5 Reasons why an Integrated Shield Plan is your top priority

And why you are more likely to get cancer than striking 4D.


To be perfectly honest, you would not be able to get insurance coverage if you have existing medical conditions. Even if somehow you manage to, it would not be cheap. Yet the most common objections to taking up an integrated Shield Plan and rider would be:

I am healthy now, I don’t need a hospitalization plan!

Yep, that is fine, we are all aware of that you are healthy now. But why would anyone think that an insurance company is going to offer you a hospitalisation and medical plan after you are deem unhealthy?

The only reason why you can get an Integrated Shield plan and rider without medical exclusion is that you are healthy now.

Accepting an individual with existing medical condition is just going to increase cost for the existing policyholders that took up a policy when they are healthy. After all, it is almost guaranteed that everyone will be admitted to the hospital more than once in your life.

Accessed the updated FAQs on Integrated Shield Plan and Integrated Shield Plan riders.

That is why you should get Integrated Shield Plan now

Most of the time, you can get anything you want with the right price. Unfortunately, it does not work this way for an Integrated Shield Plan and rider. Ask yourself this:

Are you ready to wipe up all your savings if you are hospitalised due to a major illness?

If the answer is no, then you need an Integrated Shield Plan and it’s rider. So, what exactly is an Integrated Shield Plan and how does it works combined with your MediSave?

We give you 5 reasons why an Integrated Shield plan is your one number priority:

Reason 1: The chances of you getting cancer is much higher than striking 4D (Any prize)

The good folks at Singapore Pools have calculated the odds of you matching any 4 digits at 1 to 435. So that means statically out of 435 attempts, you have a chance to strike anything from S$60 to S$3,000. The other 434 attempts mostly go towards nation building.

Odds of winning anything from 4D: 0.22%

You think that is low? How many countless times have you heard your family or friends complaining that they only strike consolation or starter prize for a particular week?

Now back to cancer. In Singapore, about 35 people are diagnosed with cancer every day. And till date, cancer remains the biggest killer in Singapore.  It was estimated that the lifetime risk for developing cancer in Singapore is approximately 1 in every 4-5 people. The odds are not stacked in our favour as well, considering that the Singapore population is likely to get older going forward.

Odds of striking cancer in your lifetime: 20%~25%

How does it make sense that you buy into any game of chance with a lesser than 25% probability of winning? All while leaving yourself open to unlimited medical and hospitalisation cost?

Based on the statics from Singapore Cancer Society, every 1 in 15 female are diagnosed with Breast Cancer by the age of 75, and every 1 in 26 male is diagnosed with Colorectum cancer by the age of 75. This is only cancer that we are talking about, one of the many illnesses that you will incur costly medical expenses. But fear not, with proper insurance riders, most medical expenses can be defrayed.

Reason 2: It is cheaper to die than to fall sick in Singapore.

The cost of treatment of cancer involving surgery, chemotherapy is safely estimated to be around $100k to $200k yearly in a government hospital depending on the type of treatment and the drugs used. Expect the cost to be even higher if your treatment is in a private hospital with a shorter waiting period.

Given a choice, who would rather not wish to recover in comfort with dedicated medical attention? The cost of treatment in a private hospital can be fully covered with an integrated shield plan and rider at a reasonable cost, depending on the coverage and insurer you took up an integrated shield plan with.

Reason 3: The waiting time (Government vs Private)

How long can/ do you want to wait in the event of a medical condition? Here is an actual example within the family.

My mum was consistently having a really bad cough for more than 3 months. The regular GP asked her to get a referral letter from the polyclinic to see a specialist. The reason for the referral letter was so that she could get a subsidised rate for her medical bills.

*Note: My mum was diagnosed with diabetes and high blood cholesterol before we got her an Integrated Shield Plan rider. Needless to say, her application for full coverage of deductibles and co-insurance was rejected by all the insurers.

Anyway, the resulting timeline goes like this:

GP (June 2016) –> Polyclinic (June 2016) –> SGH specialist (Aug 2016) –> SGH specialist 2nd follow up appointment (Dec 2016) –> SGH specialist 3rd follow up appointment (Mar 2017) –> Referred to Ear, Nose, Throat specialist appointment (July 2017)

The outcome from SGH: 3 visits to SGH specialists from (Aug 2016 to Mar 2017), and there was no diagnosis of any medical condition.

In March 2017, we went to the private hospital as we can’t bear to see her suffering from consistent coughing. Of course, we are aware that a delayed treatment could make things worse. We secured an appointment in a private hospital within 1 week and the diagnosis was completed over the next few days.

The outcome from a private hospital: She was diagnosed with gastric acid backflow, causing irritation of the throat and therefore, the persistent coughing. Treatment and recovery were over within a month.

What can we learn from this?

Looking back at the whole scenario, what if there is really the onset of cancer cells in my mother lungs?  Her medical conditional could have worsened as the whole process took close to a year. We admitted that medical cost was a deciding factor as she does not have an Integrated Shield Plan Rider to fully cover the expensive medical bills in a private hospital.

With an Integrated Shield Plan and Rider, you can afford to have your consultation and diagnosis done timely in a private hospital. What’s more, your medical bills are fully covered by insurance coverage on your Integrated Shield Plan and Rider, if there is a need for hospitalisation. Did we say that the odds of survival rate are significantly higher if treatment can be done earlier for a critical illness?

Reason 4: Comfort level during recovery

Right now, you are either sleeping alone or with your partner in the comfort of your own air-conditioned room. A good sleep is a luxury most of us will not be willing to give up easily, especially when Singapore is in suited at the equator with year-long hot and humid weather.

Now imagine being sick and awaiting or recovering from illnesses in a hospital. Do you really want to share your room with 7 other strangers coughing or snoring whole night? Opting for air-con in a 4 to 6 bedded ward B1 would mean a lower medical subsidy if you are paying from cash or MediSave.

Do you foresee a comfortable hospitalisation stay fully covered by insurance or an unbearable room shared with strangers? The choice is yours.

Reason 5: Is your income/ savings sufficient when struck with a major illness?

An average Singaporean salary is about $4000 or $48,000 annually before CPF deduction. Accumulating a million dollar for retirement is hard enough as it is already, without medical cost being a burden as it is.

Let us now look at the treatment cost for the top reasons of hospitalisation in Singapore (according to Ministry of Health).

  • Breast Cancer: The top killer disease for women (and some unfortunate males). The average treatment cost works out be about $13k in Singapore General Hospital and $34k in Mount Elizabeth Hospital.
  • Ischaemic Heart Diseases (enlarging a heart vessel with a stent): The average treatment cost ranges from $4k to $12k for B2 Ward, depending on the hospital. Average treatment cost unavailable in private hospital.

Those are certainly not the costliest medical treatment, just the top medical procedures in Singapore. Running a low to mid 6 figure medical treatment cost not unheard of, just ask your friends around you, if in doubt.

Now then, are your savings meant for your desired retirement lifestyle or towards paying your medical bills?

Reason 6 (Bonus): It is too late by the time you are diagnosed with a medical condition

It is only fair to say that insurance companies will not wish to take up/ impose conditions on an application with existing medical conditions. We state two of the many known reasons:

  • The existing pool of healthy application does not deserve to see their yearly Integrated Shield Plan premiums go up due to the risky new applications.
  • It does not make sense for the insurance companies to take a small amount of premium from you, only to fully pay your high medical cost.

To that end, all insurance companies impose a waiting period from the date of a new Integrated Shield Plan and rider application. Obviously, all existing medical conditions are not covered.

*NEW* 3 best Integrated Shield Plan and rider in Singapore (2018 Edition)

What should you do now?

We cannot put enough emphasis that an integrated shield plan and its related rider should be purchased as soon as possible, while you are healthy.

There are just some things in life you cannot afford to wait, such as getting an Integrated Shield Plan.

Similarly, do not delay starting your financial planning journey due to a budget constraint. Set realistic financial goals and objective and set a budget towards meeting your financial plans.


Need to know more about an Integrated Shield Plan or an Integrated Shield Plan rider?

Drop us a message to us and let InterestGuru.sg assign an Independent Financial Advisor to answer your questions. Alternatively, use our compareNOW to get the 3 best quotes for all insurance and investment products and services across insurance companies in Singapore.


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Credits: Chloe Ng from Aviva Financial Advisers Pte Ltd for sharing her knowledge towards this article.  She can be directly contacted at meihui_ng@avivafa.com.sg

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