Critical illness insurance pays a lump sum either when you are first diagnosed with a critical illness covered by the policy, or after having a type of surgery covered by the policy. The lump sum does not depend on your admission into hospital or on your actual medical expenses. A critical illness benefit can be sold as a stand-alone plan or policy or be packaged into a life policy or as an optional rider to a life policy.

The types of critical illnesses covered may vary from one insurer to another. But most major illnesses and types of surgery are covered by almost all policies.

These include

  • major cancers,
  • heart attack,
  • coronary artery bypass surgery,
  • stroke and kidney failure.

Do note that:

  • The benefits are paid only if the disease or surgery exactly meets the definition stated in the policy. Definitions of diseases covered by a standard critical illness policy are fixed across all insurance companies in Singapore.
  • There is usually a waiting period for certain diseases or types of surgery. If any disease or type of surgery specified by the policy is diagnosed or carried out during the waiting period, no benefits will be paid.

Some critical illness policies pay a smaller amount for earlier stages of cancer, or make several payments upon diagnosis of different insured critical illnesses, subject to the sum insured or policy limits.



Disability Income Insurance

Disability income insurance pays a fixed amount each month to replace the income you would lose if you are unable to work as a result of an accident or illness. These policies may pay up to 80% of your average monthly salary. The policy aims to ease your financial loss, but will not completely replace the income you earned before the accident or illness.

Do note that:

  • There may be a deferred period during which benefits will not be paid. Benefits are payable only if you are continuously disabled after the deferred period. The monthly income benefit will usually be paid for up to 5 or 10 years, or until you are 60 or 65.
  • The monthly payments are stopped or reduced when you start working again, even if it’s not the same work that you did before your illness or accident. The reduction in benefits may be in proportion to any recovery you make. The insurer will assess your rate of recovery through medical check-ups.
  • Clarify with your insurer how disability is defined in the policy. Some policies may define disability as not being able to perform your usual work. Others may define it as not being able to do any work at all. The amount of premium payable can vary depending on a number of factors, including the definition used. Do check with your insurer for the definitions used in your policy.

Hospital Cash Insurance

Hospital cash insurance pays a fixed amount of money for each day you are hospitalised for medical treatment or surgery. The total amount paid under this policy may be more or less than your actual medical expenses.

Do note that:

  • A hospital cash insurance policy may have a waiting period. This means benefits are paid only after you have been hospitalised for more than a set number of days.
  • Benefits may also be paid for only a fixed number of days each year or the life of the policy. If it’s for a fixed number of days over the life of the policy, the policy will end once the lifetime limit has been reached.

Waiting periods and benefit limits may vary across policies.



Medical Expense Insurance

Medical expense insurance pays for certain medical expenses incurred because of an accident or illness. Medical expenses can arise from any of the following medical treatments or procedures:

  • in-patient medical treatment or surgery,
  • day surgery,
  • consultations with specialists before, during and after the hospital stay,
  • X-rays and laboratory tests.

‘Major’ medical expense insurance will pay expenses for longer hospital stays due to a major illness like cancer or for major surgery such as heart bypass surgery or organ transplant.

Do note that:

  • The policy may not fully pay for actual medical expenses incurred.
  • The policy will usually include limits for each illness, disability, by policy year or lifetime.
  • Certain conditions and pre-existing conditions may be excluded from cover. Treatment that is not for medical reasons may also be excluded.
  • Investigative procedures such as tests / biopsies for diagnosis purposes, for example to detect a specific illness or medical condition may or may not be included.
  • Waiting periods may also apply. If so, expenses will not be paid during the waiting period. See more on Waiting Periods.
  • Some policies may also have ‘deductible’ and ‘co-insurance’ features.
  • With medical expense insurance, the total reimbursement you will get from all your policies is limited to your actual expenses. So buying additional medical expense insurance policies does not necessarily provide extra benefits.



5 thoughts on “Types of Health Insurance In Singapore

  1. July last year, my wife suffered a brain hemorrhage brought about by an AVM. Fortunately she was saved by the quick actions of CGH and the skills of neurosurgeon Dr Ernest Wang of NNI. We had just purchased AIA Hospitalization Insurance for the whole family less than 1 year prior to my wife’s stroke. That was one of the BEST decisions I have ever made. The total cost of the hospital stay, operations and medications and rehabilitation exceeded 100K but all of it was taken care of by the insurance. There was no way I could have afforded the bills otherwise. My advice to all of you out there….get Hospitalization Insurance for your family. You never know…

  2. I had a similar experience. My health insurance is AIA Healthshield Max. One of my kids had a emergency procedure done at a hospital. The claiming process was rather easy. I just informed my insurance agent upon admission so they could alert the claims dept. Upon discharge, the hospital will then E-File the claim and that was it. Whatever deposit I put in initially would be refunded by way of a cheque.In my case, all medical follow up and pharmacy charges would be claimable 100%. This is for the duration of 100 days upon discharge I think. Also I heard that if you have a planned surgery, you can even get your insurance company to issue a Letter of Guarantee that you can present to the hospital upon admission. Then you dont even have to put a deposit.

  3. Can you point me to a website where I can find a comparison of health insurance for Singaporeans (not Medishield) ? I read some information from the websites of MTUC Income, AIA and Aviva but each of them use different terms and descriptions, making it difficult for a lay person like me to do any meaningful comparison.

  4. Hi,

    There are a few questions in this email that need to be answered by taking into account the following background:

    Ms. Kropman

    • Dutch Citizen (European Union Passport Holder)
    • Australian Permanent Resident for the last 30 years (recently surrendered tax residency of Australia)
    • Singapore Employment Pass Holder (now a tax resident of Singapore)

    Mr Khabe :

    • Australian Citizen (Australian Passport Holder)
    • Singapore Employment Pass Holder (tax resident of Singapore)

    Please let me know :

    • What health insurance do Bernadette & Mark need from a Singapore provider to ensure that they are insured if they get sick based in Singapore?

    • What health insurance can they purchase in Singapore that will cover them for frequent travel to and long stays in the UK?


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