My dad is a skeptic. So when I told him that I’m considering changing over my integrated shield plan to something that is cheaper and offers better benefits (see here), he warned me that there is no free lunch in this world and advised for me to research thoroughly before making my decision. So I went to read up on Prudential and AXA shield and here’s what I found.
For private hospitalisation with rider that covers from the first dollar up, NTUC Income’s total premium over an average lifespan is actually slightly lesser than Prudential’s, while AXA is significantly cheaper than the two. I then told my dad about AXA and how it covers longer pre and post-hospitalisation periods. He gave me the same response, insinuating that there must be a catch somewhere to explain the lower premium rates.
And behold, my dad was right. After much searching through the depths of the inter web, I found out why AXA can afford to have their premiums so low despite the attractive benefits. That is:
“Letter of Guarantee (LOG) of up to S$100,000 at private hospitals if referred through our panel of Specialists”
As a layperson, reading this scares me.
Does it mean that to get LOG, I have to set an appointment with their specialist first before I can get admitted into the hospital? What if it’s really an emergency?
Would LOG still be issued if for example, I were to get admitted to Mount E first and then request to be seen by a Dr XXX that is listed in that panel? Because technically I wasn’t referred through him.
If I were to get admitted to a private hospital without going through the panel of specialists, my hospitalisation bill will be based on a reimbursement basis. Do I have sufficient emergency funds to cover the (not-so-affordable) private hospitalisation bill while awaiting reimbursement? And what is the success rate of reimbursement? Last thing I want to do while being ill is to worry about my finances.
I can imagine people worrying about this clause and opting to go to a restructured hospital instead to get the guaranteed LOG of $15,000 for a peace of mind even though they are eligible for private hospitalisation. This would then reduce the claims amount for the company as a whole, which I suppose is why they can keep their premium rates this low.
I’m quite interested to wait and see how the claiming process is like for people who are currently on the AXA Shield Plan A. Because this is a relatively new plan, there’s little information on the MOH website on the claims speed for AXA and there are very little anecdotal reviews on it on the internet.
So for now, I will continue to sit on my NTUC Enhanced Incomeshield Preferred. From age 50 till passing, I would opt for AXA Shield Plan B with the basic care rider. No questions about that. However, from now till then, I’m still undecided.