Ms Alicia Yin Yee Meng wrote that overseas Singaporeans would be deterred from returning to Singapore because they would have to pay compound interest on top of MediShield Life premiums ("Compound interest deters overseas S'poreans from returning"; Nov 26).
MediShield Life is a universal health insurance scheme that provides protection for all Singaporeans for life, regardless of their circumstances, background and health conditions.
Everyone contributes to the scheme as part of collective responsibility. This includes overseas Singaporeans, who remain covered under MediShield Life, and can benefit from MediShield Life whenever they seek medical treatment in Singapore.
The suspension of MediShield Life premiums is an administrative arrangement for a small and distinct group of overseas Singaporeans who live abroad permanently with no intention of residing in Singapore.
This group of overseas Singaporeans would have also declared that they are able to afford healthcare treatment in their country of residence and do not need to rely on MediShield Life in Singapore.
Those who later change their minds and relocate back to Singapore will have to pay the missed premiums accumulated during the suspension period.
The payment will also include the interest that these premiums would have earned in the MediShield Life Fund.
This is a fair arrangement, given that other Singaporeans have made regular MediShield Life premium payments, which have been accumulating interest in the fund.
Overseas Singaporeans who relocate back to Singapore and are unable to pay their share of premiums can apply for additional premium support to help them with the payment of their MediShield Life premiums.
Lim Bee Khim (Ms)
Ministry of Health