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Waiting period in health insurance: What you need to know

When you purchase a health insurance plan, you probably expect to be able to use it right away if needed. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. For example, maternity cover typically comes with a waiting period of anywhere from 12 to 36 months. That means you’ll have to wait until that time has passed before you can access the policy’s maternity coverage benefits. But waiting periods in health insurance don’t end there, as you’ll find out in the Pacific Prime Singapore article.

What is waiting period in insurance?

To put it simply, waiting period in health insurance is the duration that the policyholder has to wait before they can reap some or all of the benefits of their insurance coverage. It’s important to note that you typically cannot raise a claim against your insurance policy during the waiting period. Therefore, to avoid being left without coverage, always check after how many days can we claim health insurance.

A waiting period may apply to your entire health insurance coverage or only some health conditions. What’s more, it can vary between insurance providers.

Why is there a waiting period for health insurance?

Now that you understand the meaning of compulsory waiting period, you’re probably wondering why health insurance plans have a waiting period, to begin with. There are several reasons why there’s a minimum waiting period for health insurance, including:

  • To ensure there are no malpractices by policyholders
  • To protect insurance providers from any medical risk that hasn’t been accounted for
  • To make sure that the policyholder doesn’t use health insurance for regular healthcare expenses

How does waiting period in insurance work?

These days, there is more acceptance of health insurance because of the high chance of being affected by diabetes, hypertension, and other lifestyle diseases. When you secure a health insurance plan, it’s imperative to understand the different aspects of the policy that require your attention. For example, if you want to grow your family, you need to know your health insurance’s minimum waiting period for maternity coverage.

Types of waiting periods

Here are some common waiting periods in health insurance plans to be aware of, according to health conditions.

Health conditions Waiting period 
Accidental hospitalization 0 days
Initial waiting period 0 to 30 days
Newborn baby inclusion 9 months to 3 years
Maternity cover 9 months to 3 years
Specific diseases/illnesses 1 to 2 years
Pre-existing conditions (diabetes, hypertension, etc.) 1 to 4 years


Let’s take a closer look at the various types of waiting periods.

Accidental hospitalization 

Any plan that covers accidental hospitalization does so from the start of the policy commencement date since there is no waiting period.

Initial waiting period 

This describes the duration from the policy commencement date to the date when you can enjoy the policy’s benefits. Medical expenses aside from accidental hospitalization are not covered during the initial waiting period.

Maternity and newborn add-on 

Health insurance plans that cover maternity and newborn baby-related expenses usually only do so after a specified waiting period (i.e. 9 months to 3 years). Maternity benefits typically cover delivery costs as well as the newborn baby for the first three months. Some plans don’t cover maternity expenses, so always check the details before securing a plan.

Specific diseases/illnesses 

It’s common for certain medical conditions, diseases, and procedures to come with a specific waiting period (e.g. hernia, cataracts, osteoporosis, etc.). Waiting periods for illnesses such as these can vary from 2 to 4 years, depending on the terms & conditions of your policy.

Pre-existing conditions 

If the insured has any existing ailments at the time of purchasing a health insurance policy, these ailments are called pre-existing conditions. Health insurance plans typically cover pre-existing conditions after the minimum waiting period is complete. Note that group health insurance waiting periods can have different terms & conditions, so it’s always advisable to check with the respective insurer for more information.

Find a health insurance plan that meets your needs with Pacific Prime Singapore

Now that you’re familiar with waiting periods in health insurance, it’s time to select a health insurance plan that matches your unique requirements. One of the best things about securing health insurance sooner rather than later is that you don’t have to worry as much about the waiting period. Regardless of where you are in life, it helps to work with a reputable broker like Pacific Prime Singapore.

With over two decades of industry experience, we have the knowledge and expertise to help you find the ideal plan for your needs and budget. Plus, you’ll get unbiased advice from our insurance experts, access to our value-added services, and more at no additional cost compared to going directly to an insurer.

So whether you’re looking for international health insurance in Singapore, individual health insurance in Singapore, or anything in between, contact us for a free quote today!

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Senior Copywriter at Pacific Prime Singapore
Jantra Jacobs is a Senior Copywriter Pacific Prime with over 10 years of writing and editing experience. She writes and edits a diverse variety of online and offline copy, including sales and marketing materials ranging from articles and advertising copy to reports, guides, RFPs, and more.

Jantra curates and reports on the results of Pacific Prime’s monthly newsletters, as well as manages Pacific Prime’s Deputy Global CEO’s LinkedIn posts. Complemented by her background in business writing, Jantra’s passion for health, insurance, and employee benefits helps her create engaging content - no matter how complex the subject is.

Growing up as a third-culture kid has given her a multicultural perspective that helps her relate to expats and their families while 8 years of working remotely have given her unique insight into hybrid work arrangements and enthusiasm for employee benefits.
Jantra Jacobs