MediShield Life

Ask Salma Q & A

Whether you opt for private or public hospitals, or have a private integrated plan - a certain amount of confusion reigns ahead of the Nov 1 start of MediShield Life. ST's Salma Khalik answers your questions.
Whether you opt for private or public hospitals, or have a private integrated plan - a certain amount of confusion reigns ahead of the Nov 1 start of MediShield Life. ST's Salma Khalik answers your questions.ST PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA

People who are uninsured, and those who are insured with exclusions, will receive letters telling them if they need to pay higher premiums to enjoy full coverage when MediShield Life starts on Nov 1. The additional premium is 30 per cent more for 10 years. This has led to some confusion, especially among people with private integrated plans (IPs).

Q I upgraded to a private hospital plan about five years ago. Because of the upgrade, I was excluded from coverage related to heart problems. Does that mean I now have to pay 30 per cent higher premiums for 10 years? Will that cover me for my heart condition in private hospitals?

A There are three parts to your question.

  • Would you need to pay the additional 30 per cent premium? If you had been covered by MediShield (or an IP which incorporates MediShield) before your upgrade and exclusion, you would already be fully covered and do not need to pay the additional premium.
  •  If you had exclusions from the day you joined, whether you will need to pay the additional 30 per cent premium will depend on how serious your condition is. If it is considered serious you will need to pay the additional premium, and you will enjoy full coverage for subsidised care.
  • The 30 per cent additional premium is based on your MediShield premium, and not your IP premium. It will therefore cover you only at public hospital subsidised rates - and not at private hospital rates.

Q I have a private Integrated Plan with exclusions. With MediShield Life, I will be covered for everything. If I am excluded for heart problems by my IP and am hospitalised in a private hospital for a fracture, but suffer from a heart attack while in hospital, will that be covered by the IP or by MediShield Life? How will the bill be divided?

A It is up to your IP insurer to assess whether treatment for your heart problem while in hospital for a fracture is claimable based on its policy conditions.

MediShield Life payout will be made regardless of whether the IP component will pay the claim.

But the amount covered by MediShield Life, after factoring in the deductible and your co-insurance, will be based on charges in a public hospital subsidised ward.

Q I am paying my mother's MediShield premium with my Medisave. With the Government's top-up for pioneers, how do I change the payer so that my mother pays her own premium?

A As your mother has the basic MediShield, she can request to change the payer online at www.cpf.gov.sg.

She needs to log in with her SingPass, go to "My Requests" on the left panel and select "Healthcare Matters", then select "Change payer of MediShield cover to myself".

If she has a private IP, her insurance agent can make the change for her.

Q I wish to cancel my IP and switch to just the MediShield Life plan. What should I do?

A The best thing to do is to wait till MediShield Life is launched on Nov 1. You will then only need to cancel your IP to be covered only by the basic MediShield Life insurance.

Q My father has been certified with Total Permanent Disability.

Will he still have to pay the MediShield Life premiums? He is in a nursing home. Will he be entitled to subsidies?

A Yes, your father will have to pay MediShield Life premiums, which will be based on the address in his identity card.

Though he is a nursing home resident, he may still require hospital care for infections or other illnesses. With MediShield Life, he will receive lifelong protection for large hospital bills.

If he is unable to pay the premiums even after all the subsidies and government top-ups, there is an Additional Premium Support to help needy Singaporean families on a case-by-case basis.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 05, 2015, with the headline 'Ask Salma MediShield Life'. Print Edition | Subscribe