Affordability of MediShield Life premiums "should never be an issue": PM Lee

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong attends a local media round-up interview at the Four Seasons Hotel, in New York City, on June 26, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong attends a local media round-up interview at the Four Seasons Hotel, in New York City, on June 26, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN

NEW YORK - While Singaporeans will have to pay higher insurance premiums under the upcoming universal healthcare plan MediShield Life, the Government will ensure that "affordability should never be an issue", Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Thursday.

The premiums payable for the upcoming healthcare plan, which will cover all Singaporeans and offer better protection against large medical bills, will be kept within each person's Medisave contributions, Mr Lee said.

"That's a design feature which we will maintain. So over time, as costs change, as premiums change, we will make sure that [the premiums] can be paid out of Medisave and therefore affordability should never be an issue."

He was speaking to reporters in New York, at the tail end of a week-long visit to the United States.

The full report on MediShield Life - including highly-anticipated details about the premiums payable - is due to be released on Friday by the MediShield Life Review Committee.

Mr Lee also praised the committee for doing "a good job" in coming up with their "very complex proposal".

"It's a major step forward in enhancing our social safety nets, in assuring Singaporeans that they will have better protection against big medical bills," he said.

"We have to get the details right, we have to make sure that the premiums are affordable, we must make sure that there is support for the groups which need the support," Mr Lee added.

"I think that the committee has done their best to look into all these aspects and to make sure that the scheme we have is a good one."

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