A tripartite working group has been formed by the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF), the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and the Government to look into encouraging employers and employees to shift to portable medical benefits built on MediShield Life, said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong on Tuesday.
The Government will also consider strengthening incentives to companies who are willing to provide such portable benefits linked to MediShield Life to their workers, he said.
Mr Gan made these announcements as he opened the parliamentary debate on the report by the MediShield Life review committee. In the report, the committee had called for employers and unions to work together to reduce the duplication of coverage between employer medical benefits and MediShield Life.
The minister noted these concerns as well as the worry that employees who rely on employers' benefits would lose such coverage when they leave employment or retire.
He said MediShield Life provides an opportunity for stakeholders such as employers and unions to work together to better assure workers of lifetime medical coverage, not just for the duration of their employment.
While the 1 percentage point increase in the employer Medisave contribution rate from next year will help, he said more can be done to urge employers and employees to shift towards portable benefits built upon the new universal national healthcare insurance scheme.
Mr Gan said he is encouraged that the public service has taken the lead to raise its employer Medisave contribution to its officers to help them pay for MediShield Life or Integrated Shield Plans. "I hope more employers and unions will work together to do this for their workers," he said.
Earlier in his speech, Mr Gan expressed his appreciation to the review committee members for their contributions, with many MPs thumping their seats in approval as well.
Mr Bobby Chin, who chaired the committee, and some other members were present in the Chamber.