Help pensioners make the best medical insurance choice

I support Ms Evelyn Tan-Leong's call for greater transparency on Integrated Shield Plan (IP) premiums ("Greater transparency needed on IP premiums"; Nov 5).

It is difficult for the educated to understand the conditions that have to be met before claims can be made, what more for the illiterate.

For most people, the main purpose of buying private medical insurance is to ensure that they would not have to worry about large medical bills.

Patients have this in mind during admission but some discover that they are unable to make claims using their plans after being discharged from hospital because of certain conditions not being fulfilled, including not staying in the hospital for a minimum number of days.

This can lead to overconsumption as patients would go for a longer hospital stay in order to be able to make an insurance claim.

The problem is made even more complicated for pensioners enjoying subsidised or free medical care.

Currently, these people buy Integrated Shield Plans in the hope that the medical insurance can pay the remaining bill not subsidised by the Government.

Unfortunately, this is not the case. If certain conditions are not met, medical insurers do not need to pay out anything.

Most pensioners will not be able to meet those conditions unless they ask for irrelevant, expensive diagnostic tests or lengthen their stay in hospital.

This should not be the way to go.

With the introduction of MediShield Life, is it now unnecessary for pensioners to continue with the IPs if they do not intend to stay in private hospitals?

What advantage does an IP holder have over another who has only MediShield Life, if both are pensioners not intending to stay in private hospitals?

It would be appreciated if advice can be offered to people, especially pensioners, to make a wise decision instead of merely subsidising the medical insurance industry.

Yeo Boon Eng (Ms)