Increase in MediShield Life premiums covered for most by 1% rise in Medisave and subsidies

SINGAPORE - The 1 per cent increase in Medisave contribution from employers next year will be enough to offset the rise in premiums for most upper middle income families when MediShield Life starts at the end of next year.

Middle and lower income families will also have no problems with the expected much higher premiums as they will get permanent subsidies from the government.

Giving this assurance on Saturday, Mr Gan Kim Yong, Minister for Health, added that any who still face difficulties will get further help.

Speaking at the sidelines of an event to celebrate World Blood Donors Day at Sentosa, Mr Gan said the launch of MediShield Life "is a very important shift in the healthcare financing framework."

He said he was grateful to the 11-member committee, who had came up with the recommendations.

They had "burnt the midnight oil" on many occasions to come up with recommendations that struck a balance between good coverage and affordability.

He praised them for three "impactful" moves:

- the removal of the lifetime limit
- the raising of claims limit so patients can make larger claims
- the reduction of the co-payment so patients bear a smaller part of big bills.

To soften the load of higher premiums, the committee, headed by former managing director of accounting giant KPMG Bobby Chin, asked the government to provide financial help.

So aside from the subsidies for pioneers aged 65 years and older that had been announced earlier, he said there will be financial help to pay for the increase in premiums for two in three families.

On top of that, everyone will have a declining transient subsidy - starting at 80 per cent of the premium increase in the first year, and dropping to 60, 40 and 20 per cent in subsequent years - for the initial four years.

The idea, he said, "is to help as many people as we can".

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