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Keeping MediShield Life premiums affordable a collective effort: Lawrence Wong

Keeping MediShield Life premiums affordable is a collective effort involving individuals, employers and the Government, said Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong in a Facebook post on Saturday.

SINGAPORE: Keeping MediShield Life premiums affordable is a collective effort involving individuals, employers and the Government, said Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong.

Writing in a Facebook post on Saturday, Mr Wong elaborated on the reasons why this is so.

He said as MediShield Life is universal, it is important that everyone bears the responsibility to join the insurance risk pool.

This, he stressed, represents a commitment to social solidarity as everyone chips in to help pay for the healthcare needs of the sick.

Employers will also do their part with a 1 per cent increase in Employer Medisave Contribution which will help cover the premiums.

In addition, significant and targeted subsidies will be given by the Government.

The Pioneer Generation will receive premium subsidies and Medisave top-ups for life, and lower- to middle-income households will get premium subsidies.

Mr Wong stressed that MediShield Life is a major policy undertaking that did not happen overnight.

The first reform to the MediShield scheme began a decade ago which Mr Wong had helped to implement when he was a civil servant.

Mr Wong said back then, MediShield was losing its effectiveness.

For patients with large hospital bills, MediShield only covered about 40 per cent of the bill, leaving patients with a high co-payment.

For a bill of about S$10,000, this meant a large payment of S$6,000 by the patient.

Mr Wong recounted how ten years ago, the Government had wanted to have more MediShield payouts, and to have MediShield cover those with pre-existing illnesses.

But it was assessed then that the required premium increase would have been too large to bear.

That is why he cheered the proposal for MediShield Life as it will provide far better protection against large bills, and include those with pre-existing illnesses under the MediShield Life umbrella.

Mr Wong added that the healthcare financing framework will continue to evolve as the Government ensures affordable and quality healthcare for all Singaporeans.  

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