S'poreans happy with benefits of MediShield Life but concerned about premiums

Ward in Tan Tock Seng Hospital. People are generally happy with the greater benefits from the proposed MediShield Life health insurance, but are concerned about how high premiums will go, said review committee chairman Bobby Chin. -- ST FILE PHO
Ward in Tan Tock Seng Hospital. People are generally happy with the greater benefits from the proposed MediShield Life health insurance, but are concerned about how high premiums will go, said review committee chairman Bobby Chin. -- ST FILE PHOTO:  KEVIN LIM

People are generally happy with the greater benefits from the proposed MediShield Life health insurance, but are concerned about how high premiums will go, said review committee chairman Bobby Chin.

The 11-member committee held its first focus group discussion on Wednesday night at the Ren Ci Community Hospital. About 50 people attended the closed-door session.

The committee has also received feedback from about 40 people on the MediShield Life website, forum letters and Ministry of Health's hotline "that showed Singaporeans' interest in this issue", said Mr Chin. The high-powered committee, which includes several chief executive officers, has six months to come up with its proposal to the MOH on how to implement the new scheme which will cover everyone for life.

Elaborating on the key worries that resonate with many people so far, Mr Chin said questions they have raised include "how would premiums change with better coverage and with age; whether they can still pay for premiums without significant out-of-pocket expenditures; and how these changes might affect their Medisave accounts."

From this, the committee knows it will need to find a balance between benefit enhancements and premium affordability.

Mr Chin added that many support bringing people with pre-existing diseases into the national insurance scheme as well as extending coverage to everyone for life, as promised by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in August. Mr Chin said: "I find this encouraging as it underscores a shared value of caring for the old and the needy in our society."