The recent extension of MediShield to people born with congenital illnesses will not cover those diagnosed before March 1 this year, said Parliamentary Secretary for Health Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim on Thursday.
He was replying to a question by Ms Denise Phua (Moulmein-Kallang GRC). Last month, the Government announced that MediShield coverage will be extended to include congenital and neonatal conditions, with all Singaporean children diagnosed after March 1 this year eligible for cover.
Dr Faishal said conditions diagnosed before the extension takes effect are considered pre-existing. They will not be covered under MediShield as covering pre-existing conditions will "lead to higher premiums for all".
However, parents whose children were diagnosed with congenital conditions before March 1 will be able to tap on the newly established Medifund Junior scheme, said Dr Faishal. The fund will help patients aged 18 years and below pay for medical treatment at public hospitals.
From March 1, the Health Ministry will set aside $8 million annually for Medifund Junior, an increase from the $6 million that public hospitals currently give out in Medifund assistance every year for children's medical bills.
"Medifund Junior will help us to more effectively target families with higher needs and provide added assurance to Singaporeans," said Dr Faishal.