Maternity Insurance - Do you really need it?

Monday, July 10, 2017

Guest contributor
Faith Liu

My son Aiden was born in 2007. He was distressed during the birth process and pooped in the water bag. Therefore he spent the first few days of his life in an oxygen box in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, with a tube sticking out of his little arm. He was a fretful baby in the beginning and cried a lot. I attributed it to not being able spend much time in close proximity with him in the early few days. We stayed in the hospital longer than we expected. Although he was healthy in the womb, the hospital bill was thousands of dollars more than anticipated because of the intensive care he had to receive.


All parents wish for their children to be born healthy and whole. My experience is an example that even when your baby is healthy while in the womb, complications could occur during childbirth. Depending on the severity of the complication, it could seriously impact the cash flow of your newly expanded family. Furthermore, certain birth defects like sickle cell anaemia, a malformed kidney or cystic fibrosis may take a longer time to be detected. Not many of us parents realize that congenital defects in newborns are not actually rare. 
In a study done in Singapore from 1994 to 2000 by KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, for every 100 live births, 2.39 were with birth defects. 
When a child is born with birth defects or congenital diseases, it may severely impact his or her healthcare costs in future.

In terms of risk transfer, what can parents-to-be do to ensure that if ever their child needs costly medical treatment, the funds would be available? There are a number of insurers who provide pre-natal protection for mother and unborn baby as early as 13 weeks into the pregnancy. Typically, it covers pregnancy complications and extended hospital stays for both mother and child due to the complication. Certain plans provide a lump sum payout of between $5,000 to $12,000 for a list of pregnancy complications or congenital illnesses. Others provide coverage for twins and also babies conceived through in-vitro-fertilisation.

What is most attractive about these pre-natal insurance plans is that there is an option to transfer the insurance coverage from mother to baby, without further medical underwriting. This would mean that if the mother had a plan in place, she could transfer the coverage under the plan to her child, even when there is a birth defect or congenital diseases. This is significant because if a child has a congenital disease, it may prove very difficult if not impossible to take up future insurance coverage. As with all insurance plans, it is recommended that the policy be taken up as soon as you are eligible before any possible complications arise. The prospective mother may find that the coverage is not available to (or exclusions of coverage imposed on) her and the baby if she is, for example, found to have gestational diabetes, or if the baby is detected to have birth defects while in the womb.

New parents often have fun shopping for the new décor for the baby’s room or nice outfit for a baby girl. I strongly urge you to consider adding insurance protection planning for your child into the list of to-dos.


About Faith


Faith is a financial services consultant with AIA Singapore Pte Ltd. She is trained as a civil engineer and taught in a secondary school for 14 years before she was headhunted to join AIA. Her two lovely children are her pride and joy, Aiden aged 10 and Kathryn aged 6. Faith can be reached at faith_liu@aia.com.sg


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10 comments

  1. So so important to get protected ... Better be safe than sorry! Thank you for such a reminder especially to new parents that sometimes pay too much attention to setting up nursery n material stuff...

    Xoxo,
    Jamie chaw
    http://karmie080808.blogspot.sg/

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  2. Didn't realise how common it is for congenital defects in newborns.. this is certainly something all new parents need to think about and not take for granted

    Ai @ Sakura Haruka

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  3. I'm so sorry to hear about your son, Faith. I take it that he's well and healthy now? I think it's true that one should get coverage if medical bills is could be an issue because if it isn't, monies paid for premiums could also go into a better managed fund for better returns.

    Michelle @ The Chill Mom

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    Replies
    1. Hi Michelle! Thank you for asking, Aiden was none the worse after the delivery although he did give me a fright at 14 months when he had his febrile fit. He's healthy now, and is handsome and funny too if I may add. :)
      Your comment is interesting because we can't really know when medical bills will become an issue, can we? At the heart of insurance is the element of protection. I do believe in wealth accumulation for my clients but I believe any financial plan without the element of protection is a precarious one at best. Have a great weekend!

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  4. This is definitely important to share with new parents. As parents, we have to take every stages of pregnancy, birth, even after when they are born and growing up seriously. Health is not something taking for granted and insurance is definitely important as well.

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  5. Oh! My daughter is a miracle baby and stayed in NICU for 2.5 months. Can't forget that period. Insurance is indeed necessary at every stage of life.

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  6. I didn't realise that maternity insurance covers neonatal care and costs as well!

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  7. When you have a smooth delivery we never thought of it but with my second one she was in a neonatal (NICU) for a month and we felt the need.

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  8. We sometimes take things for granted, and your post is a good reminder. Insurance gives new parents assurance and a peace of mind, and I love the option for Mum to transfer to child.

    cheers, Andy
    (SengkangBabies.com)

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  9. We are not new to this and believe whole-heartedly that not all childbirths are smooth and so romaticised (think NDP-style video). We've lost 3 with the last one spending a night in NICU...Insurance IS important...because there's only so much we can do and if we plan well, there are other support structures around to help...such as insurance. Thanks for being the voice.

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