The universal health insurance scheme MediShield Life, announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong during his 2013 National Day Rally, will kick in later this year. On Jan 19, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong tabled the MediShield Life Scheme Bill in Parliament. It provides details on how the scheme is to be implemented and administered. Among other things, it gives wide-ranging powers to the administrator to access people's income and health status without explicit consent from them. Here's a look at MediShield Life and some examples of how it will benefit patients.
What is MediShield Life?
- A compulsory healthcare insurance scheme which covers all Singapore citizens and permanent residents for life.
- MediShield Life will replace MediShield, the current basic healthcare scheme.
- All Singapore citizens and permanent residents will be automatically covered under MediShield Life when it kicks in end 2015.
What are the key differences between MediShield and MediShield Life?
- MediShield Life covers everyone, including those with pre-existing conditions who are not covered under MediShield today.
- MediShield Life has higher claim limits for hospital bills and outpatient cancer treatment.
- There is no more lifetime claim limit under MediShield Life; MediShield has a lifetime claim limit of S$300,000.
Here's a comparison between the MediShield and MediShield Life schemes:
Here are three examples of how patients will benefit from the new scheme.
What are the different MediShield Life premium subsidies and who are eligible for them?
• Premium subsidies for the lower- to middle-income-earners (covering up to two-thirds of households);• Transitional subsidies for all Singapore Citizens;• Special premium subsidies and Medisave top-ups for the pioneer generation for life.
Premium subsidies for lower- and middle-income households are applicable to Singapore citizens and permanent residents with monthly per capita household income (PCHI) of up to $2,600, and living in residences with an annual value of $21,000 or less. PCHI is the total household income divided by the number of family members living under same roof.
The government will provide additional financial assistance for those who cannot afford premiums even after subsidies. No Singaporean will drop out of MediShield Life due to inability to pay for premiums.
Do I need to apply for MediShield Life?
No. All Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents will be automatically covered under MediShield Life when it is implemented in end 2015. CPF Board will inform you of the details nearer to the implementation date.
How much will MediShield Life premiums cost?Go to www.medishieldlife.sg/calculator to calculate your estimated MediShield Life premiums after subsidies. The premiums can be full paid from Medisave. Those with serious pre-existing conditions will have to pay 30 per cent higher premiums for 10 years.
SOURCES: MINISTRY OF HEALTH, THE STRAITS TIMES