Sunday, May 31, 2009

Shield Plan Comparison

I always advocate to my clients on the importance of having a good medical coverage. I don't understand why some people will choose to spend that extra $20/mth on good food or shopping but save that similar $20 on a medical insurance.

However, most of my clients are confused because they have no idea how a shield plan works and what are the difference between the different insurers. I believe many advisers themselves are not sure as well.

I try to provide some info for you today but pls note that these info is not a comprehensive guide and can only be used for your quick reference. The data are updated as of today and I'll try not to clatter too many items and hence summarizes for you as below:

* I'd used the "As Charged" Private Hospital plans as the basis for comparison. I'm not going through every single point but will highlight one or two more significant ones for you.

NTUC Income
* Lowest Premium for most ages
* Provide Letter of gurantee (condition applies)
Great Eastern
* Highest Final Expenses Benefit at $7,000
* Only insurer that did not put a unlimited lifetime benefit
* Lowest Day Surgery Deductible. $1,500 for Subsidized and $2,000 for non-Sub. Most insurers deductible stands at $3k for day surgery.
* Do not cover congenital abnormalities for kids but upto $5k for mother's policy for newborn below 1 yrs old.
* Allows for moratorium underwriting
* Free Plan 2 for children below 20 yrs old when both parents on Plan 1 or 2.
* Highest premium for all ages
* Also provide for LOG (condition applies)

How about the Riders?
Riders are added to the main plan to cover the deductible and Co-insurance so that we do not need to worry about the smaller bills below $2k or $3k.
However, insurers have made these riders more complicating by adding many features which we do not know if we really need or not.

Let me try summarise for you below:
a) Prudential, Great Eastern and AIA are able to give 100% coverage because they cover both deductible and Co-insurance
b) NTUC Income covers Deductible but not Co-insurance. Eg. For any bill size, NTUC Income will cover 90% and Policyholder 10%. However Policyholder co-payment is capped at $3,000 for their plan preferred.
c) Aviva covers the Co-insurance but not the deductible. Eg, For any bill size, Aviva will only start to pay provided policyholder pay up to $3,000 first.

Now comparing the 3 companies that gives 100%
* Prudential Hospital Benefit for lower ward stay seems good
* GE and Pru emergency outpatient treatment looks attractive but I wonder what is the chance of emergency yet only outpatient treatment.
* AIA post hospital home nursing benefit is certainly useful for those with mobility problem on discharge.
* In short, AIA provide the basics and you pay the least

e) How about the other 2?
* Aviva is the least comprehensive of all riders. The $3k deductible applies every policy year and if the condition is a prolonged one, policyholder will not lose out.
* Children free under plan 2 when parents under plan 1 or 2. Depends if you really want your children to be under a lower plan when you are on a higher one?
* The $300/day hospital benefit for staying in the lower ward is the highest among all insurer.
* For those who do not mind self-insuring himself or herself a larger portion of the bill and save by getting the free coverage for children, Aviva will be a good choice.
* NTUC Income stands in the middle between Aviva and the rest by covering 90% of a bill capping at $3k.
* The cover is rather comprehensive and premium are reasonable across all age group.

Which one the best?
* There will not be an answer because everyone view each benefits different. Some wants the least, some wants the most, some wants in between. Your adviser will guide you along in your decision.

The above information is not a comprehensive guide and may not be 100% accurate. It contains much of my personal opinion and you are free to agree or disagree with them.


Anonymous said...

Thank you Adrian. This comparison is very useful. May I know which plan are you current under?

Khiat Han Hwee Adrian said...

I'm under the incomeshield Plan preferred with the 100% plus rider. Too bad that NTUC Income had removed this 100% rider.

Anonymous said...

Hi Adrian,
your article comes at a very good timing as I am reviewing my insurance policies now. after I read your article, I have a few questions:
1) what is the use of LOG?
2) I am leaning toward NTUC mainly because of cost. Is there any major downside?
3) Would you suggest a rider that goes with the plan?

Khiat Han Hwee Adrian said...

1) LOG can be requested from the insurer to waive the need for
partial or full deposit required by the hospital before the hospitalisation or surgery. However there are terms and conditions that applies before LOG can be issued.
2) Major Downside. Not that I can think of except that you cannot get yourself 100% covered. Getting their insurance is very hard nowadays. They catch you on every minor problem you may have.
3) Getting a rider or not depends on your preference. You might be well covered by your company or you might have a good amount of Medisave which you feel you can self-insure upon. However, if you feel that its better to be secure the rider while still healthy, its fine too.

Ah-pete said...

Hi adrian, thru this comparison i am impressed that you are not biased in term of comparing. Bcoz by putting up such tables, pru appears to be quite good and i understand that ifa don't sell pru. So if client want a 100% coverage, he/she will have to choose pru other than the coy you represented..

Roland said...

Hi Adrian,

Thanks for your getting nervous about your statement of "harder to get" payout from NTUC!

Khiat Han Hwee Adrian said...

What I mean is getting an insurance is difficult nowadays. Its not about insurance payout. The underwriting in NTUC Income is very strict. Not easy to get your insurance through.

I'm sorry that I'm not very IT savvy. Still not sure how to make the picture a bit bigger.

Anonymous said...

i heard that GE Shield can cover more pregnancy complications than the other insurance co. shield plans.. is this true? do you have any information on this area? maybe u can email to me..(, thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hi there..
I would like to say that several insurers have already enhanced their plans.
For eg:
GE now provides reimbursement for the Living Donor. :) No other insurer has that at the moment.
Also, if you look further into the individual contracts, NTUC does not cover for experimental drugs (listed under Section U of the Exclusions).
Other things to look out for are:
(1) whether the cancer centres are accredited or not?
(2) how many types of pregnancy complications are covered?
(3) experimental drugs covered, as mentioned above
(4) worldwide coverage available?
Plans are always changing and it is tiring to keep checking on them. I suggest we leave this task to the insurance agent instead. :)

Anonymous said...

precisely... i mean, do we save a lot by compare all these plans? are they really that much different? if they are, won't the one with less coverage and more expensive close down? btw fyi, any idea how much an insurance agent earn from your pocket when you buy shield plan from them? less than $50... please don't treat them like they earn so much $$$ from you... Just be more careful when you entrust your plan to an agent. Get a trustworthy one.

Anonymous said...

Recently, Aviva has upgraded their Shield plan with riders that cover co-ins and deductible. Maybe you like to update your comparison.