New rider policyholders must pay 5% of hospital bill, Existing policyholders NOT affected – Sure Boh Singapore


All new policyholders with rider plans must pay 5% of hospital bill moving forward. Existing policyholders are not affected at this point in time.

Sure Boh Singapore understands that existing policyholders can enjoy existing benefits subject to review of their policy by their insurers.

Minister Gan Kim Yong announced in Parliament today that co-payment in all healthcare schemes will help ensure that our healthcare system is sustainable.

He said that all stakeholders including patients have a stake in making prudent decision in healthcare services.

Zero co-payment coverage “undermines the co-payment principle” and “dilutes the personal responsibility to choose appropriate and necessary care”.

When healthcare services are over-consumed, it will lead to escalating healthcare costs not just for people with riders, but for everyone.

Moving forward, new integrated shield plan (IP) riders must have a co-payment of 5% or more. 

There will be a cap on the co-payment amount each year so policyholders do not have to worry that they will have to dig too deeply into their pockets especially for large bills.

Ministry of Health (MOH) is giving insurers until April 1, 2019 to implement new riders that include co-payment and cap.

From now till then, no full riders for IPs can be sold.

Anyone buying a rider plan from 8 March has to switch to the new scheme latest by April 1, 2021. This is to stop people from rushing to buy full riders after hearing about this announcement.

This move only applies to new policyholders and will NOT affect the 1.1 million people with full riders.

Earlier in the morning, there were news that all six insurance companies selling IP wanted existing and new policyholders to pay part of their hospital bills.

Thankfully, MOH decided to only effect this change on new policyholders.

This will help existing policyholders with pre-existing illness to continue to have a peace of mind in seeking healthcare treatments.

However, we should be mindful that over-consumption and over-prescription of medical services will cause healthcare expenditure and health insurance premium to increase in the long-run.

Rising premiums will not only affect you but everyone around you including the ones you love.


This article was published on by Anne Sim

March 26, 2018 |

Patients with full insurance riders will soon have to pay part of the hospital bill – Sure Boh Singapore


Latest update by MOH: New rider policyholders must pay 5% of the hospital bill, Existing policyholders are NOT affected at this point in time. Read the latest news here

Do you have private Integrated Shield Plans (IPs) with riders that can cover your entire hospital bill?

Soon, you won’t have this privilege anymore.

Six insurance companies selling MediShield Life-linked health insurance have appealed to Ministry of Health (MOH) to make it mandatory for policyholders to pay a part of their hospital bills.

This includes existing and new policyholders.

Paying part of your hospital bills

The Health Insurance Task Force (HITF) suggested that patients should pay part of their hospital bills to prevent claims for escalating too quickly.

Insurance companies said that patients with full riders are making more claims and their claims are 20 to 25 per cent higher than people who pay a part of their bills.

These large claims are causing premiums to increase for everyone.

1 in 2 people in Singapore (1.3 million people out of 2.7 million people) are covered by private Integrated Shield Plans (IPs) with riders – they pay very little or almost nothing for their hospital bills.

The insurers have asked MOH to make patients with full riders to pay a small portion of their hospital bills.

It’s understood that patients may need to pay 5 to 8 per cent of their bills. However, there will be a safety net to protect patients against very large bills. 

The task force recommended that all patients have to co-pay part of their bills to encourage prudent spending.

When patients have to pay, they would likely question if they would require certain lab tests or consumables recommended by the private hospitals and doctors.

Cases of over-consumption/over-prescription

For example, a patient with stomach and chest pains was admitted to hospital and did gastroscopy and colonoscopy procedures to check on his stomach and intestines. He was also referred to a heart doctor, dermatologist for skin rash and an ophthalmologist for blurred vision.

His total bill for one-day stay in hospital was $14,000.

Here’s another example of questionable claim by a patient with full rider treated in private hospital.

A 40-year-old man with pain and swelling in his big toe, requested to be admitted into hospital and chalked up $6,000 for being hospitalised for four days.

The doctor said the treatment would usually be done in the clinic and the patient’s hospital bill was eventually rejected by the insurer.

Another common example would be cataract surgery.

A patient could have done it as a day procedure that would only take approx. one hour or so but he opted to be hospitalised since he was covered by rider.

In the end, his one-day stay each time for each eye cost him a total bill of $21,000.

The average cost for cataract surgery of one eye in private hospitals is $5,000.

That means, the hospitalisation cost alone was approximately $11,000 ($21k-$5k) and it’s borne by the insurer.

Insurance companies losing money

All six insurance companies clocked underwriting losses in 2016 and turned to MOH for help. 

Here’s what MOH said in 2016 press release on HITF’s recommendations:

However, as observed by the HITF in its report, there are private insurance product features and riders that provide policyholders with 100% coverage without any co-payment. The absence of any co-payment may encourage over-consumption by some patients and over-servicing or over-charging by some healthcare providers which will eventually increase healthcare costs and insurance premiums for all Singaporeans.

MOH has been working with insurers on the implementation of the task force recommendations and will be sharing more details soon.

This article was published on by Anne Sim

March 24, 2018 |

30 Things You Must Buy The Next Time You Go To Thailand


TL;DR – Same same but different.

Thailand, or better known as the Land of Smiles is an extremely popular tourist destination for Singaporeans – whether  you may be heading on a relaxing beach getaway with the girls or a crazy weekend with the guys on an island in Krabi, to stay with a hill tribe family up on the cool mountains of Chiang Rai or to party, shop and eat until you drop in Bangkok. There’s just so many things that Thailand has to offer to tourists, but to make your lives easier I’ve come up with a list of things you absolutely must buy the next time you go there.

1. Elephant pants

You haven’t really “been” to Thailand unless you get yourself a pair of bohemian-chic harem pants from the night market. It’s the staple outfit choice for most backpackers because of how comfortable, airy and how versatile it is when paired with clothes.

2. Graphic Tank tops & T-shirts

Otherwise known as the Chang Beer shirts though they also have Red Bull, Singha, Starbucks and other logos, these singlets and graphic tees can easily be found in any night market or in areas populated with tourists. And more often than not, if you see bunch of Asians wearing this at Chatuchak market, they are usually Singaporeans.

3. Thai Silk Scarves

These silk scarves are the perfect souvenir gift to get for family and friends, especially if you have no idea what to get them and would like to get something practical. I particularly like the ones from Jim Thompson – which by the way, is another story in itself with his strange disappearance.

4. NaRaYa Bags

NaRaYa is a well-known local brand which sells quality, hand-made pouches and bags that come in a variety of designs and colours with their signature big bow attached on the middle of the bag. They have stores in major shopping malls around Bangkok and in the other provinces like Chiang Mai, Chonburi, Hua Hin.

5. Soap Carvings

These gorgeous and intricately carved soaps are not only beautiful to look at but are also extremely fragrant. Most tourists or locals probably buy these for decorative purposes, as gifts and not actually to use them while showering.

6. Fairy Lights

These fairy lights can be easily found at any night market or vintage market and are extremely affordable decorative pieces to add a little sparkle and dreaminess in the room. You can get the lights in a variety of shapes and colours, from flowers, cotton balls, hearts, stars and many more! Perfect for the DIY bride too.

7. Wooden Toad Instrument

These wooden toads are carved using the wood from Acacia trees and emits a croaking sound when the ridges on its back is rubbed using the stick. The Thai farmers believed that the croaking sound of the frog brought wealth and a bountiful harvest during the rainy season. This makes a great gift for little kids to play around with or for frog-hunters to lure these little amphibians out.

8. Thai Tribal Handicrafts

These handicrafts like bags, clothes, shoes, pouches, wallets, bracelets, pillow cases, hand-carved wooden ornaments, cutlery are designed and hand-made by the ethnic tribal people of Thailand namely the Akha, Karen, Lisu, Hmong, Lahu, Yao and Kayan. The handicrafts are their main source of income and are intricately made with a unique design for each item.

9. Handmade Sa Paper Umbrella

These umbrellas are made from a natural, handmade and durable paper that have been produced in Thailand for over centuries. They can be displayed as a decorative piece at home or if you’re daring enough it can actually be used outdoors! #OOTD idea?

10. Handmade Coin Pouches

Get your hands on one of these extremely affordable and unique handmade coin pouches which would make an awesome souvenir to remember your trip or a really practical gift!

11. Thai Triangle Pillows

People who have traveled to Thailand would have at least seen this traditional all-purpose triangular cushion before. It can be unfolded out to be used as a lounger, a leaning cushion or even a spare bed. Traditionally, these triangular cushions are stuffed with organic fibre (called kapok in Thai) or straw.

12. Aromatherapy Candles

These adorable scented aromatherapy candles and incense will not only make your room smell amazing and also relax your senses. They make ideal and highly aromatic gifts to take home for family or friends.

13. Thai Vintage Costume Jewellery

Make your way through the day or night markets and you’ll definitely spot vendors selling varieties of vintage costume jewellery. These are mostly handmade and crafted by local Thai jewellery makers.

14. Poy Sian Inhaler

These Poy-Sian inhalers seem to be very popular among locals (and it’s not just the older generation we are talking about) and tourists which is known to be the cheapest and quickest remedy for relieving blocked noses, headaches and vertigo. It comes with the nasal inhaler stick on one side and a camphor-eucalyptus balm oil on the other.

15. Snail White Products

If you come to Thailand and walk into any pharmacy or cosmetic store, you will definitely see shelves of Snail White products everywhere. The locally produced Snail White products are supposedly formulated with actual snail secretion to ensure efficacy and results. It is said to re-hydrate the skin, keeping it firm, reducing wrinkles and making the person look more youthful. Who doesn’t want to be forever young?

16. Bath and Bloom Products

Bath and bloom is a local brand that is committed to producing bath and shower soaps, cleansers, treatment oils and scented oils from natural organic ingredients. The products showcase typical Thai ingredients like lemongrass, jasmine, mango, rose and coconut.

17. Organic Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is highly-versatile edible oil that is known to have many health benefits and uses, which include but are not limited to improving digestion, boost your energy, hair care, skin care and providing immunity against various diseases and infections.

18. Fruit Soap

These authentic handmade fruit soaps don’t just look like fruits but also smell exactly like them! They are made from a special formula that includes the juice-extracts of the actual fruit. There’s a huge selection of fruits to choose from like mangosteen, watermelon, apple, durian, pineapple and many more!

19. Mookata Grill Pan

Last year, Mookata or the Thai-style barbecue grill was a huge hit with Singaporeans with lots of new restaurants popping up all around Singapore. If you can’t get enough of this unique Thai-style barbecue, why don’t you just buy the pan back and have endless  barbecue parties in the comfort of your own home? Problem solved.

20. Mama noodles

If you can’t get enough of Indomie or Nissin noodles, then you must try MAMA noodles which is a household name for instant noodles in Thailand. Tom Yum and Thai Green Curry would definitely have to be the two most popular flavours and are best eaten with a crispy fried egg on top. They come in tiny, portable packets that can be easily packed into the suitcase.

21. Koh Kae Peanuts

Koh Kae peanuts have become an iconic Thai snack that is enjoyed by both adults and children because of its distinctive colourful packaging, addictive flavours and crunchiness. There are an assortment of 14 flavours, ranging from their original coconut cream to Tom Yum to wasabi green peas.

22. Dried Thai Spice Packets

These individually pre-packed dried spices are especially handy for budding chefs who might want to impress their family or their date with a 100% authentic Tom Yum soup with dried spices and herbs flown direct from Thailand. You can find different packages for a variety of Thai soups or curries.

23. Sweet Crispy Rice Crackers

These deliciously, crispy Thai sweet treats are also known as “Khao Taen”, which are essentially made from sticky rice, some watermelon juice, white sesame seeds and cane sugar – mixed, cooked, deep fried and seasoned.

24. Thai Tea Mix

Last year, Singaporeans went crazy for Cha Yen or Thai Milk Tea with tons of stores popping up selling this popular Thai drink. This is Thailand’s most famous Thai Milk Tea mix and they have just launched their own soft serve. While you can’t bring that delicious ice cream back from Bangkok, you can buy the mix back and make yourself some creamy cha yen in minutes!

25. Dried Fruits

Thailand is the land of some of the most exotic, fresh and flavoursome fruits. There are many shops in markets and grocery stores selling dried fruits like kiwis, cranberries, longans, mango, durians, prunes and many more. It’s definitely a healthier alternative for people who enjoy snacking.

26. Tao Kae Noi Seaweed

Tao Kae Noi is an extremely addictive crispy seaweed snack that comes in a huge variety of flavours like Tom Yum goong, spicy grilled squid, chicken larb and many more! It is extremely popular among the locals both young and old.

27. Lays Thailand

The Lays chips found in Thailand are completely different from the ones found in Singapore. The ones in Thailand are creatively packaged and come in a variety of unique flavours like salmon-cream cheese, hot-spicy crab, grilled scallops with garlic butter, spicy chili squid and laarb. Yum!

28. Larb Flavour Pretz

Try this highly addictive Pretz flavour that is inspired by the Thai-style meat salad called Larb. You’ll definitely be buying boxes and boxes of it home for sure!

29. Mango Pocky

Check out this adorably packaged, Thailand-exclusive Mango Pocky! If you’re a mango-lover and enjoy snacking on Pocky, then you’ll definitely love this new fruity flavour.

Editor’s Note:

We have been alerted that this Mango Pocky is now available in Singapore so let’s keep a lookout for the durian-flavoured Kit Kats that Thailand is making a bid for.

30. Mango Sticky Rice Macaron

Did you know that you can now get the popular mango sticky rice in the form of a macaron? A number of dessert cafes sell them but I particularly love those from The Mandarin Cake Shop!

Author: By Mel Tan

March 23, 2018 |

Research Shows That Eating Chocolate Cake For Breakfast Is Good For The Brain And The Waistline – Tips for Home


There is nothing quite like a nice piece of chocolate cake, and most of us have likely been tempted by that piece of cake in the refrigerator first thing in the morning. To be honest, many of us have not only been tempted by the cake but we actually have indulged ourselves.

As it turns out, science is now showing that, not only does chocolate cake have benefits, you have no reason for guilt. The study took place at the Syracuse University in New York. Some 968 people between the ages of 23 and 98 participated. The study followed the dietary habits of the people, and those habits were not changed in order to take part in the study.

According to what they learned, chocolate has a positive effect on cognitive performance and if you eat it regularly, it can improve your memory and abstract thinking. At the Tel Aviv University, another study revealed something rather interesting. When they ate chocolate cake every morning, it helps them to work. They also found that eating cake regularly might just help a person to lose weight. Dr. Daniela Jakubowicz found that the brain needs energy when you wake up immediately.

Your body converts food and energy more efficiently in the morning, so that piece of cake is less likely to end up on the waistline. When you eat chocolate cake later in the day, the body is more likely to save it as fat reserves.


According to the study, it was important to eat chocolate before 9 o’clock in the morning. People who eat protein, carbohydrates and a 600 cal dessert tend to lose more weight than those who ate a 300 cal breakfast at a later time.

Why is chocolate so beneficial to the health? One of the reasons is because it contains flavonoids that are found in plant-based foods. They are available in high quantities in the cocoa beans. Incidentally, you will also find flavonoids in red wine. Coincidence? I think not!

When you get right down to it, there may be no reason to avoid that chocolate cake for breakfast. Life is too short to stress over those small things anyway.

Be sure to share this with your friends on Facebook.

This article was published on by Tim Shank

March 22, 2018 |

[Education] Treat teachers as partners in educating your child, rather than vendors

A noble profession. (Pixabay)

By Marcus Goh and Adrian Kuek

The recent announcement of West Spring Primary School’s “no texts and emails after 5 pm” rule has cast a spotlight on the prevailing attitude towards teachers nowadays, which is that parents are paying teachers for a service. The idea is that parents pay teachers via taxes for the service of having their kids taught.

Compare this to attitudes in the past, when parents deferred to teachers in terms of teaching and disciplining their children. It’s clear that teachers have been relegated to being vendors in learning, rather than being partners.

Perhaps this might be an unforeseen consequence of how the school system is structured, seeing how schools do actually engage vendors for enrichment and other courses.

Teachers as your child’s learning partners

Nevertheless, treating teachers as vendors rather than partners is harmful for a child’s education. It reduces the learning process to a purely transactional one — put in tax money (or parent volunteer hours or other forms of “payment”) to get good grades for your child.

An education is so much more than just scoring high marks. It is about loving the subjects that you learn and taking the initiative to know more. A good teacher imparts his or her love of the subject into each class that is taught, and the hallmark of a good education is a student who seeks more knowledge in the subject out of curiosity and passion.

Working towards being learning partners 

So here are five ways that parents can treat teachers as learning partners, instead of vendors.

1. Respect their boundaries when it comes to communication

Many teachers fear giving their mobile numbers to students and parents for this very reason — that it becomes used and abused as an ad hoc form of communication. This is why West Spring Primary School’s principal, Jacintha Lim, should be lauded for having implemented her rule regarding communications.

Imagine if your boss incessantly sends Whatsapp messages after working hours (though for many of us, that might be a reality). That’s the same feeling teachers get when having to contend with after-hours communication. It’s not to say that parents are the ‘boss’ of teachers, but that a sense of responsibility is what drives parents to answer such messages.

2. Allow teachers to discipline your child if necessary

If it hasn’t been made abundantly clear by now, the Ministry of Education and all schools have guidelines and limits for punishment that take into account physical and emotional safety. So when a teacher is forced to discipline a student, that disciplining takes into account the child’s safety. Punishment is never the first option, it is often the last recourse that the teacher has when it comes to teaching.

So give your child’s teacher the respect and autonomy to administer punishment where necessary. It’s not just about your child, but also about how his or her classmates view and learn from the incident as well. Negative reinforcement is sometimes required for better behaviour and learning — that’s why we have laws and fines for adults, right?

3. Talk to the teacher directly if you have any issues

For a teacher to be effective, he or she needs authority over the students in class. If nobody listens to the teacher, then how will learning take place? For that reason, don’t undermine your child’s teacher’s authority by criticising them in front of your child. If a child’s parents don’t respect the teacher, then it’s likely that the child will have the same attitude.

Take it up directly with the teacher if you have any doubts. It is better to have direct communication, rather than a “broken telephone” style of complaints through your child that is not going to improve anything. It will also be more reassuring when the teacher explains the rationale for certain actions that you might disagree with.

4. Be understanding when teachers make mistakes

In the heat of battle, which is what teaching a rowdy class of students can be like, mistakes can be made. Remember that working adults also make mistakes at work, and teachers are working adults, too.

Be understanding when that happens. If it’s a minor mistake or one that can be cleared up with a simple phone call, then let it go. You might want to inform the teacher about it, but if it’s not severe or frequent, then treat it for what it is — a one-off incident.

5. Yes, you can complain — but go through proper channels

As with all industries, there are some bad eggs who become teachers. If after talking to a teacher directly and considering all other avenues, you are not satisfied with the resolution, then it might be necessary to provide feedback to higher authorities. That is perfectly normal.

However, blowing up the issue over social media does nobody any good. In fact, Internet shaming is fast becoming a problem not just in education, but for most industries. You might attract attention to the behaviour of the teacher in question, but your child, the class, the school and even you might be the victims of unintended fallout.

This applies to students, too.

This article was written for and first published on Yahoo Singapore’s Grade Expectations.

Grade Expectations is a weekly feature on education in Singapore. Expect fun activities, useful tips and insightful news on learning. It’s not just about your child’s grades — it’s about raising a great child!

Marcus Goh runs Write-Handed, a creative writing studio. At the same time, he teaches English at The Write Connection. He has been a specialist tutor for English and Literature (Secondary) since 2005.

Adrian Kuek runs Joyous Learning, an enrichment centre that specialises in English, Mathematics, Science and Creative Writing for Primary. He previously served as the academic director of one of Singapore’s largest enrichment centre chains for over seven years.

If you liked the article, follow me on Facebook and Twitter for more (presumably) good updates!

To get in touch with me, send an email!

Author: By marcus goh

September 2, 2017 |

[Education] How to make Maths more enjoyable for your child – marcusgohmarcusgoh

Learning Maths in a forest. (Pixabay)

By Marcus Goh and Sim Kian Ming

Maths can seem daunting to both students and parents, especially at the upper primary levels. The values are larger, the amount of information provided is less, and there is so much working to write down (for problem sums). Hence, the right attitude towards Maths makes a huge difference when it comes to tackling PSLE Maths.

Inculcating the right attitude towards Maths starts from a young age. Make Maths enjoyable for your child, and you’ll see them develop a genuine interest in the subject. Here are five ways to make it much more fun for your child.

1. Use trigger activities

Telling your child to practise solving sums of a dry Maths topic is not going to help anyone. What you can do instead is to use a suitable television show or movie, and then ask them to think about the applications of maths in these shows. In this way, the positive feelings your child has for the show or movie can be transferred to the maths topic in question.

For example, if your child is a fan of “Spongebob Squarepants”, ask him or her if he or she can figure out how many Krabby Patties are sold at the Krusty Krab each day and use this as a trigger activity for the topic of Money.

2. Give meaningful contexts to topics

Sometimes, students just don’t see the point of what they are studying. And you can’t blame them — it’s only when we’re adults that we can see the value of what we’ve learnt as children. Give them a real-life context that shows what they’re learning is useful, and it will help students relate better to what they are learning.

For example, explain how Area & Perimeter is important when it comes to buying furniture. You need to ensure that the furniture you buy fits within the area that you are buying it for, and that the perimeter is long enough to accommodate all the shelves you want to buy.

3. Help your child use inductive reasoning to understand concepts better

Inductive reasoning is the process of deriving a method to solve a question through one’s own observations. When you ask a child “How would you solve this?”, you’re actually challenging your child to use inductive reasoning. This is not to say that you just leave your child alone to figure out concepts alone.

Rather, guide your child along and provide him or her with options that will help in understanding the topic more holistically. In this way, your child gains a greater sense of accomplishment because he or she will have figured out the answer based on his or her own abilities. Children will also remember the concept better since they have experienced the thought processes of deriving the solution.

4. Help your child use deductive reasoning to practice the application of concepts

For more advanced questions, students frequently need to use deductive reasoning to solve them. While inductive reasoning focuses on deriving concepts and understanding certain topics, deductive reasoning is about applying these mathematical rules.

One way is to give your child real-life examples, like tabulating the bill using mental calculations when you eat out. This will also help give meaningful contexts to what they have learnt, allowing you to implement two tips with one action!

5. Mix topics to allow your child to apply concepts in new ways

Integrating different topics is also a good way to help students enjoy Maths more. It takes a little bit more work to provide such examples to your child, but that’s how Maths works in real life too. Assembling IKEA furniture requires knowledge of Angles and Area & Perimeter, after all.

Perhaps the most versatile topic that could be mixed with other topics is Money. Ask your child to calculate the final cost of what you’d like to buy, and offer to give him or her a small cut if he or she calculates it correctly. You’ll see your child mixing skills from different topics in no time!

What other strategies do you use to make Maths enjoyable?

This article was written for and first published on Yahoo Singapore’s Grade Expectations.

Grade Expectations is a weekly feature on education in Singapore. Expect fun activities, useful tips and insightful news on learning. It’s not just about your child’s grades — it’s about raising a great child!

Marcus Goh runs Write-Handed, a creative writing studio. At the same time, he teaches English at The Write Connection. He has been a specialist tutor for English and Literature (Secondary) since 2005.

Sim Kian Ming has taught in MOE schools, enrichment centres, and as a private tutor for over 10 years. He has also served as an Editor at an international educational publishing house. He is currently the Mathematics Specialist at Joyous Learning.

If you liked the article, follow me on Facebook and Twitter for more (presumably) good updates!

To get in touch with me, send an email!

August 24, 2017 |

Insurance Checklist In Singapore – What You Need To Know



 While you are out shopping for insurance, here are a few terms that will help you make informed decisions on insurance products.

Insurance Checklist #1: Who Should Be Covered?

You can choose to buy insurance as a single with no dependents, a couple, or a family. Generally, the larger your group the lower the insurance premiums. No independents means you have no child, elderly parent or spouse who claim a deduction on your tax return.

Be sure to coordinate coverage across spouses and family members. If you have spousal benefits in your pension plan, you will want to manage your insurance policies according to when these income streams will be paid.

Insurance Checklist #2: Be Forward Thinking

Today, technology is helping us predict what future illnesses we are at risk of acquiring. Gene tests can confirm if you are at risk of certain illness such as breast cancer. You should also review your family’s health history. Taken together, this information can help you make more informed decisions about your future healthcare needs.

Knowing whether or not you will break a bone on the ski slopes is harder to predict. But if you are an avid downhill skier, you should consider adding fracture coverage to your health insurance plan, if it is not already included.

Insurance Checklist #3: Practice Preventive Care

Preventive care can lower your insurance premiums. It also can identify a serious illness early. Preventive care measures can include:

– frequent and regular doctor’s check-ups

– regular testing – for example, mammograms

– regular exercise

– a healthy diet

Prepare in advance for health events you know will take place. If you are planning to become pregnant within the year, take out prenatal care coverage. A thorough policy that takes care of pre-natal consultations and all pregnancy scans can help ensure a healthy pregnancy. Change your diet and eating habits, accordingly. Know the waiting times before coverage kicks in. How soon and often can newborns receive health checks and vaccinations? A delayed vaccination can put your child at risk, especially if you are spending a lot of time in hospital environments.

Insurance Checklist #4: Anticipate Medical Expenses

Does every member of your family have high blood pressure? Do you measure high but not yet in dangerous territory? High blood pressure medication may be a future expense. Hopefully, through healthy low stress living and medication classes, you can beat your family odds. But if you do see high blood pressure treatment as an option on your insurance plan, you may want to opt in. Are the drugs you require available as generic drugs? Could you lower your insurance costs by switching to generic versions? What is the likelihood you will need long term care?

Insurance Questions to Ask Your Financial Consultant

Insurance Checklist #5: Choosing Doctors and Health Service Providers

Singapore’s healthcare system is one of the best in the world. One advantage is that patients can choose their healthcare providers, whether in the public or private system. The doctor-to-patient population is healthy, and contributes to quality healthcare. Check any restrictions on doctor or healthcare service provider choices.

Insurance Checklist #6: Read the Fine Print

Even if you are renewing a policy, terms changes from year to year. The mortality rate used to determine your premium five years ago may have changed, and this will affect the cost of your insurance premiums. Always double check deductibles to avoid getting stung in your pocket book. Your choice of provider networks may also have changed. You may discover that the new offerings do not meet your criteria.

Insurance Checklist #7: Past and Current Treatment Exclusions

If you have recently had medical treatment, you may be excluded from having similar treatment within a specific time period. These are called exclusion periods. Examples of exclusions to watch for include:

– Pre-existing conditions for which you have previously received treatment. Treatment may be provided but a waiting period applied.

– Homecare, private nursing – Demand for these services is growing. While they may be standard in a disability plan, the services may not be covered in a general health insurance plan.

– Dental or vision care. Accident insurance may cover it in relation to an accident only. A separate plan or plan add-on will be required.

– Plastic surgery – This includes many forms of non-elective surgeries – nose jobs, face lifts and tummy tucks. Some plastic surgery may be covered such as that related to a mastectomy or skin grafting of burn victims.

– Drug exclusions

– Behavioral or learning problems

– Alternative and complimentary medicine – In Singapore, Chinese medicine is often covered or available as an add-on.

Insurance Checklist #8​: Beyond the Premium

A plan with low premiums but high deductibles may turn out to be too expensive. Most doctor’s appointments involve a co-payment, a fixed fee you will be required to pay each time you visit a doctor. Before your plan starts paying for your treatment, an out-of-pocket payment limit may be set. For example, you may be required to pay for $200 in Chinese medicine services before the healthcare policy will cover you for another $500 of treatment. The treatment may also have a lifetime maximum payout. For non-essential acupuncture, for example, you may have a lifetime limit of $1000.

When comparing insurance plans, you are seldom comparing apples-to-apples. The more you read the fine print, the more evident the differences in offerings will become. Take the time to carefully read through policies, and remember the onus is on the buyer to be informed and educated.  MoneySENSE was created as a resource to teach financial literacy and help you make more informed decisions when buying insurance and other financial products.

Health Insurance In Singapore Explained

This article first appeared on The New Savvy.

Author: By Anna V. Haotanto

July 22, 2017 |

Listen to Your Child’s He(art)


“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” ―Pablo Picasso

Art plays an important role in education. It is introduced from young to nurture creativity. Creativity is not confined to artistic pursuits—it is also essential for science and even math. The possibilities are endless. Bringing your child to theatre performances is an excellent way to foster creativity.

We spoke to Charlotte Nors, Executive Director of The Singapore Reportory Theatre (SRT) to learn more about the importance of creative arts in your child’s development.

Tell us more about SRT’s productions for children.
SRT set up The Little Company to stage plays for children. When The Little Company was launched 15 years ago, SRT wanted to offer class theatrical productions that adults and children can enjoy. That way, both parents and children can spend quality time.

Most of our plays have been based on literary classics, such as The Ugly Duckling and the recently ended Charlotte’s Web. We aim to make novice theatre-goers see things in a new light. At the same time, we want to keep a sense of familiarity with evergreen works. These productions also stimulate children’s interest in classic literature, which is important in this rapidly changing digital era.

We always ensure that education meets entertainment, edutainment so to speak. Such as learning about the importance of friendships and helping other people. I am immensely proud of our work; we now cater to nearly 70,000 children and adults. It bodes well for the future of theatre – and arts-loving generations to come.

The recent production, The Three Little Pigs, says a lot about our devotion to quality. It was created by Anthony Drewe and George Stiles – the team behind Honk! which won the Oliver Award ahead of Lion King in 2002. They had created Mary Poppins for Cameron Mackintosh as well. World-renowned creators of theatre producing for SRT’s 2-year-old audience. There is no better proof.

Why is it important to get children involved in the arts from young?
Exposure to the arts is important. Our children rely too much on digital entertainment so we must find ways to engage them in offline activities. Experience is life’s tool-box; ideas emerge and opinions are formed so our children are better equipped to take on new challenges.

How do the arts improve the parent-child bond and how can we get children interested?
Watching a play is a great way to spend time together. We encourage parents to read the book with their children first, then have a post-play discussion. Ask them about what they had watched and how the story was told. You can even go on to doodle the scenes together. It is really up to your imagination.

Besides plays, are there other offerings tailored for children?
We organise holiday programmes where children spend a week of mentorship with artists in the mid of preparation. This is one area we want to develop further to nurture an artistic sensibility.

Arts education is crucial to children’s development. It bolsters your child’s creativity and prepares him/her for the road ahead. Moreover, it offers quality time. Enjoy the art of bonding!


July 11, 2017 |



My dad bought this prudential savings plan twenty years back and he was supposed to get 40k+ this year during March. However, they’ve only sent my dad a cheque for 20k+ (the initial investment is 30k+).

My family went up to the prudential office to lodge a complain and to enquire as to why the company isn’t giving the full sum as promised on the contract. The company dismissed my dad with a convenient bullshit excuse ” our company isn’t earning much so that’s the sum you’ll have “.

Is this ethically right? What’s the point for anyone to save with prudential if you’re going to make a loss in the end after 20 years? That money could’ve been many times more if my dad invested in other financial instruments and inflation.

Is there any case if we were to sue them? My parents are just Hawkers, I don’t understand why you’ve to make the old generation suffer so much
Update: it’s an endowment plan.

Update2 : there has been no withdrawal made and payment has been made regularly since 1994. The agent who sold this policy to my dad is no longer in prudential so it’s more troublesome too. I’ve also attached another pic regarding the loss of $ (which I’ve no idea what it is)

Update3: Hi there! Didn’t expect to receive so much help from everyone. I’ve already sent the documentations to my friends who’re from diff insurance agencies and they’re looking into it to see if they’re able to help. I’ve also translated the knowledge I’ve learnt from everyone to my dad but we’ll have to wait till Monday to see how the situation unfolds (I was told that someone from prudential will be contacting us, we don’t know how it’ll go but we’ll see).

For those who’re not providing any useful advice at all and is attacking my dad and I, please know that none of us expected this to happen. The term insurance is a very new concept to him in the 90s. Just because you’re literate now doesn’t mean that everyone is back then in the 90s. Your parents could’ve bought similiar policies for their retirement plan back then, and they could’ve ended up in a similar fate if they’ve an unethical agent whose mind is prob only on their KPI, serving them.

Once again, thanks everyone for your advice and concern regarding the situation and I really appreciate it. Have a great weekend ahead!

Facebook post by Tyler Jwy

Author: By Nobleman

June 2, 2017 |

Can We Trust Insurance Companies in Singapore?


Insurance. Your classmate is selling it, your ex is selling it, heck now even your auntie is also selling it. Almost EVERYONE is selling it now. When they’re not selling it they’re selling property. Can’t say we blame them, after all we’re all just trying to make a living in this weak economy. But if insurance companies are allowing just about anyone to be an insurance agent, how do we know who to trust?

We hear so many horror stories of how agents misrepresent insurance products, how they prey on the elderly, how they sour friendships. Yet, the thought of not being insured and staying in C class wards at the brink of death is just…saddening?

I mean come on, I’ve only been working so hard chasing after moons for so long. Don’t I deserve to at least have a nice stay on my sickbed? It is the last few moments of my human life and I don’t even know if I’m eligible for heaven. The truth is everyone needs insurance. Hence, I attempt to navigate the insurance world and hopefully, we’ll be less traumatized by insurance to actually get one. Here’s my homework:

Types of insurance agents in Singapore

You know we all have those few friends that work in banks (whoohoo! So atas right) and hold fancy titles like “relationship manager”, “financial advisor”, “personal banker” etc? When you ask them what exactly they do they’ll tell you things like “oh. I’m managing clients’ portfolios” only to find out later that the bulk of their income comes from pushing insurance products?

Apparently there are many types of agents out there, the difference is in where they work! There are the ones in insurance companies (insurance agents or financial planners), the ones in the banks (personal bankers) and the independent financial advisors.

Types of planning (full/ partial)

What all these ‘species’ of agents have in common is that they do two types of planning: partial and full. Well, at least they pick one of the two anyway. The old way of partial planning was just to focus on a specific area such as protection. But these usually result in the agent pushing just a few products that may not take into account other aspects of the client’s life.

These days, there’s more emphasis on a customer’s every financial need. Most insurance agents, the good ones at least, use full planning to give clients a more all-rounded picture. The general idea to cover all basic areas of your life and to determine the most appropriate products you should take after factoring in your targets and concerns.

How do agents earn their commission?

I used to think all agents earn an equal amount of commission whichever plans they sell. Sell a plan, they get a small percentage of the premium we pay, that percentage is paid out within the first few years. The truth is the system doesn’t work that way. Certain “star” products the banks/ insurance companies are promoting give agents a higher payout due to the higher profit margin.

If you’ve read our detailed article on how insurance agents earn their commission, it’ll make sense that longer term insurances are more profitable since you’re paying your premium for a longer period of time. Hence, if an agent is pushing you products that you feel you do not need despite you already stating your needs repeatedly, it’s probably a sign to get out NOW.

To put it in a different perspective, it’s also not so nice of us to squander someone’s time if we’re not interested in anything they’re selling. Staying longer is sort of asking for it cause it makes sense if someone wants something for spending time with you they could’ve better spent someplace else. There’s no free lunch in this world you know.

Qualifications of agents

M5, M8, M9, HI, PGI, BCP, ComGI…Sounds like superspy terms from the James Bond movies hor? Well, they aren’t actually. These are in fact examination modules that most insurance agents have to go through (depending on the type of insurance they’re aiming to sell) before they can even “catch up” with you.

Module Name

What it stands for?

Who must take it?


Rules and Regulations for Financial Advisory Services

All agents


Collective Investment Schemes

Agents or bankers selling unit trusts

M9 and/or M9A

Life Insurance and Investment-Linked Policies (I/II)

All agents


Health Insurance (HI)

All agents


Personal General Insurance

Agents selling general insurance


Basic Insurance Concepts and Principles

Agents selling general insurance


Commercial General Insurance

Agents selling general insurance

That said, most listings I’ve searched through on job search sites tend to put only “21 years old and above” and “diploma and above required” as firm entry requirements. I’ll let you be the judge of how stringent these requirements are.

What is in place to protect us as customers?

The Policy Owner’s Protection Scheme (PPF), guarantees a 100% payout of your guaranteed benefits, with some caps to policy holders if the insurer stops operation. Hence, there should not be any worry about insurance companies closing down since you will still get your benefits.

In cases of dispute, you can also file a claim with the Financial Industry Disputes Resolution Centre Ltd (FIDReC) for free. A Case Manager will attempt to facilitate a resolution, and if the results are not satisfactory, you may still choose to pay an administrative fee of $50 to have your case decided by an appointed adjudicator or panel of adjudicators. It’s safe to say we’re pretty covered here.

So… should I buy that insurance policy or not?

To be honest, no one can actually make that decision for you. But here we would advise you to go to your next consultation with this word in mind: discernment. In my time researching this article, I’ve realised that not one agent I met could be representative of the entire population of agents here. There are bad apples in the bunch of course, but it’s hardly fair to use these to pass judgement on other agents as there are others out there who genuinely care.

To better observe if yours is acting on your best interests, try asking yourself these questions:

  • Is your insurance agent sincerely listening to your needs?
  • Is he/she too insistent on you buying a particular product?
  • Is he/she aggressively trying to make small talk/ contact you?
  • Are you feeling obliged to buy so he/she can make a living?
  • Do you really need the product he/she is selling?

Of course in the first place, being able to be discerning needs to come from a place of knowledge and information. Follow us on Facebook as we help you navigate the tricky world of insurance with more articles.

What do you think of the insurance industry in Singapore? Let us know in the comments.

Author: By Lynnette Goh

May 15, 2017 |
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