Forum: No urgency to build up MediShield Life reserves

Perhaps there is a basic misunderstanding of the principles underlying MediShield Life by Mr Chang Wei Meng (Decouple private healthcare from Medishield Life, Oct 17 ).

No matter that patients seek private healthcare, Medishield Life run by the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board offers the same level of payouts for treatment based on B2/C ward charges in public hospitals.

Premiums do not escalate simply because more patients are choosing private healthcare, and it must not be confused with Integrated Shield Plans (IPs) run by private insurers, which share their own insurance pool.

While MediShield Life premiums have been constant for some time, IP premiums have relentlessly rocketed because the sky is almost the limit for medical costs when patients subject themselves to the unbridled consumerism that is somewhat rampant in the private sector.

This is a perennial source of concern for both medical practitioners and patients alike, but already some IP insurers have taken to increasing premiums for patients opting for private sector healthcare while encouraging, through premium reductions, the IP clientele to take up premium class care in restructured hospitals at a fraction of the costs instead.

For MediShield Life, the rationale for imminent premium increases offered by the administrators - such as increased claim limits and better payouts, added coverage from enhancements made, the removal of certain exclusions - sounds logical enough until the figures show that substantially more premiums have been collected since the scheme was started than payouts made.

There is no immediate necessity to build up a reserve for future payouts as these are always recoverable very easily when and only when the need arises.

Yik Keng Yeong (Dr)

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