Nearly half of MediShield Life claims paid went to those above 65

The $282 million paid to seniors for claims under MediShield Life since its launch last November is nearly double the $151 million paid to them under the old scheme over the same period a year before.
The $282 million paid to seniors for claims under MediShield Life since its launch last November is nearly double the $151 million paid to them under the old scheme over the same period a year before.ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH

Nearly half the claims paid out under MediShield Life in the first 11 months of its roll-out - or some $282 million - went to Singaporeans aged over 65.

This is nearly double the $151 million payout to seniors under the old MediShield scheme over the same period the year before, said Minister for Health Gan Kim Yong yesterday.

He was responding to a question from Tanjong Pagar GRC MP Joan Pereira, who asked how the Ministry of Health (MOH) can be sure that MediShield Life and the Pioneer Generation Package are enough to meet the needs of the elderly in Singapore.

"MediShield Life now provides lifetime protection for large hospitalisation bills for all Singaporeans," Mr Gan said.

"MOH will continue to review affordability and coverage of healthcare for the elderly, while ensuring that our healthcare financing system remains sustainable."

LIFETIME PROTECTION

MediShield Life now provides lifetime protection for large hospitalisation bills for all Singaporeans. MOH will continue to review affordability and coverage of healthcare for the elderly, while ensuring that our healthcare financing system remains sustainable.

HEALTH MINISTER GAN KIM YONG, on how the scheme will meet seniors' needs.

He added that the average senior Singaporean got more in payouts under MediShield Life.

Each senior got around $1,639 per claim under the new universal insurance scheme, compared with $1,425 under the old MediShield.

Under the old scheme, certain groups - such as those with pre-existing medical conditions - were excluded from coverage. Insurance coverage also stopped at age 92.

MediShield Life, launched on Nov 1 last year, is a national health insurance scheme offering Singaporeans and permanent residents subsidised care throughout their lifetimes.

Since the scheme was first announced, the authorities have taken pains to make sure that Singaporeans - especially those from the older generation - understand it.

The outreach efforts include organising roadshows, making videos in Malay, Tamil and various Chinese dialects, and setting up free consultations at community clubs and residents' committee centres.

Between last November and this September, a total of 400,000 MediShield Life claims were made and $614.3 million paid out.

Over the same period in the previous year, $307.5 million was disbursed for 291,500 claims.

In response to Ms Pereira, Mr Gan added that the Pioneer Generation Package has also provided more than $700 million to over 400,000 people since its launch in 2014.

Yesterday, Hougang MP Png Eng Huatasked how many people have not paid their MediShield Life premiums, and how much is owed.

Minister of State for Health Chee Hong Tat said that as of September, around 51,000 residents had unpaid premiums. These amounted to $12.8 million, representing less than one per cent of total premiums due.

The outstanding premiums included those from overseas Singaporeans, as well as people who could not be contacted.

"We are reaching out to remind Singaporeans and help them with their MediShield Life premiums," said Mr Chee. "The Government has provided subsidies to help Singaporeans pay for their MediShield Life premiums."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 09, 2016, with the headline 'Nearly half of MediShield Life claims paid went to those above 65'. Print Edition | Subscribe