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Chua Mui Hoong, Opinion Editor

Make standard B1 coverage available for all Singaporeans

Adding B1 layer to MediShield Life insurance will cater to rising expectations

Published on Jun 29, 2014 12:05 PM

Last December, I spent a Saturday afternoon closeted in a room with about 30 other Singaporeans talking about a subject very close to our hearts and wallets: health-care cost.

In particular, the review of MediShield Life, the improved national health insurance plan that offers coverage to all, including those with pre-existing medical conditions, and for life.

I cover such discussions on public issues all the time as a journalist. But this time, I signed up as a citizen because I wanted to give views on a specific area: allowing people with pre-existing medical conditions to be covered under higher ward class plans.

The proposed new MediShield Life offers universal coverage - but for B2 and C class wards only.

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Background story

Need for bolder move

I wish the committee had been bolder and taken a firm position. Top choice would be if it had said MediShield Life should offer a B1 plan run by the Government. If that's too difficult to administer, it could have stated categorically that every Singaporean should be assured of coverage under its standard B1 plan. This would put the onus on insurers and the Government to work together to come up with premium tables that make sense actuarially and also ethically.