Emergency Healthcare and Insurance - Reference Guide

Last month, I shared about our health emergency experience where we, as a family, learned a lot of lessons about life, health, faith, and healthcare in Singapore. My wife is now okay! We sincerely thank our friends and family for all the support and prayers.

As things are almost settled, I am now writing part two of this blog post as promised. This post is primarily written for my wife — for when it’s my turn to be hospitalized. Some details in this post are intentionally obfuscated, which I will provide to her privately.

Before reading, it may be proper to share that we have (a) a pretty good corporate insurance, (b) a Singapore integrated shield plan, (c) a Philippine hospital income benefit, and (d) are not (yet) Singapore citizens or permanent residents — which means we don’t have the benefits that these statuses enjoy.

If you do not have nor plan to have any health insurance, this post will not be helpful for you. I’m not expecting you to follow everything, but I hope it will at least serve as a good reference/example for your own.

Pre-hospitalization: Going to the Emergency Room

graph TD
    A[Medical Emergency] -->|bring IC| B{How urgent?}
    B -->|REALLY URGENT!| C[Call 995]
    C --> D[Goes to nearest designated restructured hospital]
    B -->|Ambulance needed but can wait| E["Call 1800-7275929 (Parkway Emergency Hotline)"]
    B -->|Not so urgent| F["Take a cab to Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital"]

Calling 995 leads to Singapore’s emergency ambulance and fire hotline. “SCDF emergency ambulances will convey patients to the closest designated restructured hospitals, to receive immediate medical attention. Ambulance personnel will not consider requests to redirect patients to alternative hospitals, even if patients have existing relationships with those facilities (source).” This should only be used for the real life-or-death emergencies where every second counts.

For Readers: Have an agreed “preferred hospital” with your spouse, so you know where to go in an emergency. At the time of this writing, Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital is our preferred primarily because of our recent experience. Sincere apologies if you disagree, we haven’t been to many hospitals to know better.

In the Emergency Room (ER)

  1. Call the staff’s attention to treat me (or the patient) immediately.
  2. When you have enough breathing room, go to the ER reception. They will ask you for:
    • my identity card (IC)
    • if I have any insurance (provide our current corporate insurance). My ID is in our insurance mobile app. // TODO: to share privately
  3. Don’t worry about money for now.
  4. Start updating friends/relatives who can care of our children while I’m hospitalized.
  5. [Optional] Update my manager. His/her e-mail address is ***. // TODO: to share privately

Hospitalization: Inpatient Admission

First, if I don’t need to be admitted, that means I’m either dead or treated (I REALLY HOPE IT’S THE LATTER!). In this case, just pay the amount required and skip to Post-hospitalization Insurance Claims.

If I am to be admitted, then do the following insurance matters after I’m settled in my room:

  1. Go to the hospital’s billing department and ask if they will take care of the insurance matters. If not…
  2. Call the doctor’s clinic (assuming you know the specific doctor attending) and ask if they will help. If still not…
  3. Get the following information:
    • a. Official diagnosis (ask the hospital/doctor/nurse).
    • b. Estimated bill (the hospital will provide this)
    • c. Hospital billing e-mail address (ask the hospital billing department)
  4. Contact the corporate insurance provider and request for a Letter of Guarantee (LOG) yourself. // TODO: to share privately
    • In case you don’t remember the number, open the corporate insurance mobile app. The number should be in there.
    • They will ask for 3a and 3b.
    • Request that they send the LOG to the hospital’s e-mail address (3c), your e-mail address, and my e-mail address.
    • Wait, this may take a few hours to 1-2 days. Feel free to follow up daily.
  5. Do not worry if the hospital asks for your credit card. They will only charge the amount above the insurance LOG.

If you need help from my company, reach out to my manager, his e-mail address is ***, or ask any of my friends from work for help. // TODO: to share privately

Recall our experience: Mount Elizabeth Novina Hospital took care of everything for us (#1 above). This is why it’s our preferred hospital… other than the lobster.

Hospitalization: As Expenses Grow… Before Discharge

You will need to secure an LOG Top-up before I’m discharged, as the initial LOG will probably just be a minimal amount.

  • If the discharge is still more than 2 days away… RELAX, you do not need to do anything for now.
  • Near the discharge date, you can work on filling up the LOG top-up request form (found in the insurance mobile app). You will need an updated estimated bill to complete this.

Recall our experience: Mount Elizabeth also took care of this for us and did not even ask for an LOG top-up.

In typical cases, though, the hospital will require an updated LOG with a larger $ amount before discharge.

Post-hospitalization Insurance Claims

We are finally home! Thanks for taking care of me in the hospital! In addition to the home-care regimen the doctor prescribes, her are the post-hospitalization insurance matters:

  1. Corporate Insurance: If I’m unable to claim, please reach out to my manager or my colleagues for help.
  2. Personal Insurance: Reach out to our personal insurance agents to find out what can be claimed. Their contacts are in our insurance inventory located in OneDrive → Finances → Financial Analysis and Plan.xlsx. The file looks like this: Insurance Inventory

Recall our experience: We didn’t use our personal shield plan because our corporate insurance covered 99.9%. Also, we are making a claim to our hospital income Philippine insurance for every day spent in the hospital (which is still in process at the time of this writing.) The forms/files for these claims are also in our OneDrive.

For Readers: I highly recommend that you also create a family insurance inventory like above. It helps to have a table that has every policy #, coverage detail, and agent contact. This also helps in retirement and legacy planning.

That’s it! Hope this has been helpful, and thank you for all the work!

This post is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by the author.