This article first appeared on fundMyLife, the platform that connects financial planning questions to the right advisers.
It is a bummer to have what insurers call pre-existing conditions. These are defined generally serious or chronic injuries or illnesses that you already have before you start an insurance policy. It can range from something you were born with such as asthma, or something that develops later in your like, such as diabetes. At best, you have to pay extra premiums to account for the additional risk borne by the insurance company. At worst, the company denies you coverage outright.
It is not the end of the world if you are one of those out there with pre-existing conditions. In this article, we discuss what options you have to get yourself protected, even with pre-existing conditions.
# 1 Corporate Group Insurance Plans
If you or your spouse works in a medium to large-sized company, chances are that your company has a group insurance plan, be it for yourself or your spouse. Some corporate schemes have a thing called medical history disregard. As its name suggests, employees (and their partner, if available) under this group plan can join no matter what their health condition is.
You should check with Human Resources if the group insurance covers individuals with pre-existing conditions. The only downside is that you have to stick with the company to maintain coverage. That is a risky decision, since your coverage is now at the mercy of your employers. However, if it’s a good company, why not stay?
# 2 Moratorium Underwriting
When you apply for insurance, you under go medical checkups and complete questionnaires about your health. This is because insurance companies require these to assess the risks involved when covering you.
Moratorium underwriting is when the company does not require you to undergo checks and questionnaires. Instead, a waiting period is declared. If you do not undergo any treatment or get ill from your pre-existing condition during the waiting period, your application for insurance will be approved by the insurance company.
This move is risky, since you won’t have coverage until the moratorium period is over. Not all companies provide moratorium underwriting. At the point of this writing, only Aviva officially provides moratorium underwriting so you’ll have to speak with your own adviser.
# 3 Non-Conventional Products
There are global insurance for pre-existing conditions offered by local companies, such as AXA’s GlobalCare Health Plan and AXA InternationalExclusive. Providing health insurance for individuals with pre-existing conditions is, from the perspective of a local insurance company, risky. The potential downside about international health plans is cost, i.e. it costs more to get yourself insured under these international plans.
In the recent years, insurance companies took the initiative to design specialized products for those looking for insurance for pre-existing conditions. Critical illness plans are typically out of reach for individuals with chronic diseases, such as diabetes. However, with rising cases of diabetes each year, it means more people are excluded from getting adequate coverage. AIA Diabetes Care is a critical illness plan for individuals who are pre-diabetic or have Type II diabetes aged between 30 to 65 years old.
In addition, most travel insurance do not cover claims from individuals with pre-existing conditions as well. NTUC Income has Enhanced PreX plans that provides coverage for those incurring medical expenses while they are overseas.
# 4 MediShield Life
This is almost a no-brainer (since every Singaporean has access to it), but a point worth putting in this list. If all else fails, there is MediShield Life for basic coverage. Those with pre-existing conditions are still eligible, but have to pay 30% more premiums for ten years before the premium goes back to normal that corresponds to the age group. That said, according to MOH, those who control their pre-existing conditions, or have mild ones, do not have to pay the extra premiums.
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If you have a pre-existing condition, we hope this article is reassuring. There are still options out there if you are looking for insurance for pre-existing conditions.
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