By The Life Insurance Association
Economists call it "hyperbolic discounting", but really, it is at the heart of human nature.
Discounting is the human tendency to put a higher value on something that reaps little benefits at present over something that can bring you greater benefits in the future.
This can be easily applied to health insurance coverage. With pressing financial needs such as your mortgage and car loan playing tug-of-war for your wallet, you would rather not spend on a personal health insurance plan, thinking that the national healthcare schemes will help to pick up the tab.
Our national healthcare system is targeted to ensure affordability, and whilst our healthcare system is one of the best in the world, the truth is that healthcare costs are escalating.
The increase in our healthcare costs is inevitable, given our ageing population, the shift towards "rich-country" chronic degenerative diseases that cost more and take longer to treat, and a general attitudinal shift towards a preference for private healthcare.
In Singapore, whilst 84 per cent of our population is covered by Medishield (as of 2009), against a backdrop of rising healthcare costs, many of us may potentially find ourselves in dire straits when an accident or debilitating illness strikes and wipes out a large portion of our savings account.