Why you should top-up your health insurance in Singapore ?

Healthcare in Singapore

Expatriates often benefit from a local cover provided by their employer, which is quite comfortable since there’s no need to take care of it. Once you moved, you come across unexpected needs and have to deal with expensive medical costs, which won’t be reimbursed by your insurer. This may be the case for maternity or dental care. To avoid those upsetting situations, good top-up insurance is essential.

 

Limited local coverage

In your country of origin, you may benefit from complete health coverage, which reimburses a great part of your expenses without you worrying about it. In Singapore, however, health coverage is limited. Even if it’s an advantage to have your employer taking care of your health insurance, it is most of the time only a “basic” cover, covering a small part of your accident and emergency or surgery expenses. Another example is that local policies generally don’t take over maternity or expenses for a treatment against severe diseases. Note that a cancer treatment in Singapore costs between SGD 150,000 and SGD 400,000.

Last but not least, don’t focus on the annual upper limit of your employer’s cover, which may seem high but don’t reflect the real efficiency of your policy. You’d rather pay attention to the sublimits, especially for hospitalisation since you are likely to pay a great amount of the total bill with your local coverage.

Reimbursement

With your local health insurance in Singapore you will have to pay directly your medical expenses. This is no big deal when visiting a GP but a huge problem for many when paying for hospitalisation. In the case of a surgery or an emergency, not everyone is able to take dozens of thousands right away out of the pocket. Indeed, health in Singapore is costly and your local insurance won’t reimburse your medical expenses quickly: expect 3 weeks up to 3 months.
By topping-up your health cover, you benefit from an international health cover and a cashless network of medical professionals all over the world, even for emergencies and hospitalisation. This service is provided by Sing’Expat, the health insurance for expatriates in Singapore.

Extended benefits

Compare to a local policy, an international top-up insurance offers many benefits: your benefits apply not only in Singapore but also all over the world, while local insurers set very strict rules about it. Thanks to your top-up insurance you can be admitted cashless to a hospital in whatever country you are (if it appears on the list specified in your policy) or visit a GP in your country of origin and get reimbursed.
Moreover, with your top-up cover you can choose a deductible for hospitalisation only, which will increase the sublimit of your local cover. This doesn’t prevent you from paying the medical fees in advance (as agreed in your local policy) but will guarantee that everything above the amount of that deductible will be directly and totally covered. Thanks to this top-up insurance, you avoid to cover twice the same risks, thus optimizing your premium.
Another benefit: your top-up insurance includes repatriation for medical reasons, which is essential when you live abroad and may save you dozens of thousands of dollars.
Finally, you will be able to reach an adviser here in Singapore, who can make you a personalized quote and find an answer to all of your questions.

How to choose my top-up insurance ?

Now that you know all the benefits you can get from top-up insurance, how can you pick the best one from all the offers on the market?
Your friends and colleagues may advise you but note that regarding insurance, everyone’s needs are different and you may not be happy with their policy. Of course, you can choose a top-up cover from a different company than your local insurer. However, don’t fall for the cheap too-good-to-be-true offers on the market. Chances are high that the cover will not meet your expectations and you will end up in the same situation as without top-up insurance.
A good top-up insurance can appear costly but will save you more money than you think in case of unpredicted events.

Need help to define your needs and find the best offer? Our April Singapore Expat advisers are here for you.

If you want to know more:

Read our article about all the benefits of having an expat health insurance in Singapore.

Date of publication Feb 12 2016