When the word “insurance” comes up, most people instinctively think about life insurance or hospitalisation insurance. But when the conversation shifts to pregnancy, you may find that most people, especially anxious mothers-to-be, to be the least bit familiar with maternity insurance.
Loosely speaking, maternity or pregnancy Insurance is a type of insurance that provides financial protection for both the mother and the soon-to-be-born child during the pregnancy term. But as we all know, insurance products can get complicated very quickly, especially with so many types and brands available in the market!
Most maternity insurance includes standard protection for the Mum-to-be to help ease the cost of treatment arising from possible pregnancy complications. The protection is usually extended to the baby as well, covering congenital illnesses for a short period of time after the baby is born. Some policies also include hospital care benefit payout in cases where the mother and the newborn have to be hospitalised for observation after the birth.
Do note that there is a misconception that maternity insurance also covers the cost of hospitalisation, surgical or medical expenses of the birth – these are usually covered under your medical insurance plans. Singaporeans will be able to enjoy subsidised rate and use their Medisave to help cover some of the prenatal and delivery expenses, but most maternity insurance policies here do not cover that. The only ones which cover such costs are usually expat maternity insurance that includes routine scans, delivery costs, hospital stay and new born care. However, such plans typically require a waiting period of 10 to 24 months. These make sense for foreigners who are living in Singapore and are intending to bring up their child here since they will not be getting subsidised rate, bringing the total cost of their pregnancy(without complications) to easily exceed $15,000.
The information below(from Ministry of Health) refers to typical costs in public and private hospitals. B2 ward types in public hospitals are subsidised and Singapore Citizens, as well as SPR, can use their Medisave to pay for it, subject to withdrawal limits.
Keep in mind that these are delivery costs as billed by the hospitals and do not include the anaesthetists and doctor’s fees which would be added on top of the costs shown below.
Since most people may not be too familiar with the coverage options in maternity insurance, let us take a look at some common terms and what you need to look out for when considering one.
As mentioned, certain types of maternity insurance require a waiting period before you can claim for expenses. These typically take between 10 to 24 months. If you have plans to have kids in the near future, it is advised to take up the insurance as soon as you can.
Another type of maternity insurance can only be taken up when the mother is already pregnant – the period is usually stated in the policy and may also require the mother to be within a certain age range. Do also note that a number of policies do not accept those who have used IVF in their attempt to get pregnant.
2. Underwriting of the new-born
You might have heard of how some people cannot qualify to buy certain insurance due to a pre-existing condition? Imagine a baby who is born with complications – which insurer do you think will take up the risk of insuring the new born? This is why it is important to get a maternity insurance that comes with a guaranteed Insurability option. This means that you can transfer the insurance you bought to the child after birth without any insurance underwriting or assessment.
3. Deductibles and Co-payment
It is common to find a “deductible” and “co-insurance” condition in some medical expense insurance policies. These conditions help to keep premiums affordable but the downside is that the policy may not fully cover all expenses.
A deductible is an initial amount you need to pay out of your pocket before you can make a claim. Co-insurance is the amount you need to co-pay or share after you pay the deductible, and it is usually expressed as a percentage. Generally, lower deductibles and co-payments lead to higher premiums. Talk to your insurance advisor to find out how you can get the most value from your plan based on expected usage.
4. Bundled Policies
Quite a number of maternity insurance comes in the form of bundled plans. For instance, the AXA Mum’s Advantage combines an investment plan and medical protection such that the savings benefit can be used to provide for the baby’s financial future. Of course, you can expect the premiums for these types of plans to be higher, so make sure you are clear on your objective when taking up a maternity insurance.
Need more advice on the right type of insurance to get? Feel free to contact us for a chat!