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Insurance for People with Autoimmune Conditions

Many people with autoimmune diseases often have to pay higher premiums or get excluded when buying insurance. Yet, the cost of living with an autoimmune disease can be very costly when you have to pay out of pocket. Devan Tay, member of our Autoimmune Diseases Singapore support group, shared what our options are despite not being able to buy or being excluded from many insurance plans.

Important note:

This article is for your information only and does not have regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation and particular needs of any persons. If there is any product presented, it is intended only to be a simplified description of the product features applicable to this plan and is not exhaustive.

Please refer to the relevant policy contracts/ supplementary agreements for the precise terms and conditions of the products. Premiums are not guaranteed. Terms and conditions apply. Protected up to specified limits by SDIC.

What is the 4-3-2-1 of Financial Planning?

40% Wealth Distribution - These are your day to day expenses, loans, liability and your legacy.

30% Wealth Accumulation - Financial goals like retirement, buying property or paying off your loans.

20% Risk Management - These are tools like insurance, like personal accident plans, car insurance, or even business insurance, if you are running a business. These can help you manage risks like an unexpected illness, accidents, retrenchment or a business lawsuit.

10% Emergency Funds - This is for any unanticipated costs that may arise like the health care cost for a loved one.

What Insurance is Available?

Devan suggests that a hospitalisation (Integrated Shield) plan and a personal accident plan are the minimum a person needs in addition to whatever is provided by Medisave, Medishield Life and Careshield*.

Medishield Life is basic health insurance for Singapore citizens and Permanent Residents. This covers large hospital bills and selected costly outpatient treatments. However, the claim limits are pegged to public hospital B2/C-type wards. If you opt to stay in a B1 or an A ward, MediShield Life may not be sufficient to cover your full hospital bill. This is where your personal hospitalisation insurance can come in.

Careshield Life is a long-term care insurance scheme that provides basic financial support should Singaporeans become severely disabled, especially during old age, and need personal and medical care for a prolonged duration (i.e. long-term care).

  • If you are born after 1990 (aged below 30 in 2020), you will be automatically covered when you turn 30, regardless of pre-existing medical conditions and disability.

  • If you are born between 1980 to 1990 (aged 30 to 40 in 2020), you will be automatically covered on 1st Oct 2020 or when you turn 30, whichever is later, regardless of pre-existing medical conditions and disability.

  • If you are born between 1970 and 1979 (aged 41 to 50 in 2020), insured under ElderShield 400, and not severely disabled, you will be automatically enrolled into CareShield Life from end-2021. However, you can opt-out by 31st Dec 2023 if you do not wish to remain on CareShield Life.

  • If you are born in 1979 or earlier (aged 41 and above in 2020), participation is optional.1 You can apply to join CareShield Life from end-2021 onwards if you are not severely disabled. There is no age limit.

*Refer to FAQ on government insurance schemes here.

Personal accident plans are a type of general insurance that provides benefits in the case of accidental death, disability and injury. The benefits usually cover all phases of suffering an accident, from evacuation to hospitalisation and treatment, rehabilitation and recovery. Personal accident insurance plans overlap with other types of insurance, including life plans, MediShield/hospitalisation plans and travel insurance. A personal accident plan can be used to boost the payout a family receives in case of accidental death of the breadwinner. In the case of a fatal accident, the additional payout can offer an extra layer of protection to the surviving family members, which could include young children, stay-at-home spouses or retired parents.

Some insurance companies also provide insurance plans with minimal underwriting for the different stages of cancer, which is the top cause of death in Singapore.


  1. Personal accident plans often cover outpatient doctors visit for minor injuries like cuts, burns or sprained ankles, which is not covered by Medishield Life. Some even cover Tradition Chinese Medicine treatments and chiropractor sessions.

  2. For those who are excluded from medical insurance and have been relying on your employer's company insurance, check if the plan is portable or transferable. Portable medical benefits are medical benefits that employees can bring with them if they change employers. This is different from non-portable medical benefits, which are lost when employees stop working or change employers. Transferable Medical Insurance Scheme (TMIS) is an enhanced group hospitalisation and surgical insurance that employers can buy for your employees. It extends inpatient coverage up to a maximum period of 12 months when an employee leaves employment. Employees covered under TMIS plans will be treated as continuously insured when they join a new employer who has also purchased a TMIS plan. They will not be excluded from coverage even if they have a pre-existing illness before joining the new employer.

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