Navigating Cancer Coverage in Singapore’s Evolving Healthcare Landscape

About this article:
  • Understand recent changes in the landscape for insurance coverage for cancer and how it affects you
  • Learn the importance of being covered by health insurance for cancer
  • Gain tips to select the right cancer coverage plan for your needs

Singapore is fortunate to have a robust healthcare system, further bolstered by a high health insurance penetration rate.

According to Life Insurance Singapore (LIA)*, a significant 70% of residents and citizens possess Integrated Shield Plans (IPs) alongside their MediShield Life coverage. These plans offer a valuable safety net for unexpected health challenges.

However, with cancer remaining a significant public health concern (1 in 4 people in Singapore may develop cancer in their lifetime)^, navigating the nuances of cancer coverage within this evolving landscape becomes crucial. This guide simplifies the complexities of cancer coverage in Singapore, empowering you to make informed decisions for your well-being.

Understanding Integrated Shield Plans (IPs) and the Recent Shifts in Cancer Coverage:

Integrated Shield Plans (IPs), offered by private insurers, provide comprehensive coverage for private hospitals and specific wards (Class A and B1) in public hospitals. 

However, some recent changes have impacted how IPs handle cancer treatment costs. 

Effective April 1st, 2023, IPs no longer cover cancer treatment based on the total bill (“as-charged”).  

Additionally, since September 2022, MediShield Life (MSHL) and MediSave (MSV) only cover treatments listed on a specific list called the Cancer Drug List (CDL). The CDL aims to promote cost-effectiveness and ensures access to essential cancer treatments.

Cancer Coverage: Insurance Policies

Insurer Name of Integrated Shield Plan (IP) Cancer Drug Treatment (per month) Cancer Drug Services (per policy year)
AIA AIA HealthShield Guard Max A Up to 5x MSHL Up to 5x MSHL
Great Eastern GE SupremeHealth Up to 5x MSHL Up to 5x MSHL
HSBC Life HSBC Life Shield Plan A Up to 5x MSHL Up to 5x MSHL
Income Enhance IncomeShield Up to 5x MSHL Up to 5x MSHL
Prudential PRUShield Premier Up to 5x MSHL Up to 5x MSHL
Raffles Health Raffles Shield Private Up to 5x MSHL Up to 5x MSHL
Singlife Singlife Shield Plan 1 Up to 5x MSHL Up to 5x MSHL

You can increase your total coverage by adding a rider to your policy. For e.g. AIA HealthShield Gold Max A + Max A Cancer Care Booster = up to 5x MSHL + up to 16x MSHL = up to 21x MSHL

Cancer Coverage: Insurance Riders

Insurer Name of Rider Cancer Drug Treatment (per month) Cancer Drug Services (per policy year) Non-CDL Treatment
AIA Max A Cancer Care Booster Up to 21x MSHL Up to 15x MSHL $200,000/year
Great Eastern TotalCare P Select Up to 18x MSHL As charged $250,000/year
HSBC Life Enhanced Care Up to 18x MSHL Up to 15x MSHL $30,000/month
Income Deluxe/Classic Care Up to 15x MSHL Up to 5x MSHL $15,000/month
Prudential PRUExtra Premier CoPay Up to 20x MSHL Up to 20x MSHL $150,000/year
Raffles Health Premier Rider Up to 6x MSHL Up to 5x MSHL $20,000/year (Drug Classes A, B, C, D & E)
Cancer Guard Up to 23x MSHL¹ Up to 20x MSHL² $250,000 per year
Singlife Private Prime/Lite Up to 5x MSHL Up to 5x MSHL $30,000 per year

¹ Total Coverage is capped at 23x MSHL if Raffles Shield Private Plan is taken with Premier Rider and Cancer Guard Rider.
² Total Coverage is capped at 20x MSHL if Raffles Shield Private Plan is taken with Premier Rider and Cancer Guard Rider.

Enhancing Your Cancer Coverage with Riders:

While IPs provide a strong foundation, they may not cover all aspects of cancer treatment.  This is where IP riders come into play. Riders are essentially add-on benefits that can significantly enhance your cancer coverage. They offer a range of benefits beyond standard hospitalisation bills, such as:

  • Coverage for specific cancer treatments: Some riders provide coverage for specific cancer treatments not included in your base IP or MSHL/MSV coverage.
  • Post-hospitalisation care support: Certain riders offer benefits for post-hospitalisation care, such as rehabilitation or home nursing services, aiding your recovery journey.

Finding the Right Cancer Coverage Solution:

1. Review Existing Coverage:

If you already have an IP, it’s crucial to carefully review your policy and any included riders.  Consult your insurance agent or financial advisor to determine if specific cancer-related riders are already part of your plan.

2. Assess Your Individual Needs:

Consider factors like family history of cancer or your personal desire for enhanced peace of mind when evaluating your need for additional coverage.

3. Choose a Comprehensive Plan:

For individuals without an IP or those seeking new plans, explore policies that offer comprehensive cancer-related riders.  This proactive approach to securing critical illness coverage can provide immense relief during unforeseen health challenges.

Investing in a Secure and Healthy Future

We don’t know when cancer might strike, which makes it all the more important to select the right cancer coverage planfrom the outset.  Having a well-rounded policy can significantly reduce the financial burden on families and patients, so you can focus on getting well and healthy instead.

Healthcare uncertainties, especially concerning serious illnesses like cancer, underscore the necessity of comprehensive health insurance coverage.  By understanding the evolving landscape of cancer coverage within IPs and riders, combined with a thorough review of your existing plan, you can make a substantial difference in times of need. 

Remember, health is a priceless asset, and being prepared with the right insurance is a proactive step towards securing a healthier and financially secure future.

While this guide provides a general overview, it’s important to remember that specific details and coverage options may vary between insurance companies and plans.  

For a more personalised assessment, consider consulting a qualified insurance agent or financial advisor who can help you navigate your specific needs and recommend the most suitable cancer coverage solution for your circumstances.


* Life Insurance Association Singapore Media Release: Boost in Protection Coverage in Singapore Driven by Efforts of Financial Adviser Representatives and Tiered Representatives (Feb 2024)

^ Singapore Cancer Society

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