On IP coverage and premiums

 Weekly one-to-one sessions on MediShield Life will be held at 39 CCs and residents' committee centres to help explain the new compulsory health insurance scheme.
Weekly one-to-one sessions on MediShield Life will be held at 39 CCs and residents' committee centres to help explain the new compulsory health insurance scheme.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Q Why am I paying for duplicate coverage - once for MediShield Life and once for my private Integrated Shield Plan (IP)?

A You are not paying for duplicate coverage.

IPs build on what MediShield Life has to offer, often providing better coverage for higher premiums.

From now on, your IP renewal letters will come with a breakdown of the MediShield Life and private insurance premiums, so that you know what you are paying for.

Q Since MediShield Life covers all pre-existing conditions, does that mean my private insurer will do the same?

A No, it does not. Private providers make their own underwriting decisions for the extra coverage under IPs. If you have exclusions on your IP coverage, think about where you get treatment for these conditions, as MediShield Life coverage is not targeted at Class B1, A, or private-hospital stays.

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said last Saturday that private insurers have not adjusted IP premiums for the past two to three years even though claims have gone up, and that they will have to do so eventually.

Q What should I do now that MediShield Life is launched? Should I cancel my private IP?

A That is up to you, but here are several questions you should ask yourself:

Do you want to stay in Class B1, A, or private hospitals? Do you want to choose your own doctor? MediShield Life coverage is not targeted at these.

Can you afford to pay for your IP premiums in the long term, even after you retire? IP premiums will rise significantly as you age. Ask your insurance agent for an indication of premiums when you are in your 70s and 80s.

Q Are my IP premiums going to go up?

A The Life Insurance Association, which represents the five IP providers, has pledged that the private insurance portion of IP premiums will not go up for one year after the start of MediShield Life.

However, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said last Saturday that private insurers have not adjusted IP premiums for the past two to three years even though claims have gone up, and that they will have to do so eventually.


Correction note: An earlier article said that IP premiums will not go up for one year after the start of MediShield Life, when it should have been the private insurance portion of IP premiums that will not go up. We are sorry for the error.

The earlier article also mentioned that MediShield Life coverage does not cover Class B1, A or private hospital stays, but MOH has clarified that MediShield Life coverage is not targeted at Class B1, A, or private-hospital stays. 

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 03, 2015, with the headline 'On IP coverage and premiums'. Print Edition | Subscribe