Health Insurance

How Much Can A Disability Set You Back Financially And What’s Your Safety Net?

Certain accidents and illnesses are relatively common in Singapore and dangerous enough to cause disability. This article analyses three health insurance providers in Singapore, to show you which one offers the best financial protection over the long run.

According to statistics from the latest Annual Road Traffic Report, there has been an increase in speeding-related accidents and fatal drink-driving accidents. For example, speeding-related accidents increased by 3.1%, from 735 cases in 2019 to 758 in 2020. Even if you consider yourself to be a safe driver, you cannot predict or control the actions of other drivers who share the same road, particularly those who exceed the speed limit or drink and drive. Car accidents range from minor fender benders resulting in temporary injuries, to more extreme cases where injuries can leave you permanently disabled.

What is a Permanent Disability?

There are three types of disabilities that result from road accidents:

  • Temporary disabilities
  • Partial disabilities
  • Permanent disabilities

A temporary disability would impair you for a short period of time, but you are likely to completely recover. For example, a broken bone or a strained muscle. A partial disability can affect your personal life or work life but does not necessarily prevent you from performing Activities of Daily Living (ADL), such as personal hygiene or grooming, dressing, and eating. Permanent disabilities require significant life changes and affect your ability to carry out daily activities. For example, paralysis caused by spinal cord trauma, complete or partial limb amputation, or sensory deprivations, including deafness or blindness.

It’s unsettling to read about other people's accidents and see images of their serious injuries. What can be more unsettling is to picture yourself in that same scenario. If you were faced with an incident resulting in disability, hospitalisation costs and other medical related bills would impose a significant burden, especially without having the right health insurance to create a financial safety net.

How Much a Disability Can Set you Back Financially

If you’re faced with serious injury or disability, two aspects of your life will change: an increase in your medical bills and a decrease in your ability to earn a full-time income.

Sample Daily Ward Cost for Public Hospital

Room TypeCost (Subsidised)Cost (Non-Subsidised)
Bed (Suite)S$77S$293.39
Single RoomS$77S$293.39
Bed (Open Cubicle)S$51S$139.10
Information from National University Hospital. Prices accurate as of 26 Feb 2021 and are subject to change.

Sample Daily Ward Cost for Private Hospital

Room TypeCost
Bed (Suite)S$728
4-beddedS$291
Executive deluxe suite roomS$1,288
Information from Mount Elizabeth Hospital. Prices accurate as of 26 Feb 2021 and are subject to change.

The above tables illustrate one small portion of the medical bill, the daily room cost while seeking treatment. Other medical costs can include surgical operations, x-rays, consumables, implants, and more. In addition to these immediate hospitalisation costs, there are also long-term care costs for more severe cases. Long-term care includes a number of services to meet the health care needs of a person for an extended duration of time. These care services enable people with a disability to live as independently and safely as possible, if they can no longer perform an ADL on their own.

How Much Does Long Term Care Cost in Singapore?

Long-Term Care

Type of CareSingapore CitizenPermanent Resident
Chronic Sick UnitS$1,860- S$4,560S$2,460- S$4,560
Nursing Home ServicesS$651- S$2,418S$651- S$2,418
Short Stay UnitS$450- S$1,519S$809- S$1,519
Information from Renci. Prices accurate as of 26 Feb 2021 and are subject to change.

Centre Based Services

ServiceSingapore CitizenPermanent Resident
Active RehabilitationS$10- S$80S$22-S$80
Maintenance RehabilitationS$7- S$65S$16- S$65
Centre Based NursingS$5-S$54S$11-S$54
Information from Renci. Prices accurate as of 26 Feb 2021 and are subject to change.

Reduced Ability to Work, Directly Affecting Monthly Income

In almost every occupation, people with disabilities are more likely to work part-time. Regardless of actual work hours per week or occupation area, employees with disability are likely to earn less compared to those without medical impairments. For example, In the United States, a study found that workers with disability earn 66 cents for every dollar than those with no disability earn. In Singapore, disability can also lead to a loss of income. In 2019, only three in 10 persons with disabilities who are of working age were employed.

Given the high medical costs and reduced ability to work, and hence a lower income, it’s advisable to plan ahead to shield against uncertainty. But with several health and disability insurance plans in Singapore to choose from, which one should you pick to help take care of life’s uncertainties?

Who Offers the Best Disability Insurance Plan in Singapore?

The main disability insurance plans in Singapore include Great Eastern’s GREAT CareShield, NTUC Income’s Income Care Secure, and Aviva’s Aviva MyLongTermCare. Here are the main differences between these insurance plans:

  • GREAT CareShield is the only disability income protection plan in Singapore that provides a lump sum payout for the inability to perform 1 ADL, whereas Income and Aviva require 2 ADLs
  • While GREAT CareShield and Aviva MyLongTermCare both provide a premium waiver for the inability to perform 1 ADL, GREAT CareShield provides an additional lump sum payout upon the onset of a mild disability (1 ADL).
  • GREAT CareShield is our recommended option for minor disabilities

The main difference between GREAT CareShield and the other CareShield supplements is that GREAT CareShield provides a lump sum payout and premium waivers when you are unable to perform one ADL compared to the other two plans which require two or more ADLs for a payout. Lastly, GREAT CareShield is the only disability income protection plan where you would start receiving payout even with a mild disability.

Our Recommended Disability Income Protection Plan: GREAT CareShield

GREAT CareShield offers you enhanced protection with payouts to help in the event of loss of income or to cover long-term care costs due to a disability, regardless if it is due to an accident or illness. GREAT CareShield provides up to S$5,000 monthly payouts for moderate and severe disabilities.

Key Benefits of Great Eastern’s GREAT CareShield Include:

  • Up to S$15,000 lump sum payout on every occurrence of mild disability
  • Initial benefit resets and restores after you have fully recovered from your disability (not suffering from ADLs) so you can have the continued assurance of this benefit upon subsequent episodes of mild disability
  • Premiums payable in part or full by MediSave
  • Up to lifetime monthly payouts for moderate disability

Here’s How GREAT CareShield Works

James is currently 30 years old and lives a healthy active lifestyle. He decides to sign up for GREAT CareShield Advantage with a premium payment term of up to the age of 80.

If he suffers a disability in the future, he will receive:

Monthly BenefitAnnual Premium
S$2,500S$1,017
The Monthly Benefit supplements your CareShield Life monthly payouts which start from S$600.

When James is 42 years old, he goes rock climbing and suffers from an accidental fall, resulting in a concussion and a broken leg. Thus, he loses the ability to perform one ADL. Under GREAT CareShield Advantage, James is protected and receives an initial benefit of S$7,500. In addition, his future premiums are waived. When James turns 48, his health condition worsens and he loses the ability to perform two ADLs. Luckily, he’s still protected under his insurance and will receive a monthly payout of S$2,500 for life.

If you were faced with a sudden accident, how would you #Lifeproof your financial future against long-term disability?

Click here to speak with Great Eastern to learn more about GREAT CareShield and to plan for your financial future. Alternatively, click here to purchase online instantly.

Note: Great Eastern is offering a 20% discount on your first year premium!

Pooja Khandelwal

Pooja is a Content Marketing Lead at ValueChampion Singapore. She is responsible for planning and executing sponsored content projects and building relationships with media partners. In addition, she evaluates financial products for consumers based on quantitative and qualitative analysis. Pooja holds degrees in Economics and Psychology from Rutgers University. Her prior work experience includes founding and leading a content marketing consultancy and working at eCommerce, AI, and B2B SaaS startups in Singapore. Pooja has contributed insights to Tech in Asia, Yahoo!, and many other publications. Connect with her on LinkedIn to collaborate on content.

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