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Beginner's Guide to Types of Insurance in Singapore: CPF, MediShield Life & IPs

Collin Seow
Publish date: Sat, 13 Apr 2024, 07:00 PM
Collin Seow
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Collin Seow (CFTe,CPM) is an experienced remisier who mentor his clients to help them to build a stock portfolio.

Introduction – Guide to Types of Insurance in Singapore

Navigating the complex terrain of insurance in Singapore, including whole life insurance, a type of insurance that offers coverage for the insured’s entire lifetime, can be challenging.

Did you know that MediShield Life, a fundamental health insurance scheme managed by the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board, extends basic health coverage to the vast majority of Singaporeans? This article is crafted to deconstruct and elucidate the intricacies of CPF, MediShield Life, Integrated Shield Plans (IPs), and the role of whole life insurance in Singapore, providing a comprehensive guide to their advantages and their collective function in fortifying your safety net.

Make sure to catch this straightforward guide - let’s embark on a path toward financial security together!

Key Takeaways

  • MediShield Life, one of the essential types of insurance policies administered by CPF in Singapore, offers foundational health coverage for all citizens and permanent residents.
  • Proactively augmenting your MediSave account can assist in managing future health-related expenses and insurance premiums, including those for buying life insurance, and may contribute to tax reductions.
  • Among the various insurance policies, MediShield Life stands out by ensuring that all citizens receive inclusive and lifelong protection, catering to both seniors and individuals with pre-existing conditions.
  • To complement MediShield Life, Integrated Shield Plans (IPs) serve as another category of insurance policies that broaden the scope of coverage, providing enhanced benefits through partnerships with private insurers.

Two professionals collaborate over financial charts, with calculators and mobile devices, reviewing the benefits of Singapore's CPF for retirement planning.

Understanding CPF and its Benefits

CPF, or Central Provident Fund, is a cornerstone of Singapore’s social security framework, designed to foster financial stability for citizens during retirement. A critical component of this system is the provision of key insurance policies, including critical illness insurance, as part of a comprehensive life plan.

Through CPF, individuals can bolster their MediSave Account savings, which are instrumental in covering healthcare expenses and insurance premiums and ensuring they can get robust protection against life’s uncertainties.

Topping up your MediSave Account savings

You can build a strong health safety net in Singapore by topping up your MediSave account. Consider the following justifications:

  1. When you add more money to your MediSave Account, it boosts your CPF savings. You can use this money for future health needs.
  2. Added funds to MediSave also help cover the cost of health insurance fees. It gives a safety net against surprise health costs.
  3. Making top-ups to MediSave can help lower your taxes.
  4. Every citizen and permanent resident in Singapore is part of the MediSave plan.
  5. Funds from a MediSave account can be used to pay different types of health costs like hospital bills, outpatient care, surgeries, and premium payments for approved medical insurance.
  6. Online or at an AXS station are two ways you can add funds to your MediSave account.

You can also make top-ups to the MediSave accounts of parents and siblings.

Two professionals discussing financial documents with calculators and smartphones in hand symbolizing the strategic planning involved in understanding and utilizing Singapore's Central Provident Fund (CPF) benefits.

Health Insurance in Singapore

MediShield Life stands as an important insurance foundation in Singapore, offering a basic health insurance plan that caters to hospitalization costs and certain outpatient procedures. Delve into the specifics of MediShield Life’s coverage, the benefits it provides, and the available payment methods.

Grasp how this insurance comes into play, providing critical illness coverage and vital healthcare protection that is crucial for your well-being.

Coverage and benefits

MediShield Life is an insurance product available to all Singapore citizens and permanent residents, designed to provide financial relief for significant hospitalization expenses. It contributes towards your medical bills should you require treatment in a Class B2/C ward or receive day surgery.

For a comprehensive understanding of the coverage, including critical illness protection that insurance may offer, reaching out to the CPF Board is advisable. Getting insurance such as MediShield Life ensures you’re backed by a robust policy, which is a fundamental aspect of life policies in Singapore.

Who is covered

All Singapore citizens and Permanent Residents get coverage from MediShield Life. Lifelong protection is for all people in this plan. No person gets left out, even the very old or those very sick.

Everyone enjoys health insurance benefits under this scheme.

Payment options

Paying your MediShield Life premiums can be efficiently managed through several methods, each offering flexibility according to your preferences, with considerations for the cost of insurance:

  1. GIRO: Establish a GIRO arrangement with your bank for hassle-free, automatic monthly deductions from your bank account to cover your insurance costs. 
  2. CPF Medisave: Utilize your CPF Medisave funds to offset the cost of your premiums, with the specified amount directly deducted from your Medisave Account balance. 
  3. Cash or Cheque: Opt for traditional payment methods by submitting cash or cheque to cover the insurance cost, ensuring to complete the transaction by the due date specified in your premium notice. 
  4. MediSave Withdrawal Limit: Be aware of the MediSave withdrawal cap, which stands at $600 per month, to be used specifically for MediShield Life premium payments, effectively managing the cost of your insurance. 
  5. Premium Subsidies: Investigate whether you qualify for government-provided premium subsidies based on your income level, which can substantially reduce the financial burden of your insurance costs. 

The government provides multiple forms of assistance to facilitate the payment of MediShield Life premiums, particularly offering premium subsidies to support individuals within lower to middle-income brackets. The amount of the premiums is determined by a range of criteria, including age and income levels, with a detailed premium payment table accessible for individuals to ascertain the applicable rates.

A paper cutout of a family including a couple and three children, flanked by two red hearts, with a stethoscope encircling them, set against a bright blue background, symbolizing the protection and health assurance offered by different types of insurance policies.

Different Types of Insurance

Integrated Shield Plans (IPs) are types of life insurance that supplement the basic coverage offered by MediShield Life, with additional benefits provided by private insurers. These plans often include term life insurance options, catering to a broader range of healthcare needs beyond what is covered by the national plan.

Comparison with MediShield Life

Integrated Shield Plans (IPs) and MediShield Life both offer insurance coverage, but they differ in several important aspects. Understanding these differences is crucial for making informed decisions about your healthcare coverage.

Aspect MediShield Life Integrated Shield Plans (IPs)
Coverage Provides coverage for life, including pre-existing conditions. The benefits cover subsidized bills incurred at Class B2/C wards and subsidized outpatient treatments. Offers additional coverage on top of what is provided by MediShield Life, providing a higher level of protection. Coverage limits and exclusions can vary depending on the specific IP.
Premiums MediShield Life premiums are affordable and can be paid using your CPF MediSave account. IPs typically charge higher premiums than MediShield Life to offer additional benefits and coverage. Premiums for IPs can also be paid using your CPF MediSave account, subject to certain limits.
Insurers MediShield Life is run by the CPF Board and is included in all IPs. Multiple insurers in Singapore offer IPs. It’s recommended to compare plans from different insurers to find the best fit.

Types of Integrated Shield Plans (IPs)

There are different types of IPs available in Singapore. These IPs target different categories of wards in public hospitals. Some private insurers in Singapore that offer IPs include NTUC Income, AIA, Great Eastern, and Prudential.

Close-up of a health insurance application form focusing on the 'Health Insurance' title, with sections for personal details and medical history, symbolizing the detailed considerations required when selecting an Integrated Shield Plan (IP).

Considerations When Choosing an IP

When choosing an IP, there are a few important considerations to keep in mind. These include understanding the deductible and co-insurance amounts, comparing coverage and premiums across different plans, and following the application process for an IP.

Deductible and co-insurance

Integrated Shield Plans (IPs) in Singapore come with deductibles and co-insurance. For MediShield Life, the deductible is set at $1,500. This means that policyholders will need to pay this amount before they can make a claim.

The deductible reduces the total claimable amount. Additionally, there is a co-insurance of 10% for MediShield Life. Under this arrangement, policyholders are responsible for paying 10% of the claimable amount while the insurance covers the remaining 90%.

IPs also have deductibles and co-insurance, but the amounts vary depending on the chosen plan.

Coverage and premiums

Integrated Shield Plans (IPs) in Singapore provide additional coverage on top of MediShield Life. When considering an IP, it is important to understand the coverage and premiums involved.

The coverage provided by IPs includes hospitalization, specialist care, and select outpatient treatments. Premiums for IPs can vary depending on factors such as age and choice of insurer.

It is noteworthy that the premiums for IPs tend to rise substantially with age. Before purchasing an IP, it is crucial to assess the coverage offered by MediShield Life, as this will determine the level of protection you receive.

Applying for an IP

When applying for an Integrated Shield Plan (IP), there are a few important steps to follow:

  1. Research different insurance providers: Look into various insurance companies that offer IPs in Singapore. Compare their coverage, premiums, and reputation.
  2. Determine your coverage needs: Consider factors such as your medical history, lifestyle, and budget when deciding on the level of coverage you require. This will help you choose the right IP for your needs.
  3. Understand the application process: Familiarize yourself with the application requirements and process for each insurance provider. This may include filling out forms, providing medical information, and submitting supporting documents.
  4. Compile all essential paperwork: Make certain that you have collected and prepared all necessary documents prior to initiating the application procedure. This may include identification proof, income statements, and any relevant medical records.
  5. Submit your application: Complete the application form accurately and submit it along with all the necessary documents to the insurance provider. Ensure that you meticulously verify all details before submission to prevent any hold-ups or mistakes.
  6. Wait for approval: After submitting your application, you will need to wait for the insurance provider’s approval. This can take some time as they review your application and assess your eligibility.
  7. Pay premiums: Once your application is approved, you will receive details about premium payment options from the insurance provider. Pay your premiums promptly to ensure continuous coverage.

As Singaporeans age, the premiums for Integrated Shield Plans (IPs) can rise substantially. It’s advisable to evaluate whether the existing MediShield Life coverage meets your needs or if there’s a necessity for enhanced private insurance.

Government subsidies are in place to alleviate the costs of MediShield Life premiums, although eligibility for these subsidies differs. For informed decision-making regarding health insurance, a clear grasp of MediShield Life, Medisave, and the overall healthcare expenses in Singapore is crucial.

An insurance advisor explaining life insurance policy details to an elderly couple in a well-lit office environment, symbolizing informed decision-making in choosing life insurance.

Better Understanding of Life Insurance

Understanding the cost and options for health insurance in Singapore is vital, especially for expats navigating the system.

While MediShield Life is a universal coverage that you cannot opt out of, even with a private plan, knowing doctor’s fees is essential as they can vary widely. Health insurance is a critical safeguard due to these potential costs. Fortunately, residents can utilize CPF savings to cover health insurance premiums, easing the financial burden.

It’s important to delve into the various types of insurance available to ensure comprehensive coverage in Singapore’s healthcare landscape.

Cost of health insurance in Singapore

The cost of health insurance in Singapore can vary depending on the type of plan you choose. MediShield Life, which is the basic health insurance plan, has affordable premiums that are subsidized by the government for Singaporeans and Permanent Residents.

Integrated Shield Plans (IPs) offer additional coverage on top of MediShield Life, and their premiums can be higher than just having MediShield Life alone. The cost of IPs will depend on factors such as your age, coverage level, and any pre-existing medical conditions you may have.

It’s important to carefully consider your budget and needs when choosing a health insurance plan in Singapore.

Expats and health insurance

Expats in Singapore need to make sure they have health insurance. They can buy it from private insurers, but the cost varies depending on different factors. Having health insurance is important for expats because it helps cover their medical expenses.

So, if you’re an expat in Singapore, don’t forget to get health insurance to protect yourself and your finances.

Opting out of MediShield Life

Opting out of MediShield Life is not possible for Singapore Citizens (SCs) and Permanent Residents (PRs) as it is mandatory. This means that all SCs and PRs are automatically enrolled in the healthcare insurance scheme.

However, Singaporeans who permanently reside overseas do have the option to apply to suspend their MediShield Life premium. This allows them to temporarily halt their coverage while they are living outside of Singapore.

Doctor’s fees in Singapore

Doctor’s fees in Singapore can vary depending on various factors such as the type of doctor, the medical facility, and the specific services required. It is important to note that doctor’s fees are not covered by MediShield Life or Integrated Shield Plans (IPs).

Patients usually pay for these fees out-of-pocket or through private health insurance plans. The cost of a consultation with a general practitioner can range from around $20 to $100, while specialist consultations may cost between $70 to several hundred dollars.

Surgical procedures and hospital stays will incur additional costs. Therefore, it is crucial to consider these expenses when planning for healthcare coverage in Singapore.

Importance of health insurance

Health insurance, like MediShield Life in Singapore, is incredibly important for individuals. It provides financial protection by helping to cover the high costs of medical treatments and hospital bills.

This is especially crucial because healthcare expenses can be quite expensive, and having health insurance ensures that individuals are not burdened with overwhelming debt or financial hardship.

Health insurance also offers peace of mind, knowing that if an unexpected illness or injury occurs, one will have access to quality healthcare without worrying about the cost. Additionally, health insurance helps individuals manage the rising cost of living and mitigate potential risks associated with their well-being.

Using CPF for health insurance

CPF can be a helpful tool for financing your health insurance in Singapore. By using funds from your CPF account, you can pay for both MediShield Life and Integrated Shield Plans (IPs).

MediShield Life is a government-backed health insurance plan that covers all Singaporeans, and its premiums can be subsidized by the government. IPs, on the other hand, provide additional coverage on top of MediShield Life and are offered by private insurers.

Both types of insurance plans can be paid for using CPF. This means that you can use your CPF savings to ensure that you have sufficient coverage for your medical expenses without having to worry about paying out-of-pocket.


In conclusion, understanding the different types of insurance in Singapore is crucial for adequate protection against healthcare expenses. MediShield Life, administered by CPF, provides basic coverage for hospital bills and selected outpatient treatments.

Integrated Shield Plans (IPs) enhance this coverage with private insurance options. It’s important to compare plans to find the best coverage suited to individual needs.

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