What expats need to know about maternity insurance in Singapore

Contributed by Pacific Prime, 30 December, 2016

For many expats, Singapore is one of the top cities on earth in which to start or raise a family. With high quality schools, some of the world's best medical care available, and being a generally safe city, it is easy to see why. Despite the fact that the city is great for families, expats who have moved here and had kids all will tell you that it can be incredibly expensive to give birth here. That is why many expectant expat mothers will choose to secure maternity insurance.

How expensive is it for an expat to give birth in Singapore?

In Singapore, Permanent Residents and Citizens have access to the Medisave system. This system helps residents and citizens save money each month and apply these savings to help cover the cost of medical care in the city. This combined with subsidized care at public hospitals means that the cost of most medical procedures, including giving birth, are fairly affordable.

The problem is, expats are not afforded these subsidies or access to Medisave. This means that most expats prefer to give birth at private hospitals, and as a result they tend to face fairly high fees. For example, according to figures from the Ministry of Health, the average cost of a normal birth in a single room at a private hospital in Singapore ran anywhere from SGD 7,548 to SGD 12,053 as of November 30, 2016.

If you need to have a c-section, you are naturally going to have higher costs, with the MOH reporting average costs as of November 30 of between SGD 11,937 and SGD 18,111.

Bear in mind here, the above figures are just for the birth. You also need to factor in prenatal care and screenings, any extra costs of the birth e.g., for medication or specialists, and any potential postnatal care which could easily add on another SGD 4,000-10,000 for a healthy baby.

What is maternity insurance and what does it cover?

It is primarily because of the high cost of birth in Singapore that many expat moms should consider securing maternity insurance. The question you may have however, is what exactly is maternity insurance and what does it cover?

Simply put, maternity insurance is a benefit offered by many health insurance plans that covers the costs related to giving birth. To be clear here, it is not something you can secure on its own, rather an additional benefit you can secure when you purchase a health insurance plan.

In Singapore, the vast majority of health insurance plans that offer maternity coverage will at the very least cover:

Of course, plans are usually different as some will offer additional coverage including:

One important thing to be aware of

While maternity coverage is important and can be added on to almost any medical insurance plan, it should be noted that in Singapore the majority of maternity insurance plans have waiting periods that must elapse before maternity related claims can be submitted.

Most insurers have set it to one year meaning you must have the health insurance coverage for at least one year before you can submit a claim for maternity care. It is also not unheard of to see some insurers attaching a 24 month waiting period before they will consider maternity claims.

How to secure maternity insurance

Due to the waiting period attached with maternity insurance plans, health insurance experts often recommend ensuring that you secure coverage well before you become pregnant. As we mentioned above you are going to have to secure a health insurance plan (if you don't already have one) and add maternity cover to it.

When it comes to actually finding a plan, you can go through the individual insurers in the city, but it will quickly become a bit of a chore to identify and sort through all the different options. A better option would be to talk with a global insurance broker like Pacific Prime Singapore. As a broker, Pacific Prime Singapore can identify the plans on the market that meet your coverage needs and budget and help you to secure it.

Tags: budget | Singapore | insurance | fees |



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