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What is maternity insurance?

Maternity insurance plan is an insurance policy that protects the mother and her baby in the event of medical emergency during pregnancy, childbirth, and up to 3 years after giving birth. These include pregnancy complications and congenital illnesses.

Maternity insurance covers for pregnancy complications such as miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, or stillbirth, hospitalisation, ICU stay, and high dependency ward stay.

As there are many maternity insurance out there, we will break things down and compare the best maternity insurance in Singapore.

Why do I need a maternity insurance?

Pregnancy comes with surprises and uncertainty. Getting a maternity insurance gives you and your child a peace of mind. In the event of unforeseen pregnancy complications, such as the need for emergency C-section, or additional care for baby post-birth, maternity insurance will take care of the bills.

Furthermore, maternity insurance entitles you to buy life insurance in case of severe complications. Although we hope that pregnancy complications don’t occur to us, they are quite common in Singapore.

Here are some of the common types of pregnancy complications affecting mothers

  • Emergency C-section: 35 – 40%
  • Gestational diabetes: 15 – 20%
  • Premature birth: 8 – 10%

Therefore, it is important to get an insurance plan to protect the mother and baby.

What to look out for in maternity insurance plans?

There are many things to look out for in maternity insurance, some are more important than the rest. This is because typically shield plans would cover certain hospitalisation due to pregnancy complications. Your maternity should have coverage that complements this.

Here are some key coverage to look out for:

Guaranteed Insurability Option (GIO): GIO is by far the most important component of a maternity insurance. It gives the child and mother the right to be insured without exclusion. Meaning if a child is unfortunately born with heart disorder, he/she will have the right to purchase an insurance policy that will cover him including the condition, just like a child with no health conditions. Without GIO or maternity insurance, the child will be deemed uninsurable.

Breech Delivery & C-section: Breech delivery and emergency C section is one of the most common issues faced by mothers, where about 30% of mothers will go through the procedure. It is important to have insurance to cover this cost as it could range from $7,000 (B1 ward) to $15,000 (Private) excluding further hospitalisation.

Congenital illnesses covered: Congenital illnesses refers to illness a child is born with. These includes illnesses such as Jaundice, Cleft Lips, Clubbed foot. We want as many of these illnesses covered as possible.

Pregnancy Complications covered: Pregnancy complications refers to medical events that moms might face during pregnancy. These includes common conditions such as gestational diabetes, low placenta placement and breech delivery. It is important to get insurance that covers the more common pregnancy complications.

Cost of maternity insurance: Generally maternity insurance in Singapore are priced competitively. Standalone plans are generally more affordable and provide greater flexibility for coverage compared to bundled plans. Hence we recommend mommies to stick with Standalone plans.

What are the types of maternity insurance? Which is better?

There generally are two types of maternity insurance in Singapore – standalone maternity insurance and bundled maternity insurance.

Standalone maternity insurance: refer to the typical maternity insurance that is purchased without other insurance before birth. Today, most standalone plans come with a Guaranteed Insurability Option (GIO), meaning you will still have the right to purchase life insurance later on after the baby is born. Standalone plans are much more popular these days as it helps parents save cost through the following reasons:

  • Flexibility of choosing coverage after birth: With guaranteed insurability, parents can choose how much insurance they want for their child after birth, this gives parents the flexibility to get the maximum coverage if their child is born with some medical condition. It also allows parents to purchase minimum coverage if their child is perfectly healthy.
  • Insurance charges are the same as everyone: As whole life insurance is purchased after birth, the policy issued will be pooled together with the public (not exclusive to babies). The only difference is that the mother and child have guaranteed insurability, hence the premiums will be the same as everyone.

Bundled maternity insurance: refer to maternity insurance bundled with a life insurance product such as a whole life plan or investment-linked insurance policy that must be purchased before the baby is born. In the past, bundled plans were attractive as it gives mother and baby guaranteed life insurance coverage as it is bought before birth.

However, with the guaranteed insurability option, bundled plans are not as attractive. There are a few reasons for this:

  • High cost as life insurance policy is separate from non-maternity insurance: bundled plans generally cost higher as insurer must take higher risk to ensure when issuing the life insurance policy. Additionally, the policy issued is not the same as those who purchase insurance without a maternity plan. Hence with higher risks and a smaller pool of babies insured, premiums will naturally be more expensive.
  • Inflexible coverage that must be selected before birth: In bundled plans, the mother and child will be forced to purchase a life insurance before childbirth.Once the life insurance is purchased, it’s coverage cannot be changed. For instance, if a child is born with a mild birth defect, the insurance coverage cannot be increased. Conversely, if a child is born perfectly normal, the coverage cannot be reduced as well.
  • Claim limit: Bundled options have an extremely low claim limit for early stage critical illness. For instance, some companies limit the maximum sum assured claimable for cticial illness at just $50,000. Hence, it defeats the purpose of “Life protection”.

Hence, we suggest mommies and daddies to get standalone plans due to their lower cost and flexible coverage

When should I get maternity plan?

Maternity insurance can be purchased as early as 13 weeks and as late as 36 weeks (some companies 40th week) into pregnancy. We recommend all parents to purchase maternity plans as early as possible, Premiums do not change, but health does.

Moving into the second trimester, some mommies might face pregnancy complications such as low placenta placement or gestational diabetes, which will prevent them from purchasing insurance.

Hence for a peace of mind, get a standalone plan as early as possible, from 13 weeks into your pregnancy.

What’s the best maternity insurance plan out there?

Here, we compare between AIA’s Mum2Baby, Great Eastern’s Great Maternity Care, NTUC Income Maternity 360, Manulife’s ReadyMummy, AXS’s HappyMummy and Singlife maternity care.

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