In the latest addition to the various grants and subsidies parents in Singapore can receive, mummies and daddies of Singaporean babies born between 1 October 2020 and 30 September 2022 will receive a one-off $3,000 Baby Support Grant. This grant supplements the existing Baby Bonus cash gift, to help couples defray the cost of raising a child during the COVID-19 pandemic – a big concern for couples delaying childbearing plans (read maternity insurance).
If you’re a mum-to-be (or a concerned, loving husband), here’s what you need to know about maternity insurance.
What is Maternity Insurance
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Maternity insurance (also known as pregnancy insurance or prenatal insurance) is a single-premium insurance that provides coverage for both the mother and the baby during the course of the pregnancy – and even shortly after birth. This coverage comes in the form of a lump sum payout or daily hospital cash to offset additional medical costs.
While maternity insurance will not cover the cost of your delivery or your hospitalisation bills, what it does provide is additional coverage specifically for pregnancy complications or congenital illnesses the newborn might have. Examples of congenital illnesses include Cerebral Palsy, Down’s Syndrome and congenital deafness.
Maternity insurance lasts the entirety of your pregnancy and continues for 30 days after childbirth. The coverage provided for the newborn could last longer, depending on the plan you purchase.
The cost of maternity insurance can range from $300 to $1,600, depending on the coverage offered as well as the age of the mother — the younger you are, the lower the premiums.
When should You Buy Maternity Insurance?
You should purchase your insurance (maternity) as early as possible, so that the plan can help to protect against any complications that might arise throughout the course of the pregnancy.
The earliest you can purchase insurance for maternity is typically the 13th week of your pregnancy. The 13-week mark is the end of the first trimester – when the pregnancy is more stable – as up to 80% of miscarriages occur in the first trimester. This is also the time when couples announce the happy news to their friends and family!
There is also an upper band to this limit. You can purchase insurance for maternity up until the 35th to 40th week of pregnancy, depending on the insurer. Keep in mind that age is also an eligibility criteria, with insurers requiring the mother to be between the ages of 18 and 45.
Another reason to purchase insurance for maternity sooner rather than later: you pay the same premiums whether you apply for the insurance at the 13-week mark or towards the tail end of the pregnancy.
Do You Need Maternity Insurance?
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Before we get into the nitty-gritty of insurance plans for maternity and what they cover, you should first get a better understanding of what MediShield Life and our Integrated Shield Plans provide.
#1: What does MediShield Life cover for pregnant women?
MediShield Life is a basic health insurance plan all Singpaoreans and PRs have. It helps pay for large hospital bills and selected outpatient treatments that may be costly. All Singapore Citizen babies are automatically covered by MediShield Life, for life (no pun intended), including those with congenital and neonatal conditions.
When it comes to pregnancy-related coverage, should you encounter complications, MediShield Life helps to defray these unexpected expenses. It covers inpatient treatments for serious pregnancy and delivery-related complications, including eclampsia, postpartum haemorrhage and more.
Here’s the list of serious pregnancy and delivery-related complications covered by MediShield Life for inpatient treatment.
Your IP also provides coverage for pregnancy complications. However, this coverage only applies if it is a listed pregnancy complication condition, such as pre-eclampsia and eclampsia. Your IP also does not cover the newborn and you can only apply for insurance for your baby when they are born.
With MediShield Life and IPs providing a degree of coverage, it begs the question: do you need insurance for maternity?
It can be seen as an additional insurance type that supplements your existing health insurance and life insurance policies.
Like what was mentioned earlier, insurance covers you for pregnancy complications or congenital illnesses. More importantly, insurance for maternity can help to guarantee insurance coverage for your newborn. This means that your baby can get an insurance plan with the same insurer, without a medical check-up required, provided the plan is purchased within the first 90 days of birth.
This is particularly important if your child is born with health conditions, which could lead to them being rejected for insurance plans in the future. On the flip side, if your baby is perfectly healthy, you can easily purchase insurance plans for them in the future, subject to medical underwriting.
What Should Your Insurance Cover?
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Here’s what you can expect to find when looking for an insurance plan for maternity, though the coverage varies depending on the insurer.
Coverage provided for the mother:
- Pregnancy complications: Complications that arise from the pregnancy, such as pre-eclampsia and eclampsia
- Death or total & permanent disability benefit (TPD): Lump sum payout upon death or TPD
- Hospitalisation benefit: Daily cash benefit for each day you are hospitalised due to pregnancy complications
Some insurance plans also offer additional benefits for the expecting mother, such as mental wellness benefits. It could also cover components such as childbirth medical negligence.
Coverage provided for the baby:
- Congenital illnesses (the number of congenital illnesses covered differs depending on the insurance plan)
- Death benefit: Lump sum payout upon death
- Hospitalisation benefit: Daily cash benefit for each day the baby is hospitalised due to congenital illnesses
- Outpatient phototherapy benefit due to severe neonatal jaundice: Cash benefit for each day the phototherapy machine is rented
Exclusions to take note of: Some policies do not cover pregnancies as a result of In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) or other Assisted Conception Procedures. If you have used IVF to conceive, you can specifically look for plans that do not exclude IVF, such as the Aviva MyMaternityPlan and Manulife ReadyMummy.
While maternity insurance plans do provide coverage for twins, some maternity insurance plans exclude mothers that are expecting more than two foetuses, such as triplets or quadruplets. From an insurer standpoint, these pregnancies could carry higher risk and are hence excluded. Again, there are still plans in the market that still provide coverage for these special bundles of joy.
Best Maternity Insurance Plans Available
There are two types of maternity insurance plans: standalone maternity insurance plans and maternity insurance that is coupled with an investment-linked plan.
This article will only look at standalone insurance plans, for pregnancy related complications and congenital illnesses.
Here are some of the best maternity insurance plans for your decision-making.
This article was first published in SingSaver and republished on theAsianparent with permission.
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Read about the best maternity insurance packages in Singapore.