Should you buy pregnancy insurance to cover complications that may occur when you’re expecting a baby? Here’s what the doctors say.
When making plans to conceive, it’s typical for couples to go over the financial costs of having a baby. But have you considered what it might cost if something were to happen to you or your unborn child during pregnancy?
Also called maternity or prenatal insurance, pregnancy insurance can be purchased when you’re expecting a baby, guaranteeing protection for you and your baby before birth, in case of medical complications and/or congenital illnesses.
What might go wrong during a pregnancy?
“Buying pregnancy insurance is a good idea, to cover for problems that may occur while you’re pregnant,” says Dr Ann Tan, an obstetrician and gynaecologist at Women Fertility & Fetal Centre at Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre.
Besides congenital illnesses, there are several other problems would-be parents might worry about. According to Dr Tan, these include:
Threatened abortion: This is vaginal bleeding that may occur before your 20th week. It is sometimes accompanied by abdominal cramps and can be physically painful as well as emotionally draining. These symptoms suggest that you’re at an increased risk of miscarriage. A threatened abortion, also called a threatened miscarriage, requires plenty of rest, medication and medical leave.
Miscarriage: The risk of your pregnancy failing depends on various factors, such as your weight, whether you’ve miscarried before, whether you have a multiple pregnancy, and so on. Age is also a big risk factor – as you get older, your risk of miscarrying increases by 15 to 25 per cent.
Preterm labour: A pregnancy normally lasts about 40 weeks. Preterm labour is the onset of labour between 24 and 37 weeks. Treatment typically includes enforced rest, admission to hospital, and prolonged medical leave ranging from days to weeks. If can be quite expensive if you have to stay in hospital for an extended period.
Preterm delivery: This commonly means that there’s a problem with your pregnancy and an operative delivery (a lower segment caesarean section) may be required. The highest cost incurred with preterm delivery is that of neonatal intensive care, and this cost depends on the gestational age at delivery.
High blood pressure: You may have to be admitted to hospital if you have high blood pressure during pregnancy; delivering your baby early may be required to avoid eclampsia, a serious condition defined by the occurrence of seizures.
Gestational diabetes: This occurs when you develop high blood sugar levels while pregnant. It may affect your pregnancy and your baby’s health, increasing your risk of pre-eclampsia and maybe even requiring a caesarean section.
Multiple pregnancy: Expecting more than one baby almost always leads to a preterm delivery.
There’s a lot to consider before buying pregnancy insurance, and of course, there are pros and cons to be aware of, too. For instance, do you know what the policy covers and what costs are involved?
Dr Tan urges you to read the fine print and consider your needs before committing to a policy. “If the policy covers only catastrophic occurrences, then it might not be relevant to your situation, but at the same time, you should ask yourself if you should be prepared.
“If the policy covers for more frequent or common events, then it would be, or should be, more popular.”
What you should know before purchasing
In Singapore, pregnancy insurance typically covers pregnancy complications, and congenital illnesses such as cerebral palsy, Down’s syndrome, spina bifida, cleft lip and cleft palate, and congenital deafness.
Benefits range from a cash lump sum if you develop complications during your pregnancy or if your baby is diagnosed with a congenital illness, to hospital care benefits in case you have to be hospitalised while pregnant.
Don’t forget to consider coverage details, like the pay-out structure, and whether the plan is a standalone or one that you can bundle with other policies, such as a life insurance or endowment plan for your child. Some policies also won’t cover you if your pregnancy was a result of in-vitro fertilisation (IVF).
Finally, make sure you meet the eligibility criteria, as some plans require you to be within a specific age range or to be at least 13 weeks’ pregnant before applying.
Pregnancy insurance in Singapore
Here’s what to expect from the various policies available:
Mum’s Advantage by AXA (www.axa.com.sg): This combines two plans – medical and investment. It covers for unexpected health expenses for you and your baby during pregnancy and after childbirth, offers protection against 18 congenital illnesses, and provides savings for your child’s future. You have to be 16 to 36 weeks’ pregnant to be eligible.
ReadyMummy by Manulife (www.manulife.com.sg): Get coverage for yourself from as early as 13 weeks into your pregnancy, and for your child from birth to policy year three. This policy is unique in that it covers psychotherapy treatment to support your mental wellness. It also covers pregnancy by assisted conception procedures such as IVF, Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) and Intracervical Insemination (ICI) with additional premium.
Flexi Maternity Cover by Great Eastern (www.greateasternlife.com.sg): A standalone maternity insurance plan for you and your newborn, offering coverage for you from as early as 13 weeks into your pregnancy and continuing for 30 days after childbirth. Coverage for your baby ends three years from the start of the policy.
Mum2Baby Choices by AIA (www.aia.com.sg): This plan covers you for childbirth medical negligence, hospitalisation up to 30 days and major hospitalisation (more than 30 days or at least five days in ICU). It also offers guaranteed lifelong protection for your child up to age 100.
PRUFirst Gift by Prudential (www.prudential.com.sg): A combination of PRULink Enhanced Protector (an investment-linked plan) and PRUMum2Be (a term plan), this comprehensive plan offers a lump sum pay-out in the case of pregnancy complications or congenital illnesses. It also allows you to invest in your child’s future education and savings.
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