In Singapore, all Integrated Shield Plans (IPs) come with the option of purchasing riders.
Before you jump in to purchase it just because your financial advisor says so, let’s first explore what exactly is a rider and its features so you can determine if you have the need for one.
What are Integrated Shield Plan (IP) riders?
Let’s assume you own a bicycle.
For bicycles, you are provided with the choice of purchasing optional “attachments” that can unlock certain features and bring many benefits to your cycling adventures.
For example, attaching a basket in the front allows you to carry your belongings conveniently.
Or if you attach an additional bike seat, you can carry another companion on your cycle!
So, think of these bicycle “attachments” as these IP riders – where they are the optional attachments that can be purchased on top of IPs that provide you benefits like covering most of your medical costs if you get hospitalised.
And just like how you would pay for these attachments, riders would also require additional payments that are stacked on your health insurance premiums.
When selecting the best health insurance policy for yourself, it’s best to consider the available riders offered by each insurer.
Features of IP Riders
IP riders typically exist in 2 ways, in the form of
- Monetary benefits (to offset deductibles and co-insurance) and,
- Medical and miscellaneous benefits (such as early detection screenings or overseas medical treatments, etc.)
Deductibles are specific amounts of your medical expenses that you must first pay out of your own pocket before your insurer can provide you with the claim benefits.
While for co-insurance, it refers to the percentage of your medical bill you would have to pay on top of your deductible.
These are usually in place to reduce over-consumption and can range from 5 to 10% of the remaining amount after the deductible.
If you’re still unfamiliar with the terms “deductibles and co-insurance”, you can read this article to keep yourself informed.
Another feature is that integrated shield plan riders also expire when your IP reaches its end date, or when you reach a specified age – whichever is earlier.
The term of your rider will never be longer than the term of your basic IP since it cannot stand on its own.
There have also been some changes to IP riders since April 2021, which include a new co-payment feature.
Let’s walk through some of these changes.
2021 Changes to IP Riders
As of March 2018, the Ministry of Health (MOH) had announced fee benchmarks that included haltering the sale of full riders.
Full riders refer to those that cover the entire deductible and co-insurance portion of IPs.
These new benchmarks dictate that anyone who is looking to purchase a new rider from April 2021 would now be required to pay at least 5% to 10% of the hospital bill.
This also comes with a cap of $3,000 yearly, provided that you go to your insurer’s approved panel of doctors.
This approved panel of doctors across IP insurers has since increased as well, with potentially more than 1,000 specialists in the private sector – as compared to the previous 200 – 750 doctors.
What caused this change?
The reason was that full riders had not been aligned with the basis of co-payment in healthcare insurance.
It led to many policyholders not paying a single cent regardless of the size of their medical bill which meant over-consumption, over-servicing, and over-charging.
Insurers were suffering from heavy losses, and it was becoming unsustainable in the long run which made it harder to keep health insurance affordable!
How will this affect policyholders?
What’s reassuring for policyholders is that you’ll still be able to tap onto MediSave to pay the co-payment amount under the riders.
What happens if I have an existing IP with a full rider?
Since 1 April 2019, new shield plan riders sold would have already been mandated to include a minimum 5% co-payment.
Otherwise, there can be 2 scenarios.
|You purchased an existing IP with a full rider with falls between MOH’s period of announcement, 8 March 2018 – 31 March 2019)||Your IP insurer should have informed you of the changes accordingly and transitioned into the new co-payment riders by 1 April 2021.|
|You purchased a full rider before 8 March 2018||If you had purchased a full rider before the announcement, you should have already been subjected to the co-payment rules by now.
If there are inclusions, your IP insurer must explain these changes at least 30 days before they are taken into effect.
Comparison of IP Riders in Singapore
Now that we’re up to date on rider features and their recent changes, let’s move on to talk about the IP riders offered by respective insurers in Singapore! And of course, their annual *premiums!
*Premium rates shown will be annual rates for age next birthday (26-30)
|Insurer||IP Riders||Annual *Premium Rates for age next birthday (26 – 30)||Deductibles
[For ages 80 and below, as of age next birthday]
|AIA||AIA Max VitalCare Rider
(Previously known as AIA Max Essential A)
|Not Publicly Available||Not Publicly Available||Not Publicly Available|
|AIA Max Essential Rider|
|AIA Max VitalHealth Rider|
|AXA||AXA Enhanced Care
(Previously AXA Basic Care, AXA General Care, and AXA Home Care)
|AXA Shield Standard Plan – $150
AXA Shield Plan B – $195
AXA Shield Plan A – $300
|AXA Shield Standard Plan – $1,500 ~ $2,500
AXA Shield Plan B – $1,500 ~ $3,000
AXA Shield Plan A – $1,500 ~ $3,000
|All Plans – 10%|
|Great Eastern||GREAT TotalCare Elite||GREAT SupremeHealth A Plus – $48 – $55
GREAT SupremeHealth B Plus – $58 – $66
GREAT SupremeHealth P Plus – $256 – $283
|All Plans – $1,500 ~ $3,500||All Plans – 10%|
|GREAT TotalCare Classic||GREAT SupremeHealth A Plus – $105 – $120
GREAT SupremeHealth B Plus – $152 – $173
GREAT SupremeHealth P Plus – $601 – $638
|GREAT TotalCare Plus||$110 – $112|
|NTUC Income||Deluxe Care Rider
|Enhanced IncomeShield Basic – $118
Enhanced IncomeShield Advantage – $197
Enhanced IncomeShield Preferred – $506
|Enhanced IncomeShield Basic – $1,500 ~ $3,750
Enhanced IncomeShield Advantage – $1,500 ~ $5,250
Enhanced IncomeShield Preferred – $1,500 ~ $5,250
|All Plans – 10%|
|Classic Care Rider||Enhanced IncomeShield Basic – $71
Enhanced IncomeShield Advantage – $88
Enhanced IncomeShield Preferred- $225
|Singlife with Aviva||Singlife Health Plus||Plan 3 – $37
Plan 2 – $48
Plan 1 – $136
|All Plans – $1,500 ~ $3,550
For Day Surgery
Plan 3 – $2,000
Plan 2 and 1 – $3,000
|All Plans – 10%|
|Prudential||PRUExtra Plus Lite||$150||PRUShield Plus and Premier – $1,500 ~ $2,000||All Plans – 10%|
|PRUExtra Plus CoPay||$225|
|PRUExtra Premier Lite CoPay||$247 – $249|
|PRUExtra Premier Lite||$274 – $276|
|PRUExtra Premier Saver||$395|
|PRUExtra Preferred CoPay||$425 – $451|
|PRUExtra Premier CoPay||$606 – $633|
|PRUExtra Premier||$734 – $778|
|Raffles Health Insurance||Key Rider||Not Publicly Available||Not Publicly Available||Not Publicly Available|
Here’s a breakdown of their benefits for easier comparison.
|Benefits||AIA Max VitalHealth
|AXA Enhanced Care
|NTUC Care Riders||Singlife Health Plus||PRUExtra Riders||Raffles Health Insurance Riders|
|Covers co-insurance and deductibles||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Early detection screening from age 40||Yes||–||–||–||–||–||–|
|Immediate family members’ accommodation benefit||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||–||Yes||Yes|
|Post-hospitalisation home nursing benefit||Yes||–||Yes||–||–||–||Yes|
|Post-hospitalisation alternative medicine for cancer and stroke benefit||Yes||–||Yes||–||–||–||–|
|Planned Overseas Medical Treatment||–||Yes||–||–||–||–||–|
|Emergency Outpatient Treatment due to Accident||–||Yes||Yes||–||–||Yes||Yes|
|Fractures, Dislocations, and Sports Injuries||–||Yes||–||–||–||–||–|
|Dengue, Hand Foot Mouth Disease, Food Poisoning||–||Yes||–||–||–||–||–|
|Ambulance Charges/Taxi Charges||–||Yes||Yes||–||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Post-hospitalisation Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) treatment||–||Yes||–||–||–||Yes||Yes|
|Additional Cancer Support||–||–||Yes||–||–||–||–|
|Discounted Health Coverage||Yes||–||–||–||Yes||–||–|
|Lump sum payout of $10,000 for five critical illnesses||–||–||–||–||Yes||–||–|
|Mental Wellness Benefit (Outpatient Psychiatric Consultation)||–||–||–||–||Yes||Yes||–|
(Only for PRUExtra Premier Co-Pay)
(Only for PRUExtra Premier Co-Pay)
|Special Appliances and Prosthesis||–||–||–||–||–||Yes
(Only for PRUExtra Premier Co-Pay)
|Disability Waiver Benefit||–||–||–||–||–||Yes
(Only for PRUExtra Premier Co-Pay and PRUExtra Preferred CoPay)
Do I need an IP Rider?
Well, you’ll have to first consider the following.
In hospitalisation bills, paying for deductibles and co-insurance can take up a large percentage of your savings even before the insurer pays the rest of your claim.
Choosing any IP riders can certainly cover most of these expenses, leaving you to only pay about 5% – 10% in co-payments instead (up to a cap of $3,000).
Here’s an illustration for better visualisation.
In addition, rider premiums can sometimes be a hefty sum to fork over, even as much as the IP premiums themselves.
Our opinion? If it’s within your budget and if the rider is affordable and something you need, we say go for it!
Especially if it has additional benefits, which would make it more “worth it” in a sense!
But if you’re overstepping your budget by purchasing a rider on top of your already expensive IP?
You should think again.
And, this is why we have laid out a few criteria you can look at to possibly aid your decision. Read on!
How to Choose the Right IP rider?
Given that you can only purchase one rider at a time, here are a few factors you should consider.
Current Shield Plan
First, if you already have a hospitalisation plan, it is only clear that you get to pick from what your insurer offers.
For example, if you’re on an AXA Shield Plan, you would only be able to pick AXA Enhanced Care as your rider!
If you already have an existing IP plan with any of the 7 insurers, you should contact your dedicated insurer to find out more about the rider(s) options you have.
As mentioned previously, rider premiums can sometimes be a hefty sum to fork over, even as much as the IP premiums themselves.
According to the comparison of premiums, you can see that Singlife Health Plus riders (Singlife with Aviva) are the cheapest on the market.
If you already have a plan with this insurer, which is either Singlife with Aviva MyShield Plan 1, 2, or 3 – you can consider adding on this rider as it doesn’t put a strain on the wallet as much.
Its benefits are also fairly acceptable amongst other riders, such as its lump sum payout of $10,000 for 5 critical illnesses and a Mental Wellness Benefit!
On the other hand, PRUExtra Riders (Prudential) rank as some of the most expensive riders on the market, especially the PRUExtra Premier riders.
However, these pricier premiums can be justified with some attractive coverage they provide such as for an autism test, a recurrent miscarriage, special appliances and prostheses, and a disability waiver benefit.
This also brings me to the next factor – the benefits that would be covered in the rider!
Most importantly, the whole idea behind purchasing a rider is for it covers most of your out-of-pocket expenses like your deductibles and co-insurance – so that box is checked!
And depending on your situation, some benefits that IP insurers offer to their riders may stand out to you.
For example, AXA Enhanced Care riders offer benefits such as coverage for fractures, dislocations, and sports injuries which may appeal to people who lead a more athletic lifestyle.
Another example is how AIA Max Health riders are the first amongst all the other insurers to offer an early detection screening from age 40 onwards – which may be attractive to those who are more “kiasu” by nature.
It really depends on what you place as a priority when purchasing a rider, and how it would complement the current IP plan you are on.
However, do take note that more specialised benefits would also probably indicate higher premiums.
Go through your lifestyle and needs with your financial advisor and he/she will usually recommend a rider that’s suited for you.
With this article, I hope you have now grasped the concept of health insurance riders and have a better understanding of how to choose one for yourself.
Whether or not you decide to purchase a rider, it should solely be up to your and your financial situation to make a better judgment.
Not sure if you need a shield plan rider or need help choosing one for yourself? We partner with unbiased financial advisors to help you with this.