What you can expect from MediShield Life at a glance

The MediShield Life Review Committee has recommended better coverage, enhanced benefits and lower co-payments for the new MediShield Life universal insurance plan that will kick in next year.

It is an improved version of the current MediShield insurance scheme and will cover Singaporeans of all ages, including those with pre-existing illnesses. The current scheme stops coverage at 90 years old and does not take in people with exisiting conditions.

MediShield Life is also compulsory for all Singaporeans and there is no opting out.

If the committee’s recommendations are accepted by the Government, here are some of the things you can expect:

1.Higher claim limits

The claim limits for MediShield Life will be higher for a host of services compared to the current scheme.

The committee has recommended the removal of the lifetime claim limit and an increase of the yearly claim limit to $100,000 from the current $70,000.

It has also proposed an increase in the daily claim limits for normal, ICU and community hospital wards by up to 55 per cent. For normal hospital wards, for example, the limit will be $700, up from the current $450.

2. More subsidies for treatment, surgery

Surgical procedures and outpatient chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments will be more heavily subsidised.

The claim limit for surgical procedures will go up by between 25 per cent and 93 per cent, while that for chemotherapy will more than double.

3. Lower co-insurance payments

Co-insurance, that is the percentage of the bill you need to pay on the portion of the bill above the deductible, will go down from the current range of 10 to 20 per cent to 3 to 10 per cent.

4. Premium rebates start earlier

The Government will also give out premium rebates earlier, starting from when one is 66 years old, instead of the current 71 years old. The premium rebates can go up to $449, depending on what age a person joins the scheme and what age group he or she is currently in.

5. Higher premiums

Premiums will go up. The exact amounts have not been revealed - they will be finalised by the committee over the next month - but the increases for most policyholders should be no more than 3 per cent from current premiums, the committee said.

Those with existing illnesses will pay a higher premium “reflective of their higher risks”, at 30 per cent more than they currently pay, for a period of 10 years.

The committee also said that the additional 1 per cent employer Medisave contribution should be enough to cover increases in premiums for most people.

6. Subsidies to help pay for premiums

The Government will give transitional subsidies to all Singaporeans over four years. The amounts have not yet been revealed.

7. Permanent aid for some

Aid for lower- to middle-income families will be built into the scheme. The Government will provide premium subsidies, financial assistance and other forms of funding support for this group as a permanent feature of MediShield Life. The Ministry of Health will finalise the amount of these subsidies at a later date.

8. More help for Pioneer Generation

The typical Pioneer Generation retiree household, for example a retired couple in their 70s living in an HDB flat, will see a decrease in its total payable premiums.