After 12 long years and 1 full zodiac cycle, 2024 welcomes the Year of the Dragon based on the Chinese zodiac. The Dragon symbolises power, nobleness, luck and success in traditional Chinese culture. Therefore, it is generally considered an auspicious year to have babies. I know this from first-hand experience because I was born in the Year of the Dragon, specifically in the year ending with 88 for extra luck. What I do not know is whether I have fulfilled the lofty and noble aspirations that my parents must have harboured back then. Well, whether you believe in this folklore or not, one thing you should consider is to purchase a maternity insurance if you are expecting a child. I have always been a strong advocate of it and here are the reasons why I think it is important to buy maternity insurance during pregnancy.
1) Guaranteed Insurability Benefit
We understand that the purpose of insurance is to provide protection against a possible eventuality. Before your child is born, we cannot be certain that they will have a clean bill of health. Without a clean bill of health, they risk becoming “un-insurable”, i.e. no private insurer is willing to insure the child as it is not viable to do so. For instance, it is not uncommon to learn of newborns with congenital anomalies having to wait out a foreseeable period before becoming eligible for insurance or worst, having coverage declined completely. This is because private insurers tend to exclude pre-existing medical conditions to ensure their insurance schemes remain sustainable.
As a very risk-averse person, I don’t like this possibility even if it is remote. When I found out that this can be mitigated by exercising the Guaranteed Insurability Benefit Option provided by maternity insurance policies, I knew that I had to buy one.
GREAT Maternity Care 2 by Great Eastern provides Guaranteed Insurability Benefit (GIB)‡ for the newborn and/or mother provided that this option is exercised within 90 days of the child’s birth. This GIB‡ provides parents the option to purchase an eligible Whole Life, Investment-Linked or Endowment Plan that provides coverage against Death, Total and Permanent Disability or Terminal Illness for a sum assured of up to S$300,000 and Critical Illness for a sum assured up to S$150,000^ without the need for further medical underwriting. Since no medical underwriting is required, there will not be questions asked about Mother’s or the newborn’s health status.
GREAT Maternity Care 2 is one of the standalone maternity insurance policies available in Singapore. This plan provides comprehensive coverage for both mother and child from as early as 13 weeks of pregnancy and until the end of the third policy year. Your child’s lifelong protection can also start without medical assessment by exercising the GIB‡ option. What’s more, if the insured child is diagnosed with a covered condition as a result of pre-existing condition, the child will be covered too. Do note that if the diagnosis is made before the child turns 6 years old, the claim payout is subject to an overall limit of S$30,000. Claim payout due to pre-existing condition is payable only once, coverage (if any) will continue with reduced sum assured and premium.
2) Integrated Shield Plans Only cover Reimbursement of Hospitalisation Expenses Arising From Pregnancy Complications
It is a common fallacy to think that “I have an Integrated Shield Plan (IP) with a supplementary plan, therefore I will be covered for any medical expenses resulting from unwanted pregnancy complications”.
Unfortunately, this is wrong. That is because IPs cover only reimbursement of hospitalisation expenses arising from pregnancy complications. The complication(s) must be first diagnosed after 300 days from the Last Policy Effective Date. For the avoidance of doubt, expenses incurred for normal delivery and managing the pregnancy (prior or after the diagnosis of the above complications) will not be covered.
On the other hand, GREAT Maternity Care 2 provides lump sum payout for certain benefits. Specifically, it provides coverage against 18 types of covered pregnancy and childbirth complications as shown in Diagram 1.
Besides coverage for pregnancy complications, GREAT Maternity Care 2 also offers hospital care benefits as shown in Diagram 2.
Within my circle of friends, I have already come across occurrences of Lactation Mastitis whereby inexperienced mummies struggle with breastfeeding. Having witnessed my wife’s own journey with breastfeeding, I can totally empathise why some mothers may succumb to mastitis. Should this unfortunate incident occur, GREAT Maternity Care 2 will pay 2% of the sum assured for every day that the life assured (mother) is hospitalised+.
Therefore, it is shown that buying a maternity insurance extends the width of coverage to provide greater assurance for the family, especially the mother.
3) Cover against some hospitalisation events for the child
After Lenora was delivered, I made a total of 4 trips to the polyclinic to track her jaundice levels. This close monitoring was tiring but I am thankful that her jaundice levels came down without much intervention. Did you know that East Asian babies are more predisposed to the risk of severe jaundice, which requires phototherapy? This is a covered hospitalisation event for the insured child under GREAT Maternity Care 2 as shown in Diagram 3.
4 Payable for up to a maximum of 30 days and will end when the limit has been reached or at the end of policy term
If for whatever reason you may not be able to buy a Hospitalisation & Surgery (H&S) plan for your newborn, there will be some limited coverage offered by a maternity insurance policy. For instance, within the entire duration of the plan, GREAT Maternity Care 2 pays out 2% of the sum assured for each day (up to a maximum of 30 days) the child is hospitalised due to covered hospitalisation events. I pored through the list and saw that Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) and Infectious Disease are both included. As a parent of a toddler, I have seen first-hand incidence of HFMD occurrences in preschools.
Heartland Boy prefers standalone maternity insurance policy
There are maternity insurance plans that are sold as standalone plans or packaged with other insurance policies as a rider. Though both types of maternity insurance plans serve the same protection purpose, I personally prefer a standalone plan especially if I do not necessarily need the coverage of other insurance policies at that moment. For some, getting another insurance policy could potentially lead to a case of overconsumption and having insurance premiums taking up a larger than the planned amount for the intended coverage.
Admittedly, the sum assured of a maximum of S$10,000 from GREAT Maternity Care 2 may not seem like a very significant sum. However, it may be assuring to know that the insured could receive payouts more than the sum assured. How this works is that while each benefit is payable only once, after a benefit is paid out (except Death payout), GREAT Maternity Care 2 will continue to provide coverage on remaining unused benefits**. Hence, in emotional situations such as delivery and hospitalisations, having maternity insurance provides peace of mind that plays an outsized role beyond the conventional dollars and sense. In addition, having the option on hand to trigger the GIB is tantamount to the proverb of a bird in hand is worth two in the bush.
Disclosure: This article is written in collaboration with The Great Eastern Life Assurance Company Limited “Great Eastern”. It is for information only and reflects my opinion and not that of Great Eastern.
‡ The Guaranteed Insurability Benefit (GIB) option can only be exercised once for the mother, and once for the newborn. GIB option must be exercised within 90 days from the birth of the child. The list of eligible plans, and the maximum sum assured limit per life per plan that can be purchased on the life of the mother and/or the newborn are subject to change as determined by Great Eastern. The list of eligible plans excludes all hospitalisation plans such as GREAT SupremeHealth and GREATTotalCare. The precise terms and conditions of the insurance plan are specified in the policy contract.
^ Coverage for pre-existing conditions will be capped at S$30,000 for child below 6 years old.
+ For GREAT Maternity Care 2, the 2% sum assured is only payable if the choice of treatment for Lactation Mastitis includes incision and drainage. Coverage is excluded for treatment with simple needle aspiration.
** Please refer to the product summary for details.
~ Terms and conditions for GREAT Bundle of Joy and other promotions/campaigns for selected insurance plans can be referred to on Great Eastern’s website (https:www.greateasternlife.com/baby) .
#For simplified application of hospitalisation plans, the campaign terms and conditions will apply. Applicable to child born on/after 37 gestational weeks, who is at least 15 days old and discharged from hospital but not be more than 90 days old at the point of application. Any Pre-existing Condition from which the Life Assured is suffering prior to the effective date of the eligible plans will not be covered. Please refer to the precise terms and conditions of the eligible plans specified in their respective policy contracts.
This advertisement has not been reviewed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
The above is for general information only. It is not a contract of insurance. The precise terms and conditions of this insurance plan are specified in the policy contract.
This is only product information provided by us. The information presented is for general information only and does not have regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs of any particular person.
As this product has no savings or investment feature, there is no cash value if the policy ends or is terminated prematurely.
Protected up to specified limits by SDIC.
Information is correct as at 18 January 2024.