Integrated Shield Plans have a role to play

The recent article "MediShield Life: Answers to 101 frequently asked questions" (ST Online; April 22) provides a comprehensive guide to MediShield, MediShield Life and the Integrated Shield Plans.

However, some burning questions remain. Is MediShield Life all that one will need? Is it better than the Integrated Shield Plans? 

Choosing to go with MediShield Life or to enhance it to a private Integrated Shield Plan (IP) should not be solely determined by factors such as premium affordability or whether one would prefer B2- and C-class wards.

The reality of hospital bed crunches, stretched resources and long waiting times in government and restructured hospitals cannot be underestimated.

The time-saving and perhaps even life-saving option of higher-class wards in restructured hospitals or even private hospitals under the private Integrated Shield Plans should be taken into consideration.

Where complex surgical procedures are involved, a private Integrated Shield Plan, with no limits on the claimable amount for surgical procedures, except for the deductibles, co-insurance and annual limits applicable, may offer patients greater peace of mind. 

Everyone needs to do a thorough review of their needs before deciding to terminate their existing IPs.

Meanwhile, the young should, while healthy, consider purchasing a suitable private Integrated Shield Plan. Should their needs or ability to pay for premiums change in the coming years, they can choose to downgrade to a lower private Integrated Shield Plan or to MediShield Life.

Steven Sit Poh Sang