Panel vs. Non-panel Doctors Which one to choose

Panel vs. Non-panel Doctors: Which one to choose? 

Those who have an Integrated Shield Plan (IP) definitely know what a panel doctor is. Those who don’t have one seek medical services from non-panel doctors instead.

If you’re still torn about the difference between the two, then we’ll help you choose! In this guide, we sorted out the things you need to know about panel and non-panel doctors here in Singapore. 

Why choose a panel doctor?

A panel doctor is part of a pool of preferred specialists by health insurance companies. 

That said, panel doctors have signed an enforceable contract to treat patients at predetermined rates. This means that IP policy holders can avail medical services at discounted rates. 

You’ll be protected by your IP as well. So any consultation, hospitalisation, and medical procedure will be covered and subsidised. 

Your out-of-pocket expenses will also be capped at $3,000 a year when you have a rider, which is an add-on benefit on top of your IP that further reduces medical bills. 

What are the insurers that provide panel doctors?

In Singapore, there are seven major health insurance companies that offer IPs. Insurance companies have different sets of panel doctors, which you can readily see on their respective websites.

To give you an idea, here’s a roundup of major health insurers and their corresponding IPs:

Health Insurance CompaniesEstimated Costs of Premiums OfferedNo. of Panel Doctors or Specialists
AXA$40 to $10,077More than 300
Raffles$201 to $4,664More than 150
Prudential$306 to $4,180More than 700
AIA$50 to $9,442More than 400
Great Eastern$152 to $7,500More than 4,000
Aviva$70 to $9,097More than 300
NTUC Income$35 to $2,037More than 400

Why choose a non-panel doctor?

Choosing a non-panel doctor means you have no limit or any form of restriction. The fact that they’re not part of a panel doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t excel in their specialisation though. 

You wouldn’t have to worry about familiarity when it comes to non-panel doctors. They could be your childhood doctor or your go-to doctor from any public or private hospital. 

If you’ve been seeing a non-panel doctor for a long time, it also means that they know your condition and medical history best. 

Keep in mind that when choosing a non-panel doctor, you could also incur a 5% co-payment of medical bills but with no cap, seeing that the $3,000 cap only applies to panel doctors. 

A Comparison Between Panel and Non-panel Doctors in Singapore

Still can’t make up your mind? Then you don’t have to worry! Check out the table below for a comparison between panel and non-panel doctors.

Panel DoctorsNon-panel Doctors
A limited option of doctors based on the insurer’s list of preferred specialistsA flexible option to choose your preferred or family doctor
Per policy year, co-payment for bills are capped at $3,000Per policy year, co-payment for bills could be more than $3,000 with no cap
Specialist doctors have at least 5 years of experience and passed a stringent criteria set by the insurerDoctors might not have passed a stringent criteria set by the insurer
There may be restriction in choice of hospital treatments as some insurers limit it to private hospitals onlyThere’s no restriction in choice of private or public hospital treatment
In an incident where you need to be treated by a non-panel specialist, you may need to pay more than the usual rate of panel doctorsRegular rates are set by non-panel specialists, but all within the Ministry of Health (MOH) benchmark

Generally, both panel and non-panel doctors are skilled professionals. The only major difference they have is that non-panel doctors are not part of the insurer’s list of preferred doctors.

However, that doesn’t mean that panel doctors are way better than non-panel doctors or vice versa. It’s simply a case of exclusivity set by insurers to provide individuals with healthcare services at reasonable costs. 

More Resources about Medical Professions in Singapore