PM Lee says Medishield Life depends on everyone chipping in to share burden

PRIME Minister Lee Hsien Loong marked the end of the Budget debate with a post on Medishield Life, which he said is a key initiative to strengthen social safety nets.

After seven long days of scrutinising the budgets of the ministries one by one, he also set down on Thursday night his thanks to ministers and Members of Parliament.

He went online to thank "all MPs for their active participation", for questioning ministers, raising issues, and championing ideas they feel passionate about.

He also thanked the ministers for "working hard to listen, reassure, and explain".

"I am heartened by the general support for Budget 2014," Mr Lee said in a Facebook post.

He highlighted the ways the Government is moving to strengthen social safety nets, which Health Minister Gan Kim Yong and Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing explained on Wednesday and Thursday.

A key initiative is the universal healthcare insurance scheme MediShield Life that will be launched next year. It will cover every Singaporean, throughout his or her life.

Mr Lee assured Singaporeans that "premiums for MediShield Life will be affordable for all, especially the elderly and the low-income".

He explained that the Government will bear most of the initial costs of universal coverage under MediShield Life, and introduce permanent subsidies for lower- to middle-income groups.

For those who despite this help cannot afford their remaining share of premiums, Medifund will provide additional assistance.

After all the subsidies, most households should be able to pay their MediShield premiums using just half of their Medisave contributions.

Lower- to middle-income households should pay either the same or less premiums for MediShield Life as they are paying for MediShield today.

As for members of the Pioneer Generation, those aged 80 and above will have their premiums fully covered. Younger Pioneers aged 65 to 79 and who are on MediShield today will pay half of current premiums, but enjoy better coverage under Medishield Life.

"MediShield Life depends on everyone chipping in to share the burden, to take collective responsibility to protect one another," Mr Lee said, adding:

"While MediShield Life gives us peace of mind for our health costs, let's all do our part to stay healthy and avoid getting sick. This is the best way to keep health costs low, live long and live well."