Health Insurance

What is health insurance?

An accident, illness or disability may leave you with some financial loss. Besides incurring medical and /or hospitalisation costs, you may be unable to work, whether partially or fully, during your recovery.

There are different health insurance policies to help you and your family cope with expenses at these times. Some policies provide cash to help make up for income loss while you are disabled or hospitalised. Other policies help cover the cost of medical treatment or nursing care.

Here are some common health insurance policies to consider:

If you want to You should consider  
Have your hospital and surgical (medical) expenses covered Medical expense insurance e.g. MediShield and Integrated Shield plans
Receive a fixed amount of cash when you are in hospital Hospital cash insurance
Receive a lump sum to help you with expenses when you are diagnosed with a major illness like cancer Critical illness insurance
Replace your income when you are unable to work Disability income insurance
Pay for care you need when severely disabled or too weak to look after yourself Long term care insurance
e.g. ElderShield and ElderShield Supplements

Get health insurance while you are still young and healthy. If you apply for insurance after you have developed some health conditions, the insurer may exclude those conditions from coverage. Most policies also have a last entry age after which you will not be able to apply for coverage.

Is the healthcare coverage provided by your employer enough?

Your employment benefits may include group health insurance coverage. Find out whether you have such a benefit, and if so, what you are covered for. Group insurance policies may not cover you when you change employer or retire so you should consider having a personal policy as well. Do not wait until you are no longer working to buy a health insurance policy as you may no longer be insurable due to age or poor health.

Is Medisave enough?

Medisave is not a health insurance policy. Part of your CPF contributions goes into your Medisave account and this is part of your CPF savings.

You can use your Medisave to pay for:

  • you or your immediate family members’ hospitalisation, day surgery and certain outpatient expenses; and
  • premiums for MediShield and Integrated Shield plans for yourself and your immediate family members.

Do note that:

  • Medisave is a savings account and is meant to help pay the costs of hospitalisation expenses and expensive outpatient treatments.
  • There are withdrawal limits on the use of Medisave. Read more on the Ministry of Health (MOH) website.


What is Medifund?

If you are a Singapore citizen receiving subsidised treatment and have difficulty paying your medical bill at a Medifund approved hospital or centre, you can apply for assistance under the Medifund scheme. Approach the Medical Social Workers at the Medifund-approved institutions for assistance. Read more on Medifund from the MOH website

Find out more about the types of health insurance and things to watch out for before purchasing health insurance.


The above information is prepared in collaboration with the Central Provident Fund Board, Ministry of Health, General Insurance Association of Singapore and Life Insurance Association of Singapore.