MediShield Life, which replaces MediShield, will take effect on November 1, 2015. The compulsory all-inclusive health insurance scheme provides lifetime coverage for all Singaporeans and permanent residents, regardless of age or pre-existing health conditions. Reporter Linette Lai, with help from the Ministry of Health, puts together a comprehensive guide to the new scheme. Here are the answers to 101 frequently asked questions.
These are the key differences between the two:
They range from $1,500 to $3,000, depending on your age and class of hospital ward you choose.
Here's an example:
If your hospital bill is $1,400, you will not be able to claim under MediShield Life if your deductible is $1,500.
However, you only need to pay the deductible once every policy year
So, if you are warded multiple times in a year and are charged $1,500 every time, you would be able to claim from MediShield Life after that first hospital stay.
Under MediShield Life, the co-insurance rate is between 3 and 10 per cent, depending on the size of your bill.
But PRs won't get any "transitional subsidies" - that is, the subsidies that Singaporeans get in the first four years of MediShield Life's implementation which will help them ease into the scheme. PRs will also get only half the permanent subsidies that Singaporeans get.
Generally, MediShield Life will cover more of big hospital bills - including both surgery and ward charges - than MediShield currently does.For example, it will cover more of the cost of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. It also covers things like implants and kidney dialysis.
You are a 60-year-old who was warded in a B2 ward for 10 days after a heart attack. Your bill is $8,100.
You will have to pay $2,000 in deductibles and a further $455 in co-insurance.
The total that you pay is $2,455.
The total that MediShield Life pays is $5,645.
Under MediShield, your co-insurance would be higher, at $605. Claim limits are also lower, so you would end up paying $4,655.
MediShield would pay $3,445.
However, note that if this health condition developed after the start of your insurance cover with MediShield or an Integrated Shield Plan, you will not be considered to have a pre-existing condition.
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Subsidies are also applicable to the additional 30 per cent premium to be applied for those with serious pre-existing conditions. This includes the Premium Subsidies for the lower- to middle-income, Pioneer Generation Subsidies and Transitional Subsidies. For the needy, on a case by case basis, the Government will provide Additional Premium Support.
Of those covered under MediShield or Integrated Plans but with exclusions on certain conditions, around 2,000 will have to pay higher premiums.
Those with a home of a higher annual value would, generally speaking, be better off. For those who find it hard to afford premiums but do not qualify for subsidies due to their home’s annual value, additional help may be made available on a case-by-case basis, depending on a person’s family circumstances.
However, if everyone in your age band makes many claims, premiums may go up the next time the Health Ministry reviews this group.
In line with the principle of insurance, premiums are risk pooled and used to support payouts for policyholders who fall ill and make claims. While some members may die earlier, the contributed premiums will continue to support the rest of the pool. For those who die without making a claim, premiums that they had contributed in the past will have gone towards supporting the claims payouts and commitments for the Scheme.
If a member dies through the premium year, the premium will be pro-rated and refunded to the member’s Medisave account, according to the number of months left in the premium year. These Medisave monies will be distributed to the family members, along with other Medisave monies.
As MediShield Life provides better coverage, higher premiums are to be expected.
If you still leave or try to do so, you may be jailed up to a year, fined up to $5,000, or both.
The Government will not be looking at private or commercial data, including bank accounts or credit records.
You may choose to deny the Government access to your information. However, you will not get any Premium Subsidies as there is insufficient information to assess your eligibility.
To ensure that pensioners will not be worse off with the introduction of MediShield Life, the Government will help pensioners with their MediShield Life premiums. The Government has written directly to all affected pensioners.
MediShield Life ensures that all Singaporeans will have assurance against large healthcare bills for life regardless of your employment status, e.g. in between jobs or after retirement.