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NDR 2013: MediShield revamped, will cover all for life

Published on Aug 18, 2013 8:47 PM
 
A hospital ward at the Changi General Hospital. MediShield coverage will no longer stop at 90 and will be expanded to include even those with pre-existing illnesses, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Sunday, Aug 18, 2013, as he announced a major revamp of Government insurance scheme. -- ST FILE PHOTO:  CAROLINE CHIA

MediShield coverage will no longer stop at 90 and will be expanded to include even those with pre-existing illnesses, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Sunday as he announced a major revamp of Government insurance scheme.

In addition to the increased coverage, benefits will be increased so patients will pay less out-of-pocket.

However, there will no choice to opt-out under the scheme to be named MediShield Life and premiums will likely be higher.

But PM Lee said that those who cannot afford to pay for the higher premiums do not have to worry as the Government will step in to help.

He specifically singled out a group he called Singapore's pioneer generation, whom he said had worked hard to build today's Singapore. For them, the Government will create a Pioneer Generation Package to help pay for their MediShield Life premiums.

These people, in their late 60s and above, and now mostly retired, said Mr Lee, had " paved the way for us to live better lives than themselves", and "lived with fewer safety nets".

"We must take care of our pioneer generation in their golden years," he said.

The Ministry of Health will be conducting a public consultation exercise before deciding on the details of the scheme.

With affordable outpatient care a key health care concern here, said Mr Lee, the Government will also be tweaking its Community Health Assist Scheme to open it up to younger Singaporeans.

The scheme, which subsidises lower to middle-income patients for treatment at private general practitioners and dentists, currently has an age-floor of 40 years old.

The Government will also increase subsidies for those with more serious conditions who need to visit Specialist Outpatient Clinics. Means-testing will be used to determine who can qualify.