Insurance in Singapore can be a tricky business if you’re not familiar enough with it. That being said, it doesn’t mean you have to suffer a headache—avoid insurance woes with this Homage guide to everything you need to know about Integrated Shield Plans!
Singapore’s healthcare system may be one of the best in the world, but it can still be complicated to understand even for the best of us. While the government provides MediShield Life insurance for us, private companies help to extend this basic universal coverage with their Integrated Shield Plans. Find out everything you need to know about Integrated Shield Plans in this easy-to-understand Homage guide!
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In Singapore, everyone—Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents—is covered for medical insurance under a basic health insurance scheme called MediShield Life. The scheme offers universal and lifelong protection against exorbitant healthcare bills, without discrimination based on age or health condition. The scheme works by pooling premiums from citizens and permanent residents of a similar age cohort in insurance against any one person suffering a huge healthcare bill.
What is an Integrated Shield Plan?
Now, if the government already provides basic universal healthcare insurance, then what do private healthcare insurance providers have to offer us?
The answer is that they provide extended coverage in the form of Integrated Shield Plans. Integrated Shield Plans comprise of two components:
This is the basic health insurance coverage that everyone is provided with by default and it is administered by the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board
Additional Private Insurance Coverage
The additional coverage is typically intended to cover A/B1 type wards in public and private hospitals which the basic MediShield Life Plan does not cover
For simplicity’s sake, you can imagine MediShield as a standard sized umbrella that everyone is provided with by default. Integrated Shield Plans are extra big umbrellas that provide extra coverage with MediShield’s coverage already included within. Of course, it’s not necessary to get a bigger umbrella just because someone else has one; instead choose one that suits you and is just right for your size when it rains. The same goes for Integrated Shield Plans!
Additional private insurance coverage
The additional private insurance coverage provided by Integrated Shield Plans generally falls into four different plan categories, depending on the exact type of additional private insurance coverage they provide:
1. Standard Integrated Shield Plans (for Public Hospital Class B1 Coverage
- AIA HealthShield Gold Max Standard Plan
- Singlife with Aviva Singlife Shield Standard Plan
- AXA Shield Standard Plan
- Great Eastern GREAT SupremeHealth STANDARD
- Income IncomeShield Standard Plan
- Prudential PRUShield Standard Plan
- Raffles Shield Standard Plan
2. Class B1 Plans
- AIA HealthShield Gold Max B Lite
- Singlife with Aviva Singlife Shield Plan 3
- Great Eastern GREAT SupremeHealth B Plus
- Income Enhanced IncomeShield Basic
- Raffles Shield B
3. Class A Plans
- AIA HealthShield Gold Max B
- Singlife with Aviva Singlife Shield Plan 2
- AXA Shield Plan B
- Great Eastern GREAT SupremeHealth A Plus
- Income Enhanced IncomeShield Advantage
- Prudential PRUShield Plus
- Raffles Shield A
Steps to check if you have an Integrated Shield Plan
If you’re unsure whether you already have an Integrated Shield Plan, here’s how you can check:
1. Download the SingPass App
A SingPass login is necessary to access your CPF profile. Simply head to the official website and you can download it on any smartphone through Apple’s App Store, Android’s Google Play, or Huawei’s App Gallery.
2. Login to the CPF Healthcare Dashboard
Login to the Healthcare Dashboard
3. Check for Existing Integrated Shield Plans
Once you login, you should be able to access this page with the following information:
[Image from CPF Healthcare Dashboard]
Comparison of Integrated Shield Plans
Standard Integrated Shield Plans are identical across all insurers and provide the exact same coverage.
Here’s what you can expect from a Standard Integrated Shield Plan from any private insurance provider in Singapore:
|Other Policy Features|
|Pro-ration factors (for Singapore Citizens) (Note (1))||Class A - 80% Private Hospital - 50%|
Private Hospital Day Surgery - 65% Outpatient treatment in Private Outpatient Clinics - 65%
|Deductibles (Per Policy Year) (Note (2))|
|Class A and Private Hospital||2,500|
|Subsidised Day Surgery/ Short Stay Wards||1,500|
|Unsubsidised Day Surgery/ Short Stay Wards||2,000|
|Policy Year Limit||200,000|
|Final Expense Benefit||None|
|Last Entry Age||None|
|Maximum Coverage Age||Lifetime|
For detailed comparisons of the different Integrated Shield Plans available across each category for all insurers, you can refer to the MOH website here.
Deductibles And Co-Insurance
While most of us would be familiar with the concept of insurance and how premiums work to spread risk for us, other terms like deductibles and co-insurance might be a bit more complicated to understand.
Here’s a quick breakdown:
A deductible is the amount of money you have to pay for any medical expense you incur before your health insurance kicks in and makes a payout to you. Deductibles are typically only required to be paid once per policy year. They also tend to be higher in insurance plans that have lower premiums. Do note that after paying for your deductible, you may still be required to pay for your co-payment or co-insurance, depending on your plan.
Co-insurance, or co-payment as it is commonly known, is the amount that you have to co-pay or split the cost with the insurer after paying your deductible. It is usually calculated as a percentage; if your co-insurance is 15% then you pay 15% of the amount remaining after the deductible.
Your Medisave can be used to pay for deductibles and co-insurance, up to the prevailing limits.
Integrated Shield Plan Premiums
Of course, as a rule of thumb, since Integrated Shield Plans provide extended coverage relative to MediShield Life, their premiums cost more.
Premiums also increase over time as you age.
For detailed comparisons of Integrated Shield Plan premiums across insurers, click here.
What to consider when getting an Integrated Shield Plan?
When it comes to insurance, it’s wise not to simply follow the crowd and buy an Integrated Shield Plan just because you’ve observed many people or your friends doing so. It is important to consider what your actual healthcare needs and preferences are.
For example, a quick look at some of the benefits different Integrated Shield Plans offer across categories for a single insurer already has significant differences.
HealthShield Gold Max B Lite
Integrated Shield Plan for Class B1 in Public Hospitals
HealthShield Gold Max A
Integrated Shield Plan for Private Hospitals
HealthShield Gold Max B
Integrated Shield Plan for Class A in Public Hospitals
|Inpatient and Day Surgery:|
|Daily Ward and Treatment Charges|
|- Normal ward||As charged||As charged||As charged|
|- Intensive Care Unit Ward|
(Additional post-hospitalisation psychiatric treatment of 1,000/yr within 200 days after Confinement)
|5,000/yr (Additional post-hospitalisation|
psychiatric treatment of 5,000/yr within 200 days after Confinement)
|4,000/yr (Additional post-hospitalisation|
psychiatric treatment of 2,500/yr within 200 days after Confinement)
|- Community Hospital||As charged||As charged||As charged|
|- Inpatient Palliative Care||As charged||As charged||As charged|
|Surgical Procedures||As charged||As charged||As charged|
|Continuation of Autologous Bone Marrow Transplant Treatment for Multiple Myeloma (Note (12))||As charged||As charged||As charged|
It would be wise to speak to a doctor and get to know your own specific medical condition and understand your own personal healthcare preferences before coming to a decision.
Are Integrated Shield Plans really worth it?
The main draw of Integrated Shield Plans is that they provide extra coverage and options if you prefer seeking out private healthcare or higher classes of wards during a hospital stay.
As caregivers, we may also find ourselves in the position of having to help our loved ones decide what kind of insurance is suitable for them. If you have an elderly loved one, then you may feel more at ease choosing an Integrated Shield Plan that provides coverage for admission into a private hospital.
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Private hospitals after all, come with better furnished wards/rooms and amenities. You would also have shorter waiting times of less than an hour and have the freedom to choose your own doctor. If these are important considerations for you and you have the means to afford them, then Integrated Shield Plans may be a good choice for you.
Are there any restrictions to buying Integrated Shield Plans?
There are no restrictions on who can buy an Integrated Shield Plan. All Singaporeans and Permanent Residents are eligible to do so.
In fact, foreigners can purchase Integrated Shield Plans as well although they are not covered by MediShield Life.
An important thing to note is that unlike MediShield, Integrated Shield Plans does not cover pre-existing medical conditions. This means that if you’re diagnose with diabetes and you purchase your insurance plan after your diagnosis, you will not be able to claim any medical or hospitalisation bills that result from the diagnosed medical condition. Hence, it is important to ensure that you get your hospitalisation plan early so that you’re covered for all medical conditions.
How should I finance my Integrated Shield Plan?
Given that premiums for Integrated Shield Plans increase over time and with age, it is important that you consider how you can continue financing your Integrated Shield Plan as you age should you wish to retain its coverage.
It is recommended that you have a healthy savings plan and financial lifestyle that takes into account this goal. You may wish to consult your insurance agent or financial advisor to best think about what the appropriate financial goals and minimum insurance coverage you may need at every stage of your life. Buy wisely!
How should I handle claims disputes with my insurer?
In any case, you should try to resolve the dispute with your insurer privately at the first instance.
Common reasons for why insurers may reject your claim include:
- Your claim amount is less than the deductible
- Your medical condition or injury is excluded from the policy
- General exclusions like pregnancy and maternity costs
If you find yourself unable to come to a satisfactory conclusion, you may consider the following approaches depending on the type of dispute:
If your dispute is of a contractual nature, you may wish to consider approaching the Financial Industry Disputes Resolution Centre (FIDReC). The FIDReC is an independent and impartial institution that is intended to help arbitrate consumer financial disputes by providing mediation and adjudication services. Whether you are an individual or a business proprietor, FIDReC’s services are accessible to you so long as you are disputing claims against licensed financial institutions that subscribe to FIDReC.
Before filing a dispute with the FIDReC, you must approach your insurer first. If they are unable to resolve your dispute satisfactorily, you may then proceed to file a claim with FIDReC. You must do so within six months of receiving a finally reply from your insurer.
The FIDRec may also help you in disputes involving misrepresentation, service lapses, or mis-selling.
You can find out more about the FIDReC here.
For disputes of a clinical nature, you may wish to undergo the Clinical Claims Resolution Process (CCRP). The CCRP was established as a mechanism to help resolve claim disputes between private Integrated Shield Plan policyholders, medical practitioners, and medical institutions.
The CCRP can help you facilitate the resolution of clinical claim disputes that relate to unfair rejection of claims for medically appropriate treatment or procedures, as well as concerns of overcharging and over-servicing by medical institutions and practitioners.
Do note, however, that the CCRP is a voluntary process. All parties involved must mutually agree to participate and enter into a contractual agreement to abide and respect the decision outcome of the CCRP Panel. Of course, all parties involved should try to resolve the dispute privately at first instance.
The CCRP is administered by an Academy of Medicine Secretariat. You may file your dispute online here.
Now that you know more about Integrated Shield Plans, we hope that you’re ready to make your decision, or feel free to approach anyone in the Homage team for further advice!
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- Ministry of Health, Singapore. (n.d.). MOH | About Integrated Shield Plans. Retrieved July 25, 2022, from
- Ministry of Health, Singapore. (n.d.). MOH | About Integrated Shield Plans. Retrieved July 25, 2022, from https://www.moh.gov.sg/cost-financing/healthcare-schemes-subsidies/medishield-life/about-integrated-shield-plans
- Health insurance terms: Know what you’re paying for. (n.d.). MoneySense. Retrieved August 1, 2022, from https://www.moneysense.gov.sg/articles/2018/10/health-insurance-terms-know-what-youre-paying-for