Integrated Shield Plan (IP) and Riders: Your Simple Guide to Health Insurance Upgrades

Insurance agent explaining Integrated Shield Plan and Rider to a couple

So, you have decided to dip your toes into the sea of health insurance, and now you’re hearing about these things called “Integrated Shield Plans” also known as IPs, as well as “riders.”

What is an Integrated Shield Plan (IP)? What is a rider? and why should you care? Fear not, because we’re here to break it down for you in plain, everyday language.


Recap: What is an Integrated Shield Plan (IP)?

Okay, let’s start with the basics. Every Singapore citizen and PR has a compulsory MediShield Life (MSHL), which acts as a basic hospitalisation insurance. On the other hand, IPs are private hospitalisation policies sold by insurers that provide a more comprehensive coverage on top of your MSHL if and when you are hospitalised.

Here are some benefits of having an IP:

  • Even higher coverage for your medical bills (however, you are still required to pay for your deductible and co-payment)
  • Freedom to choose more comfortable hospital wards in a private hospital, or Class A or B1 ward in a public hospital
  • Ability to choose your preferred doctor/specialist for your treatment
  • Better coverage for pre- and post-hospital treatment expenses


What is a Rider?

A policy rider is an add-on to a basic policy that provides you with additional benefits. You have the choice to add a rider to your policy.

Imagine your Integrated Shield Plan (IP) as your mobile phone—it provides you with the essential coverage like hospital stays and medical bills. Now, imagine a rider as a screen protector or phone case. In simple terms, a rider adds an extra layer of coverage to your IP when the unexpected happens.


Pros of an IP rider

  1. Customised to your needs: Riders let you customise your coverage to match your specific health and/or financial needs. For instance, there are riders for early- and/or mid-stage critical illnesses, or even women-related riders.
  2. Less stress on your wallet: Health issues can be a financial headache. With an IP rider, you can reduce your out-of-pocket costs from your policy’s deductible and/or co-payment. Riders can swoop in and make your life a bit less stressful so you can focus on getting your health back on track.

Cons of an IP rider

  1. Extra cost: Riders come with an extra cost. That means that in addition to your premium for your IP, you would have to pay an added amount for a rider. Yes, more benefits mean a higher bill. It’s a bit like deciding to pay an extra amount for a high quality screen protector and phone case for your phone.
  2. Pay more as you get older: All insurance riders charge more as you get older. So remember to check with your insurance agent or financial advisor when you are choosing a rider. (Tip: Best to get a rider while you are young!)
  3. Decision dilemma: Different IPs have a variety of riders that you can choose from. And sometimes, having too many choices can get really stressful. Consult with your insurance agent on which rider best suits your needs.
This is an illustration of how a policy rider works.

In a nutshell: Is an Integrated Shield Plan (IP) rider worth it?

It is important to remember that out-of-pocket costs may differ as different insurers have different conditions for their rider policies.

As a summary, although it will cost more to add a rider to your IP, having one can give you peace of mind when the unexpected happens since you worry less about your financial strains. This way, you can focus on your recovery.

So there you have it – a simple guide to whether you should get a rider for your IP! Like choosing the type of screen protector and phone case to protect and decorate your phone, deciding on a rider depends on what suits your taste (and budget!). Remember, life loves throwing curveballs, and having that financial safety net is like having an umbrella in a sudden downpour. 

Before you embark on this insurance journey, take a moment to chat with your insurance sidekick – your agent who will be ready to help you navigate and customise your coverage. Take your time, don’t stress, and consider what works best for you. After all, health insurance isn’t just about doctors and hospitals; it’s about having a little peace of mind in this crazy journey called life.

Happy insuring!


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