5.SEP.2016 5 MIN READ | 5 MIN READ

Medisave and MediShield pay for your basic needs, but many people choose to top up with Integrated Shield Plans or private insurance for themselves and their loved ones.

Nobody wants to think about their heart letting them down, but at some stage in our lives – particularly as we age – we may need heart surgery, like a heart bypass (coronary artery bypass grafting or CABG), that could dent our savings if we haven’t made proper arrangements. That’s why it’s important to put the right questions to your independent financial adviser to make sure your family, including your parents, have adequate health cover.

Here are 6 important questions to ask:

What insurance coverage and type of plan should I consider?

Health insurance plans, like integrated shield plans, cover you for hospital medical expenses. These plans can include consultations, tests and some outpatient treatment (if it’s in relation to your inpatient treatment, and occurs within a 90-day period of the treatment). You might also want to think about emergency and accidental insurance that will give you a fixed amount of cash when you’re in hospital or on hospitalisation leave, to offset any lost earnings. Also consider disability income insurance and long-term care insurance, which will help you if you are unable to work or are too weak to look after yourself.

Will I have to pay anything towards the cost if I need to claim?

If you are only claiming from MediShield or Medisave, you may have to pay out of your own pocket for the hospital bill’s deductible and co-insurance portion. An integrated shield plan’s rider can give you extra financial protection, and may cover your entire bill. There are certain insurance plans that offer a Letter of Guarantee, which means your insurance company guarantees that they will pay for the hospital bill. Ask your independent financial adviser about your healthcare insurance plan to find out more about your existing coverage.

What special factors do I need to take into account?

It is recommended you buy insurance when you are young and healthy, as your health is taken into consideration during the underwriting process. Premiums may increase with age, like premiums for an integrated shield plan. You can withdraw from a health insurance plan at any time if you are unable to afford an increased premium. But a new health insurance purchase will involve an underwriting process again, so do consider carefully when you are thinking of changing.

How will I know what my insurance policy covers?

It’s important to check the exclusion clauses. Some will not cover pre-existing medical conditions (or will increase your premium). You can also find out more by asking a hospital’s business office when you undergo financial counselling for your medical procedure. Or talk with your independent financial adviser before proceeding with a big health check.

What happens when I need to use my insurance?

Check with your doctor the costs (including hospital stay, procedure and doctors’ fees) that will be incurred for your treatment, and what portion of the entire procedure you can claim using MediShield. Check with your independent financial adviser on the facilities (hospitals) and type of ward your insurance will cover.

A hospital's business office can typically advise you on your hospital bill in relation to claims, if they know the health coverage you have. All healthcare institutions have a shared database on holders of integrated shield plans, which makes activation of claims under this plan much more convenient for policy holders.

What if the bills keep on piling up?

It is easy for hospital bills to pile up, and it is worse when no one at the hospital can tell you exactly how high it can go.

Find out some of the medical procedures available should you need to undergo heart treatment. With the correct insurance coverage, your bill size can be better gauged and managed, while Mount Elizabeth Hospitals can assist with all Medisave, MediShield Life and integrated shield plan claims.

For your peace of mind, talk to one of our heart specialists today or read about how to make healthcare insurance claims to cover your hospital bills.

Gain more clarity on your hospital bill size.