Guide to Understanding Integrated Shield Plan Riders

Most integrated shield plans give you the option of adding on riders for better coverage. We discuss exactly what are Integrated Shield Plan riders and how you can go about deciding which ones are the most beneficial for you.

ValueChampion Editorial Team

by ValueChampion Editorial Team on Mar 19, 2024

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Integrated Shield Plan (IP) riders are supplemental (optional) packages to your Integrated Shield Plan that provide miscellaneous benefits to top up your health insurance coverage. However, because they are not payable with your Medisave funds, they can take up a considerable part of your healthcare budget. Thus, you may not know if getting a rider may be worth its additional cost.

To help you navigate the IP riders on the market, we’ve written a guide on what they are and how you can figure out if these riders are a cost-effective addition to your health insurance.

Table of Contents

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What Are Integrated Shield Plan Riders?

Riders are optional packages that can either decrease the overall out-of-pocket cost of your medical treatment and/ or add supplemental benefits (on top of your Integrated Shield Plan). The way you can mix and match the riders with the base health insurance plan depends on the insurer’s offering. However, unlike for Integrated Shield Plans, you can’t use your Medisave funds to pay for rider premiums.

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Coinsurance and Deductible – Integrated Shield Plan Riders

Arguably, the most popular riders are the ones that fully cover your coinsurance and deductible.

A deductible is a fixed amount that you are responsible for paying out of pocket before your MedShield Life and IP benefits are payable. A co-insurance is a percentage of the medical claim you will be responsible for on top of your deductible. Currently, coinsurance is 10% of your medical cost and deductible ranges between S$1,500 and S$3,500 per year depending on your age and choice of ward class. Because deductibles and coinsurance can lead to out-of-pocket costs that might run into the thousands, it’s no wonder that Singaporeans are willing to pay for these riders to avoid expensive hospital bills.

However, as of March 2018, the Ministry of Health (MOH) declared an end to full coverage coinsurance riders. The current IP rider offerings are subject to a minimum 5% coinsurance. To maintain affordability of costly medical procedures, MOH also introduced a co-insurance cap of S$3,000, which can also be paid with your Medisave funds.

Related: What is Co-Pay and How Does That Improve Your Health Insurance

Medical & Miscellaneous Benefits – Integrated Shield Plan Riders

Beyond covering coinsurance and deductibles, IP riders also provide miscellaneous medical and medical service coverage. For instance, most such riders offer immediate family accommodation which covers the hospital stay of a parent to accommodate their hospitalised child, alternative and traditional chinese medicine coverage and ambulance/taxi coverage.

Rider Benefits

Parental Accommodation in WardS$60 to S$80/day
Ambulance/Taxi CoverageS$80 to S$250 per illness/ injury treatment
Alternative TreatmentS$5,000 to S$9,000
Emergency OutpatientS$1,500 to S$3,000
*The above is an example of some of the rider benefits (IPs) offered. However, the exact offering/ definitions of each insurance company differ. Information accurate as of March 2024.

How to Choose the Right Rider

Deciding on whether or not to purchase a rider depends mainly on your budget since most of these benefits fall into the “nice to have” category. Because they are not payable with your Medisave fund, they can end up getting quite costly and can become a burden on your budget. In fact, by the time you hit 75 years of age, the average rider (private hospital) will cost you S$5,318 per year. Thus, when deciding whether you want to invest in a rider, it is important to weigh the rider’s benefits against its premiums—if the rider won’t provide enough benefits to offset its premium, you may be better off not buying it.

It is also important to take into consideration the rider’s stipulations. For instance, if you purchased a ward A Integrated Shield Plan, you may only get the rider’s hospital cash allowance benefit if you stay in a ward B1 or below, rendering this benefit useless if you prioritise the comfort of higher tier wards over cash benefits.

Related: Elevate Your Coverage Game with Hospital Cash Insurance Plans

Average Cost of Integrated Shield Plan Riders by Age (Private Hospital Standard Room/Ward Class A)

average cost of integrated shield plan riders

However, there can be times when riders are worth their extra cost. For instance, if you are worried about paying a high deductible or coinsurance, you will only be limited to paying S$3,000 out of pocket (or through Medisave). Similarly, you may find the parent accommodation benefit worth the cost (if you are the parent of a child who needs inpatient hospital care) or you may like the hospice or nursing care worth the cost if you are a senior.

The introduction of the Cancer Drug List (CDL) in 2022 also increases the attraction of a rider. Cancer treatment coverage limit is generally much higher for those who have bought IP riders. The riders also pay for some non-CDL treatments. The type of treatment and the amount covered vary with insurers. 

Related: VC Compares: Critical Illness Plans VS Cancer Insurance

Methodology and Considerations

It is important to note that the quotes represented are averages only. Insurability is based on your specific medical history. Thus the quotes shown should only be used as a guide to help find out how IP and its riders fit within your budget. 

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