In my years of experience dealing with different mummies-to-be, many of them have unanimously raised me a similar question during our conversations: Hey, what exactly is a Pre-natal Insurance? To begin with, I guess i could understand why these mummies might have much the same concern: Because Pre-natal Insurance is still considered a relatively new product out in the market, and not many mummies have been unveiled to this new concept as of yet. However in the recent years, amidst bouts of uncomfy morning sicknesses and mood swings, numerous mothers have also been taking the initiative to google about this Pre-natal coverage lately. So, what is this Pre-natal hype all about? Is it gonna be value for money? And what’s in it for me? Well, fret not mummies, your search ends here ;)
In a nutshell, Pre-natal insurance is a product to protect both the mother and the baby in terms of Pregnancy Complications and Congenital Illnesses respectively. It is a 2-in-1 hybrid product that covers both the Health aspects and Life aspects of the baby. Moreover, only mummies within 18 weeks to 32 weeks are eligible for application. Mummies not within this range will not be eligible.
To whet your appetite, Prudential was the first company to launch the Pre-natal insurance. This manoeuvre was closely followed by AXA Life Insurance, and last but not least, AIA caught up last year (We have only heard from these 3 companies so far, the rest have not made any significant move yet). Of course not to say, all 3 companies each have their own upper hands in their Pre-Natal products and I have done a simple comparison for you here.
Nevertheless, there are obvious reasons the three musketeers had decided to make this bold move, and here are the 3 reasons why:
1) Protecting mummies from pregnancy complications*:
Though we may all agree that pregnancy is relatively safe in Singapore (Thanks to our marvelous medical advancement), won’t we all also agree that pregnancy is not entirely a risk-free event? The truth is, a gynae will tell you it is not hard to find mummies who are at their pink of health before pregnancy, and subsequently contracting Gestational Diabetes or High Blood Pressure (better known as Pre-eclampsia) during their late trimester due to hormonal changes. Ok, maybe we could argue that we try to manage our diets to reduce our risks. But i’m sure you’ll agree with me that carrying a baby around isn’t the simplest task and there may be incidents of accidental falls or trauma? These may potentially lead to abruption of the placenta which in turn causes miscarriage? Furthermore, mummies have you heard stories whereby bleeding doesn’t stop after delivery? As much as we have medical technology to help us, they could only do so much, and definitely could not predict the unexpected events as such.
Thereby, a Pre-natal plan is here to protect the mummies from unexpected events like these, and to lend a hand financially to compensate the losses for a complication that had unfortunately struck.
2) Protecting your baby’s future:
Similarly, newborns are facing an equal amount of health risks as well; It is not uncommon to find babies who are born prematurely/ underweight. In fact, our Health Minister Gan Kim Yong supported this fact by exclaiming that nearly 1 in 10 babies here are born prematurely*. Also around the world, more than a million children die each year due to complications caused by premature births. Survivors aren’t too positive either; they are generally more prone to learning disabilities and ailments such as hypertension, diabetes and heart disease. Furthermore, of the 40,000 babies born every year in Singapore, about 860 – an average of more than two of the 110 births a day – have serious birth defects. These, ultimately will translate to even more financial costs for parents in the long run. From insurance point of view, insurers are very unwilling to cover babies who are already disease-laden because they already have a pre-existing condition (and simply because insurance companies are not charity organisations). Thankfully, the unique selling point of a Pre-natal policy is the Guaranteed Coverage for newborns regardless of their health condition upon birth. In other words, even newborns with congenital illnesses discovered right at birth can still be covered. Hence, the Pre-natal protection comes just right in time to protect your baby, even before your baby is born.
Unless we have been living under a rock for the past few years, all of us should be aware that university tuition fees are consistently skyrocketing. Just recently, four public universities have raised tuition fees – by up to 7.9 per cent* – for Singapore citizens enrolling in academic year 2014 (AY2014). At this rate they are going, it is just a matter of time our children’s tuition fees hit a 6-digit figure! And forget about saving in our local banks- the interest rates (i.e. 0.05% per annum) they offer is as low as the interest they have in us. Unless we are very savvy with stocks & shares, the next best bet is 4D, ToTo, or Insurance. Since all Pre-natal policies offer by Prudential, AXA & AIA are tagged with an Investment-Linked Policy, it is good to leverage on the funds they provide to potentially make your money work harder for you and your kids.
Unfortunately, a Pre-natal plan is not easy to apply. From my experience, out of every 10 mothers that apply for the Pre-natal policy, only about 50% of them will eventually make it through. Simply put, not all mothers who want to acquire the policy will qualify for it. I have written a separate post here to share with you why.
In summary, the statistics of pregnancy complications and congenital illnesses given by our local hospitals do not lie. These are very real situations. If parents already have thoughts of purchasing coverage for their kids after delivery, why not protect your child earlier at the same cost but with added guarantee? That said, my experience is that half of the parents who apply do not get their application through. My best advice is to consult your own Financial Adviser as soon as you hit 18 weeks. Good Luck!