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MediShield Life Review Committee unveils recommendations

Cost of premiums a key concern, so subsidies and other financial assistance will be a permanent feature of the scheme, Ministry of Health says.

SINGAPORE: The Government on Thursday (June 5) accepted the MediShield Life Review Committee's recommendation that it should bear most of the costs of the scheme, details of which were released the same day.

"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," the Ministry of Health said in a press statement.

Said Committee chairman Bobby Chin: "We have listened to what Singaporeans valued most in MediShield Life. Our recommendations will provide better protection against large hospital bills for all Singaporeans, for life."

He added that the committee will finalise its recommendations in a month, with the scheme slated to be implemented by the end of 2015.

Among the recommendations announced on June 5 following months of consultation with the public and key stakeholders:

  • Removing the lifetime claim limit of S$300,000

  • Increasing annual claim limits by 40 per cent from S$70,000 to S$100,000

  • Increasing daily claim limits for normal and ICU wards by up to 55 per cent

  • Increasing claim limits for surgical procedures by 25 to 93 per cent

  • Increasing daily claim limits for community hospitals by 40 per cent, from S$250 to S$350

  • Increasing claim limits for outpatient cancer chemotherapy and radiotherapy

  • Lower co-insurance rates of 3 to 10 per cent, down from current 10 to 20 per cent

  • Premium rebates to start from age 66, instead of 71

'MEDISAVE WITHDRAWAL LIMITS WILL BE SUFFICIENT'

While the ministry noted that increased payouts would mean higher premiums, the Government said it will ensure that Medisave withdrawal limits are sufficient for all MediShield Life premiums, while subsidies, financial assistance and other forms of funding support for the lower to middle-income will be a "permanent feature" of the scheme.

A transitional subsidy will also be provided over four years to help Singaporeans adjust to the premiums, the ministry said.

MediShield Life was first announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong during the 2013 National Day Rally with the aim of extending "coverage for life, coverage for all", by providing better lifetime coverage for all Singaporeans for large subsidised bills.

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