Expecting a Baby? Your Guide to Maternity Insurance

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Pregnancy can be a daunting and an exciting journey, especially for first time parents. You will always wish to give birth to a healthy child, but there can be unpredicted complications during the pregnancy, and congenital conditions in a newborn. Premature birth is one of the examples. According to The Asian Parent, the incidence of premature birth has seen an increase to 9.5% in the last decade. Whereas, babies born before 37 weeks run the risk of developmental problems including difficulty breathing, poor vision, and cerebral palsy. If you are expecting a baby now, how can you avoid hefty bills when complications occur during pregnancy?

The solution is to have a maternity insurance. Understanding the financial cost and commitments to raise up a kid is part and parcel of parenting. There are many insurers offering such plans in the market. Typically, the plan can be grouped into two categories: Bundled or Standalone.

Maternity Insurance AIA Family First Baby AXA Mum’s Advantage Prudential PRUfirst gift NTUC Maternity 360 Great Eastern Flexi Maternity Cover
Maternity Plan   $5000 payout. 3yrs cover                $10,000 payout 3yrs cover      $10,000 payout. 3yrs cover
No of Pregnancy complications protected8117108Hospital cash benefit for mother$100 per day$100 per dayNA$100 per day$200 per dayNo of Congenital illness protected1818172318Hospital cash benefit for child$100 per day$100 per day$100 per day$100 per day$200 per daySingle Premium$360$333.90$320$775.35$770
Bundle with…Investment-Linked Plan with Critical Illness coverStandaloneStandaloneSum assured - $100,000 / $200,000/ $300,000Monthly Premium$100+/ $200+/$300+$100+/ $200+/$300+$100+/ $200+/$300+Ease of applicationNo medical underwriting requirementsSimplified applicationNo medical underwriting*Based on age 30, female, non-smoker*NTUC Maternity 360 covers from $5,000 to $10,000 payout*AXA provides the option of bundling with protection or savings under AXA Family’s advantage

Bundled plans – What is in the bundle?

When maternity insurance was first launched in the market, consumers only had the option of taking up maternity insurance bundled with an investment-linked plan. Other than basic life and TPD coverage, these bundled investment-linked plans also include critical illness coverage. The main benefit of a bundled plan is such that one can transfer the policy from the life of the mother to the child without having to go through underwriting.

This is crucial especially if the child is born with any congenital illness or birth defects that make the child uninsurable. Minor conditions, like jaundice or other neonatal conditions often delay the processing of health application until the condition is stable. In more severe conditions, the application would even be rejected.  As such, the option to transfer the life and critical illness coverage to a child will help to reduce potential financial distress to parents who are paying additional medical bills because of congenital anomalies.

Standalone plans

Recently, there are more providers which offer standalone plans, such as basic maternity insurance. This insurance is a pure term insurance the duration of which varies from 3 to 6 years, depending on the insurer. Similar to bundled plans, standalone plans also covers the mother for pregnancy complications (like pre-eclampsia or abruptio placentae)  and congenital conditions (like atrial septal defect and club foot) in the newborn. The payout from basic maternity insurance plans range from $5,000 to $10,000.

According to statistics released by the Ministry of Health (MOH), complications affecting fetus and newborn are among the top 10 conditions that require hospitalisation. Therefore, the payout will assist to reduce the financial burden when the mother is hospitalised due to pregnancy complications. The payout and cash benefits also can help to cover the extra costs popping up on your bills.

The Verdict
Then, what should you choose between a standalone and bundled plan? Actually, there is no right or wrong in your decision as either plan is still better than not having any pregnancy coverage. But, if you wish to have the peace of mind and prefer to insure your child before birth, the bundled plan will give you that full assurance. Even though many folks have many differing views on investment-linked plan, this is still one of the most affordable ways to provide up to $200K coverage for your child. A bundled plan can also double up as an education-saving plan for your child in future.

Nonetheless, if you prefer to make a one-time payment and want to consider your options after delivery, standalone plan is your solution. However, do note that your child may not insurable in future when there is any claim made on the maternity plan.

The good news is that some private hospitals in Singapore offer newborns with “free” insurance coverage for the first six months. However, don’t assume that the plan is a hospital and surgical plan as many of the plans are personal accident plans. So, we suggest that you to check the terms and conditions of any free insurance coverage you might receive.

By the way, having discussed about maternity insurance, it is still imperative to cover your child with an Integrated Shield plan as early as possible. This is to avoid large hospital bills that can eat into˜ your Medisave savings. Integrated Shield plans can be bought for a child as early as 15 days from birth. In case you are still unaware, NTUC is offering a complimentary one-year integrated shield plan for baby born between 2016 and 2019. You can appoint your own advisers to assist you with the sign-up, but do look for a Certified Financial Planner when you do so.

Last but not least, may your pregnancy and delivery be smooth sailing!

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