Do you need maternity insurance? Definitely a maybe [Here’s my story]
Recently I met up with an ex-colleague who shared a piece of good news with me. His wife was pregnant and he would like my advice on the preparation. Our intended hour-long conversation over-ran into the 2nd hour. It was all about what and how to get him ready for the newborn.
It summed up what I thought about the entire preparation process – long but yet enjoyable.
Deciding what the must-dos are
In truth, long is an understatement.
Preparation seems to be never ending until the baby finally arrives
From the day that I knew about the pregnancy, I was constantly thinking about what did I need to do to be a better father.
It would be as obvious as finding a suitable gynaecologist to the less clear such as buying a tin of baby powder to stand-by at home.
Besides buying things, it also involved taking pre-natal lessons, saving up money as well as making practice drives to the hospital to find the quickest way to the hospital.
Therefore, it is important to differentiate between the must-do, good-to-have and the least-priority items.
Where does maternity insurance rank?
If you miss out part 1 of our Parenting & Insurance series, this is a good time to check it out to learn the main benefits of maternity insurance before going any further.
What maternity insurance does is to provide a financial cushion for two unexpected events – congenital condition and pregnancy complications. You may choose your sum assured but it typically ranges from $5,000 to $10,000. Some maternity plans pay a hospital benefit of 1% of the sum assured for each day of hospitalization.
A lump sum of money to pay for the expensive procedures and a hospital cash benefit to help you defray ward fee – that pretty much sums up maternity insurance.
It is absolutely a good-to-have option that can help immensely when the unfortunate occurs.
However, there may be situations that some may need it more than others
How I decided to get one.
Although maternal mortality in Singapore is extremely low at 8.6 in every 100,000 births, the risk of congenital deformity and pregnancy complications was considerably high due to the relatively late age of my wife. What we really did not want was to face financial difficulties on top of any unexpected hiccups during her pregnancy.
Having decided to get one, we had to decide which plan suited us the most. As we mostly did our own investment, the maternity plans that required us to buy an accompanying saving or investment-linked plan were out. That meant that PRUfirst gift and AIA Mum2Baby were eliminated.
What was left was OCBC MaxMaternity plan.
We went to the bank to sign up for the plan. As easy as ABC.
That was what we thought.
An unexpected roadblock
We were happily waiting for the policy to be issued and delivered to us when the application hit a snag. Our insurance consultant called to inform us that our policy was under review. Shortly later, a letter was sent to us to request for more information from our gynaecologist.
What transpired was that the insurance company wished to know the medical reason for our previous miscarriage. As far as we knew, the foetus stopped growing and that was it. In order to obtain insurance, we had to go back and relive through the painful experience again.
To make things worse, the medical report was not exactly cheap. At KKH, the specialist medical report cost a whopping $288.90! We thought hard about it. Even after getting a medical report, there was no guarantee that we could get the coverage from the insurer.
After thinking though, we decided to abort our plans to obtain pregnancy insurance. We had to fork out almost $300 for a medical report that was not reimbursable whether we managed to get the coverage or not. On top of that, we had to pay over a thousand dollars for the insurance itself if it was approved.
What allowed us to come to that conclusion was that we had sufficient savings on our own. The maternity insurance was just the cherry on top and not a need.
So should you get one?
The most vital part of maternity insurance is the financial blanket that you get during a pregnancy crisis. Although we had sufficient savings to self-insure, we still applied for one because we knew that any pregnancy complication or congenital condition would be financially crippling for an average family like us. Nevertheless, when the application got too painful for us, we decided against it.
For couples that do not have enough savings to survive any pregnancy misadventure, maternity insurance becomes a top priority or a nearly must-have. After all, we want to do our best as parents-to-be. Having the financial means to afford medical treatments for the newborn is one way we can do just that.
Have a great time preparing for the birth of the new you and may you never have to claim from your maternity insurance!
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