According to this adjustment, the increment on Integrated Shield Plan premium is the same as the increment on MediShield Life premium. If the life assured is a Singapore Citizen, PR or a dependent of a Singapore Citizen or PR, the increment can be paid by CPF Medisave. If the life assure is not in either one of the three categories above, the increment will need to be paid by cash.
If your Integrated Shield Plan is being renewed after 1 Mar 2021, an introduction about such increase on premium will be included in your renewal notice.
Second Change: To Introduce Co-payment Feature for Almost All the Riders
According to the original plan in 2018, all the Integrated Shield Plan riders with full coverage purchased after 8 Mar 2018 will have a co-payment feature from 1 Apr 2021 onwards. However, to support MOH’s strong recommendation about reasonable healthcare consumption, as of today most insurance companies have decided that even the Integrated Shield Plan riders with full coverage purchased before 8 Mar 2018 will have a co-payment feature from 1 Apr 2021 onwards. Based on my knowledge, there are only two insurance companies who are uncertain about this change: One has not made a formal decision yet; The other may keep the full coverage rider because the premium of its rider is adjusted based on claim experience.
For clients under most of the insurance companies, if your Integrated Shield Plan rider with full coverage is being renewed after 1 Apr 2021, the details about introducing co-payment feature will be included in your renewal notice.
When there is a co-payment feature, Integrated Shield Plan policy holders need to be aware of the following points:
1. Minimum co-insurance. According to the guideline from MOH, when the co-payment feature is introduced, the minimum co-insurance for policy holders is 5%. Policy holders can continue to tap on their CPF MediSave to pay for their co-payment amounts, subject to the MediSave withdrawal limits.
2. The difference between Panel Specialists and Non-panel Specialists in private hospitals. Every insurance company classifies doctors in private hospitals into two groups. One group is Panel Specialists, who have a panel agreement with the insurance company; The other group is the rest of the doctors in private hospitals. If the attending doctor of the life assured in a private hospital is a Panel Specialist, the insurance company will offer more benefits (e.g., there is a cap of $3,000 for the co-payment by the policy holder every year). There is no such classification for doctors in public hospitals. If the life assured chooses to go to a public hospital, the extra benefits on co-payment is the same as seeing a Panel Specialist in a private hospital.
3. Introduction of deductibles. Besides co-insurance, insurance companies also introduce certain deductibles under the co-payment feature. When a deductible is introduced, the insurance company only starts reimbursing a medical bill when the accumulated bills in a year exceeds the deductible amount. Some insurance companies introduce a deductible in the scenario where the life assured sees a Non-panel Specialist in a private hospital. Some insurance companies introduce a deductible to all the hospitalisation and surgeries. You may need to refer to the change in benefits elaborated in your renewal notice for details.
The two changes above are the most significant changes for Integrated Shield Plans in recent years. If you have any relevant questions, welcome contacting me directly for a discussion.