WHEN MediShield Life is launched next year, patients can look forward to the national medical insurance paying a larger portion of their big hospital bills than the current MediShield does.
Commenting on the interim report from the MediShield Life Review Committee released last month, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said he agrees with the "focus on enhancing benefits under MediShield Life to reduce the co-payment borne by patients.
"This will ensure greater peace of mind for Singaporeans against the risk of incurring large hospital bills."
MediShield Life, to be launched next year, will cover everyone, even those with preexisting illness, for life.
Mr Gan acknowledged that providing universal coverage means greater payouts. A "reasonable cost-sharing framework" will have to be worked out involving society, people who are currently uninsured and the Government, he said.
He also promised that future premiums can be entirely paid with Medisave. That premiums may have to be paid with cash has been a concern raised by many people in feedback sessions.
Those who might not have enough money in their Medisave accounts also need not worry.
Mr Gan assured: "One key consideration is to keep premiums payable by the lower income (Singaporeans) to be within their Medisave contribution levels, through various Government subsidies and support measures, so that they need not fork out cash for their MediShield Life premiums.
"This will give them the assurance that MediShield Life will be affordable."
And the older generation will also get help from the "pioneer generation" package as promised by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in his National Day Rally speech.
Meanwhile, MediShield, extended to cover people till the age of 90 years in March last year, will be further extended so people turning 90 before MediShield Life is launched next year can continue to be covered, at the current premium of $1,190 a year.