SINGAPORE (Aug 6): When K Leela, 68, was diagnosed with kidney failure about a decade ago, she panicked about the cost. The homemaker needs to have dialysis at least twice a week, for life. Her husband works as a hotel bellhop, and they have three children.

Fortunately, Leela had purchased an Integrated Shield Plan (IP) several years before her diagnosis. Her policy comprised a public MediShield insurance component, as well as a private insurance component that covers stays in public hospitals up to Class B1, and treatments such as kidney dialysis. Since 2015, the MediShield component has been replaced by the mandatory MediShield Life.

Leela had also bought a rider — or an enhancement to the IP — that covers all deductibles and co-payment. A deductible is a sum to be paid before insurance coverage kicks in. Co-payment involves sharing a fraction of the bill. These “full riders” have been sold by insurers since 2006. “I am happy that everything is fully covered. I don’t feel stressed about paying more if I need additional treatment,” she says. Some 29% of Singapore residents hold full riders.

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