Can I buy insurance for pregnancy expenses?

In Singapore, health care is heavily subsidized for citizens and permanent residents. While you’ll have to pay for your visits to the gynecologists and prenatal care, you’ll be able to use your Medisave to pay for most of the costs of ultrasounds and the delivery. Of course, this means you are still paying money out-of-pocket, so you are probably wondering if there’s any insurance that covers pregnancy and the post-partum period.

The straightforward answer is that, yes, there is insurance for pregnancy expenses, but it is usually for cases of complications rather than regular prenatal care. As prenatal care is part of the natural process and is already subsidized, insurance companies in Singapore do not cover it.

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Insurance plans available before pregnancy

You can purchase insurance that covers cases of miscarriage, emergency Caesarean sections, premature births, as well as birth defects. These complications often require greater medical care and a longer hospital stay, which can send bills soaring. In such cases, these policies can really help you cover the gap left by Medisave.

These types of policies are available from most insurance companies. However, you need long-term planning to really utilize them. Typically, for an insurance company like NTUC Income and Great Eastern, they require you to buy the plan at least 10 months before getting pregnant, so they can collect your premiums for a set amount of time.

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Insurance plans available after pregnancy

There is another type of insurance, however, that caters to women who are already conceiving. This plan, which is offered by companies like Prudential and AXA, protects mum and baby from 18 weeks into pregnancy. After birth, the policy transforms into an endowment policy for parents to save towards the child’s education.

Can I get insurance if I’m an expatriate?

Unfortunately, most of the insurance policies offered here are unlikely to cover the costs of your pregnancy and delivery. You are best off if you have an overseas insurance policy designed for expatriates who covers international healthcare costs. In Singapore, there is a company called Medibroker that specializes in sourcing for suitable insurance policies for expats. Try to plan in advance though, as there may be a long waiting period involved.

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What about insurance for my baby?

If you register your newborn as a Singaporean citizen, the Government creates a Medisave account for him or her right away and deposits a total of $3,000 in it. This Medisave grant is for helping parents to pay for MediShield insurance for your baby and to cover other costs like vaccinations. You should also know that all Singapore citizens born after Mar 1 2013 are automatically covered under MediShield for any congenital and neonatal conditions.

If you want more insurance for your baby, you have a large variety of private options to choose from, ranging from a cheap term policy to a comprehensive life policy. Also popular among parents are endowment policies, which are essentially saving programs with some insurance coverage thrown in. If you have a healthy baby, this can be a great time to buy insurance while premiums are low.

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