Mr Christopher Tang Wei Ling ("Concerns about impact of MediShield Life on pioneers"; last Friday) was worried about how MediShield Life would impact the pioneer generation.
We assure him that pioneers who have an Integrated Shield Plan (IP) such as NTUC IncomeShield need not worry. They do not have to pay for another set of insurance premiums as there is no duplication between MediShield or MediShield Life and the IPs.
IPs like IncomeShield are Medisave-approved hospitalisation insurance plans made up of two parts - a MediShield portion targeted at coverage for Class B2 or C wards and managed by the Central Provident Fund Board, and a top-up portion providing additional benefits such as coverage in private hospitals, which is managed by the private insurer.
Therefore, if you have an IP like IncomeShield, you enjoy both the benefits of MediShield and the top-up portion. This also means that the premiums you pay to the insurer already include a portion for the MediShield premiums.
When launched, MediShield Life will replace the current MediShield portion in the IPs. We recognise that many IP policyholders may not be aware of how an IP works. We will work closely with the private insurers to ensure that insurance sales representatives explain this more clearly to policyholders.
When MediShield Life starts, the Government will provide special subsidies to the pioneer generation and Medisave top-ups for life. The pioneer generation subsidies help reduce the MediShield Life part of premiums within the IP plans. They can thus reduce the total IP premium that pioneers would otherwise have to pay.
Mr Tang made the point that "an existing medical condition covered under the private plan will become a pre-existing condition under the new MediShield Life plan". This is incorrect. Those who are currently insured under MediShield or an IP, and developed a condition only after their insurance coverage started, will not need to pay additional premiums due to premium loading on the condition.
Only those who developed medical conditions before starting MediShield or IP coverage (that is, pre-existing medical conditions) may need to pay additional premiums due to premium loading, depending on how serious these pre-existing conditions are.
Lim Bee Khim (Ms)
Director, Corporate Communications
Ministry of Health