Financial Advice for Couples: An Essential Guide to Health Insurance
You and your partner may have rainy day funds, but when problems that incur insanely massive bills crop up, this is where insurance payout, if any, comes in. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so to understand insurance better, we talk to Financial Services Manager Joseph Tan for tips and advice.
From life to health and disability, there is a wide range of insurance plans on the market. In Singapore, medical insurance is a combination of government initiatives such as the MediShield Life and arrangements with your private insurer to form the Integrated Shield Plan (IP).
The first step towards buying insurance, however, is to predict problems that you may face in order to prepare for your future. Alone, you will have to consider the unexpected – insurance plans can account for medical debt and loss of income due to illness or injury. Likewise, this applies to your partner. Together, you should take into consideration each other or other dependants.
Questions to Ask Yourself
Before buying an insurance plan, you can ask yourself three questions to determine the coverage you need: Firstly, do you have any assets on hand to meet liabilities? Your savings should be enough to tide you over emergencies if needed.
Secondly, do you want to continue to work in the event disability and sickness occurs? Your decision on this can be based off several factors. In a cell growth disease such as cancer, for example, time off from work may be necessary since treatment options leave little time for rest and recovery. In this case, a financial adviser who has an appreciation of the situation can offer valuable advice.
Lastly, what are your expectations as a couple? Take for example, a hypothetical scenario where one spouse assumes the other will be the breadwinner should he/she be met with the inability to work. Whether or not insurance coverage comes into play is another issue to tackle, which is why both parties have to be agreeable – and the reason why effective communication is important.
Here, a financial adviser acts as the go-between as it may be difficult for couples to sit down and talk about such issues. The ideal is to have a three-way conversation between the both of you and your financial adviser, who can be an advocate for each of you so that you can better understand the other party’s point-of-view.
Of the many insurance plans out there, couples may want to take note of the insurance for early stage critical illness, which gives coverage from early to terminal stages. This serves as a safety net for you to quit your job to focus on receiving treatment and attending rehabilitation during and after illness.
That said, your choice of insurance plans should revolve around affordability. This depends on your current and future commitments, which can range anywhere from your wedding to housing and dependants including your parents and children.
Speaking of affordability, we call on the expertise of Joseph, who suggests couples to assess their financial health based on two factors: your emergency funds available and your income versus expenses.
Scope vs Depth
However tight your affordability is, the scope of your coverage should be maintained even if the depth is not. In other words, whether or not your insurance includes benefits such as preventive care and mental health services should not stray from your original plan because of your affordability – in spite of the difference in depth of coverage, you should take up the same comprehensive plan.
The Adviser’s Advice
However, that is not to say insurance plans should be entirely relied upon. Should your plan be too ideal to be workable, a good financial adviser may suggest making adjustments to your lifestyle habits, amongst others.
Besides, a financial adviser can give you insight into the best insurance plan for you. While online research lets you compare between private insurers and their plans, an experienced professional can remind you of the simple, yet important, things such as the annual claim limit, which couples tend to overlook.
This is in addition to a clue-in on the private insurers’ service history. Say an insurer offers a deeper coverage but takes a longer time for payout. In certain cases – especially those of health emergencies, this defeats the purpose of an insurance plan. A trusted financial adviser can not only give you tailored advice but also file your insurance claims so that you can be by your loved one.
On that note, be sure to communicate your thoughts and feelings effectively while at the same time be open to hearing from your partner in regard to your shared finances. For more advice on choosing the right health insurance plan and on assessing your couple’s financial health and affordability, reach out to Financial Services Manager, Joseph, at 6572 6972.
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Financial Services Manager, Joseph Tan and Associates
- 51 Scotts Road #03-11 Singapore 228241.
- 9853 0208 / 6572 6967