Warning: Travel Insurance May Not Really Protect Seniors in Singapore

Most experienced and seasoned travelers will know the importance of travel insurance and will not leave home without one.  Most standard travel insurance plans are actually quite affordable and many will costs you under $100.  But every plan is different and you have to read the fine print.

Apart from trip cancellation, the most costly risk especially to Europe or USA, is related to healthcare.  Many may not know this but if you fall sick and require hospitalisation during your travel, the travel insurance policy may not pay for the costs if they deem that it is related to your pre-existing condition.  Normally, standard travel insurance automatically excludes any pre-existing condition unless there is a specific waiver in writing.  Read your policy for their definition of pre-existing condition but this is a generic one:

A pre-existing condition is any injury, illness, disease or other medical condition that occurs prior to the travel plan’s effective date and for which you had symptoms and sought diagnosis, medical treatment, and/or new prescription medications or a change in your current prescription.

If you file a claim for medical expenses, the insurance company will verify if your claim is related to your pre-existing condition.  If it is, your claims will be denied and this can be catastrophic because you may have already spent tens of thousands only to find out later that it is not covered.

For example, if you are under treatment for heart condition (which may include high blood pressure) and you felt chest pain and decided to go to the nearest Emergency Room.  You were then admitted and ultimately racked up a bill in the tens of thousands.  Unless you have purchased a policy that waives your specific pre-existing condition, your claims in this case will most likely be denied.

Most seniors will normally be receiving treatment at home for various health conditions that may or may not be considered pre-existing condition and this can be unsettling when it comes to travel insurance.  The reason you buy travel insurance is for peace of mind — but the thought that your claims can be denied due to pre-existing condition — defeats that purpose.  Before you sign up for your next travel insurance, ask yourself if you have any medical condition that can potentially cause your claims to be denied.  Be sure to clarify with the insurance provider before buying the policy.

Fortunately in Singapore you now have an option. If you want to truly have the peace of mind that you are fully covered, then buy a travel policy that has a waiver for pre-existing condition.  Typically, the policy can costs 2-3 times more than standard policy and may even have reduced payouts but it will offer you coverage even if your claims are related to your pre-existing medical condition.

There are only two companies in Singapore to-date that offer such policies with waivers for pre-existing conditions.  Remember that both these policies have significantly different terms and conditions and you should read them carefully to understand how each of the policy works.

(1) NTUC Income Enhance Pre-X Plan.  Click here to find out more.

(2)  MSIG Travel Easy PreX. Click here to find out more.


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