Martin Lee @ Sg
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Existing Medical Insurance Cover and She Didn’t Know

The other day, I was referred to someone who wanted to get some health (or medical) insurance. According to her, she didn’t have any medical insurance cover and wanted to use some of her Medisave to get an appropriate cover.

This was a fairly straightforward transaction but usually, what I will do is to double check whether that person has any existing medical insurance in place first. This of course includes the integrated shield plans.

One way of checking this would be to check that person’s CPF yearly statement (either hardcopy or online). See the example below which shows a person having a medical plan with Aviva.

cpf yearly statement

The reason is that if someone had an existing integrated shield plan in place and applies for another one, the old plan would be replaced. There are some implications for changing medical insurance as it generally excludes coverage for pre-existing conditions. So when someone changes their plan, they will run the risk of losing insurance coverage for a pre-existing condition.

Sometimes, pre-existing conditions can be unknown which makes it even more dangerous.

So, I will usually discourage switching medical plans between different companies (especially long standing plans) unless there is a very strong reason to do so.

As it turned out, she was already covered under an integrated shield plan with one particular insurer but she was totally unaware of it. Her Medisave transactions for the entire year didn’t show any deductions so I figured her husband must be paying for her (Other possibilities would be children or parents).

After checking through her husband’s CPF statements, I managed to confirm this and could even tell which plan they were on by looking at the amount of premiums that was being deducted.

Her husband wasn’t 100% aware he had actually covered her wife. The interesting thing is that he was recently contacted by his agent just a few days ago to upgrade his medical insurance plan. He signed a few forms and even got his wife to sign some forms.

Which makes it even more amazing because one of the forms that someone has to sign when upgrading a medical plan is to give a declaration of continued good health and inform the insurer if there were any new medical conditions.

And I’m not too sure how the wife in this case would be able to do that if she didn’t even know she was upgrading a medical plan!

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7 comments
Gracie says 9 years ago

I bought e new shield plan some time back but it was only recently that i was made known that pre-existing conditions will not be covered.

Actually i have bear part of the blame for trusting the agent too much and not calling up the insurance company to enquire. Previously, I had asked e agent what’s the impact when i received the letter notifiying me that my old shield plan (e one my parents bought) was cancelled and the agent told me that there’s no difference and i can ignore the letter. And so i did, foolishly….

No choice now, gotta pay more to get coverage for my pre-existing condition.

It’s really commendable that you actually help ya clients check their previous records before selling the product. Most agents wont do that. In my case, my agent left after a yr, the agent who took over also left after a yr and mine became an orhan policy. Had to practically beg someone to take over my policy when i wanted to upgrade the shield plan as the insurance company do not deal direct with applications.

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Gracie says 9 years ago

Agree with A Singaporean that most agents would just want to get as many transactions as they can. In my case, i didnt know that my parents had bought a shield plan for me and i signed up with another shield plan unknowingly, resulting in my previous shield plan to be cancelled. As such, i was not covered for my preexisting condition and now i have to purchase more CI coverage (with additional loading fees) to cover for this condition.

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    lioninvestor says 9 years ago

    Hi Gracie,

    Sorry to hear about your case. Did this happen recently, or quite some time back?

    Reply
A Singaporean says 9 years ago

This is a sure sign that products and paperwork are getting way too complicated. People often don’t know exactly what they are buying, and agents often don’t bother to explain, simply asking clients to just sign here and there. I think few agents would be like you, bothering to check up on what the client already has. Most agents would just want to get as many transactions as they can, and close each transaction as fast as they can.

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Daniel P says 9 years ago

Hehe, I think most of the time, the agent/banker will tell us where to sign, and we sign without reading, becuz we trust the agent/banker, and/or we are too lazy to read the documents.

We get in trouble when what the agent/banker said is different from what is printed on what we signed.

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    lioninvestor says 9 years ago

    Very true…

    Reply
Jasmin says 9 years ago

Hi Lioninvestor,
An interesting sharing.
Sometimes I don’t even know exactly what have I signed when a thick stack of forms is placed in front of me.

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