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.
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!