MediShield Life review: Better coverage for all, enhanced benefits, lower co-payments

SINGAPORE - The MediShield Life Review Committee has come up with recommendations for the compulsory insurance plan that aim to ease people's worries about racking up large hospital bills.

In considering changes to MediShield Life, the Committee had "carefully considered the balance between the impact of the benefit enhancements and the resulting indicative premium levels", it said in a release on Thursday.

The Committee recommended the following:

- remove the lifetime claim limit of $300,000;

- increase the policy year claim limit from $70,000 to $100,000

- increase the daily claim limits for normal wards and ICU wards by up to 55 per cent

- increase the claim limits for surgical procedures by between 25 and 93 per cent

- increase the daily claim limits for community hospitals by 40 per cent from $250 to $350

- increase claim limits for outpatient cancer chemotherapy and radiotherapy to better cover the cost of subsidised cancer treatment

- lower the co-insurance rates from the current range of 10 to 20 per cent to 3 to 10 per cent, and

- start premium rebates earlier from the age of 66, instead of 71.

With MediShield Life, the current age limit of 90 will be lifted so Singaporeans can enjoy life-long coverage. Those with pre-existing conditions will also be covered.

At an earlier update of the policy in March, the committee recommended that additional costs arising from the expected higher claims from those with pre-existing conditions be shared across those with pre-existing conditions, existing insured policyholders and the Government.

The Committee also recommended that those with pre-existing conditions pay higher premiums indicative of higher risks, at an additional 30 per cent for a period of 10 years. The premium increase for the remaining policyholders as a result of universal coverage should be no more than 3 per cent from current premiums.

"The Government accepts the committee's recommendation and will bear most of the cost of bringing in those with pre-existing conditions. In this way, the Government will help all Singaporeans, including those with pre-existing conditions and those who are currently excluded, achieve MediShield Life cover, while ensuring that premiums are kept affordable for policyholders," said the Ministry of Health said in a press statement.

The Ministry also said that the Government will ensure that Medisave withdrawal limits are sufficient for all MediShield Life premiums. There will be premium subsidies for lower to middle-income households, which account for up to two-thirds of the population. There will be further financial assistance for those who need help, on top of these premium subsidies.

A transitional subsidy will also be provided over four years to help all Singaporeans - regradless of income - adjust to the premiums, the ministry added.

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