In insurance terms, a pre-existing condition is any health condition that was present before your new insurance coverage.
At any age, you might already have some existing health issues, that may include but not be limited to:
- Old or past injuries
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Autoimmune diseases
- Respiratory diseases
- Skin issues
- Mental illness
FYI: Some insurers may also include any family history or genetic predisposition to a disease, as a pre-existing health condition.
What happens if you try to buy health insurance with pre-existing conditions?
For those with pre-existing conditions, insurers typically do one of these things:
- Insure you, but charge a higher premium
- Insure you, but exclude your pre-existing conditions from coverage
- Reject you entirely
As a person with a pre-existing health condition looking to be insured, you’ll be expected to pay higher premiums for the risk the insurance company is bearing for insuring you.
Any illness or disability directly or indirectly caused by your pre-existing conditions will highly likely be excluded from your claims. So, even if you are able to purchase health insurance, the insurer may reject your claim if it is deemed to be linked to your pre-existing condition.
Finally, some insurance companies may choose to reject those with pre-existing health conditions due to higher chances of recurrent claims in the future.
If you have been rejected, don’t lose hope! We have options for you.
Purchasing insurance with a pre-existing condition may be a little harder and trickier, but not entirely impossible. There are still companies that make it possible to get insured even with a pre-existing condition.
Option 1: MediShield Life
Often overlooked, but we’re actually quite blessed to have access to MediShield Life. A basic health insurance plan administered by the Central Provision Board (CPF), MediShield Life helps us to pay for a portion of our large hospitalization bills as well as some outpatient treatments.
In a bid to ensure that all Singaporeans and PRs are insured, MediShield Life provides universal coverage including those with pre-existing health conditions.
However, individuals with certain pre-existing conditions need to pay an additional 30% worth of premiums for ten years, as they are individuals with higher risk.
After the ten-year period, their premiums would return back to normal, and they will pay the same premiums as the rest of their age group.
Option 2: Raffles Integrated Shield Plan
So MediShield Life does cover pre-existing conditions, but what about Integrated Shield Plans (IP), the private insurer add-ons MediShield Life?
Most Integrated Shield Plans (IP) exclude pre-existing conditions from the get-go, and do not provide coverage for them. This makes it hard, and maybe even nearly impossible for someone with pre-existing conditions to get insured.
However, Raffles Health Insurance (RHI)’s Raffles Shield is an exception that may provide coverage for some individuals with three common pre-existing conditions:
- High cholesterol
Unfortunately, this is not a guaranteed solution for those with existing health conditions, but instead, it is evaluated on a case-by-case basis, to consider and observe if they are an eligible candidate for the insurance coverage.
To be covered by this insurance plan, you would first need to comply with a program by RHI to ensure that your condition is being properly managed, in order to become eligible for insurance coverage eventually.
Option 3: Preliminary underwriting
Preliminary underwriting is a service that allows you to find out the most suitable coverage that different insurers are able to offer you.
This is great for those with pre-existing health conditions to review the different options that are available to them, without the need for any lengthy insurance application forms (only to find out that you have been rejected).
This service is offered by most main insurers in Singapore, and one can stay anonymous when going through this process. Your records will never be needed to be declared in the future.
The overall process is quite straightforward. After receiving the results of your preliminary underwriting, and understanding what coverage you would be eligible for, you may proceed to send in your application through a financial advisor.
Option 4: International health insurance
Singaporeans have the option of purchasing international health insurance offered by insurance companies like AXA, Liberty, and MSIG.
Apart from providing global health coverage, international health insurance plans may also cover those with pre-existing conditions.
If you are purchasing an international health insurance plan with a pre-existing health condition, it usually comes with a waiting period. For example, if you have been with the policy for more than 365 days, your pre-existing conditions would thereafter be covered.
International health insurance plans are notably more expensive compared to other insurance coverage. Expect to pay about three times the price of local health insurance (this estimate is on a case by case basis, and also depending on the amount of coverage).
Also, note the coverage for various pre-existing conditions differs from the different plans offered by insurers. If you would like to compare plans, just drop us a line below.
What else covers pre-existing conditions?
Company group insurance
Most companies offer group insurance plans to all its employees, as a part of their employment benefits, which can also extend to the rest of your family as well. Some of these corporate schemes disregard your pre-existing condition and provide you with medical coverage, regardless of any of your health conditions.
Your insurance coverage will end after you leave the company, though, so we do not recommend this as your primary form of health insurance.
An initiative rolled out by the government, CareShield Life is a disability insurance that covers any pre-existing conditions, including existing severe disabilities.
Note that CareShield Life is not health insurance, and it will not cover your hospitalization bills. It is a long-term care insurance that allows you to claim monthly payouts for your living expenses if you become severely disabled.
Read more about why CareShield Life matters whether you’re young or old.
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