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MediShield Life subsidies can be further enhanced: Chia Shi-Lu

The head of the Government Parliamentary Committee (GPC) for Health, Dr Chia Shi-Lu, has welcomed the premiums that were recently announced for MediShield Life, but said subsidies can be further enhanced for other vulnerable groups of people.

SINGAPORE: The head of the Government Parliamentary Committee (GPC) for Health, Dr Chia Shi-Lu, has welcomed the premiums that were recently announced for MediShield Life, saying they were lower than what some had expected.

But Dr Chia said subsidies can be further enhanced for other vulnerable groups of people.

He said the initial feedback gathered is that the premiums are at a reasonable amount.

Dr Chia said the general consensus among Singaporeans is that they feel comfortable as long as the premiums are taken care of by their Medisave contribution.

While he welcomed the range of subsidies to help Singaporeans with their premiums, he said there should be a subsidy scheme in place for those who go through an unexpected period of difficulty, such as a sudden illness or job loss.

Dr Chia said: "One simple mechanism would be to maintain the degree of subsidies. It’s a decreasing subsidy -- 80 per cent, 60 per cent, 40 per cent and so on.

"The ministry can decide to maintain the 80 per cent subsidies over the four or five years, instead of just the first year.

“Or maybe even increase the subsidies – 80 per cent or 90 per cent to even 95 per cent for certain family members, or take the family as a whole."

Some Singaporeans also felt that subsidies for premiums could be improved. But in general, they were happy about the benefits provided.

One Singaporean said: "I prefer that the subsidies are individual rather than per capita household because the individual's power of earning is different per person."

MediShield Life will offer enhanced benefits and that may mean that private insurers have to be more competitive.

Dr Chia said: "If the bar has been raised by MediShield Life, and they don't keep up with the game, then obviously more Singaporeans may just think, the basic or level of care given to me by MediShield Life is probably enough for myself and my family, I don't really need additional frills."

He added that the proposed standardised Integrated Shield Plan for Class B1 wards will give policy holders more choices without being excessively burdened by cost. 

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