Parliament: Nearly half of MediShield Life claims paid out went to Singaporeans over 65

Between November 2015 and September 2016, about $282 million in MediShield Life claims went to Singaporeans aged above 65, compared with $151 million in the previous year under the old MediShield. ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH

SINGAPORE - Nearly half the claims paid out in the first 11 months of MediShield Life's existence went to Singaporeans aged above 65, said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong in Parliament on Tuesday (Nov 8).

Between last November and September this year, about $282 million in claims went to people in this age group, compared with $151 million in the previous year under the old MediShield.

In total, more than $600 million was paid out under the universal insurance scheme during this time period. This is up from the $307.5 million disbursed over the same time under the old scheme.

"Overall, for older Singaporeans, MediShield Life paid out an average of $1,639 per claim," Mr Gan said. "(This is) a 15 per cent increase from $1,425 per claim under MediShield."

He was responding to a question from Ms Joan Pereira (Tanjong Pagar GRC), who asked how the Health Ministry determines if the benefits under the Pioneer Generation Package and MediShield Life are sufficient for the needs of the elderly.

Mr Gan added that the Pioneer Generation Package has provided more than $700 million in benefits to over 400,000 people so far.

"MOH will continue to review affordability and coverage of healthcare for the elderly, while ensuring that our healthcare financing system remains sustainable," he said.

Mr Png Eng Huat (Hougang) also asked how many people have not paid their MediShield Life premiums, and what the total amount owed is.

In response, Minister of State for Health Chee Hong Tat said that as of September, around 51,000 residents have outstanding premiums due, which amount to around $12.8 million. This represents about 1 per cent of all members, and includes overseas Singaporeans as well as those who cannot be contacted.

"We are reaching out to remind Singaporeans and help them with their MediShield Life premiums," Mr Chee said. "The Government has provided subsidies to help Singaporeans pay for their MediShield Life premiums."

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