SINGAPORE: Patients admitted to hospitals for surgical procedures from January next year will be able to claim more from MediShield Life, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Friday (Dec 27).
Currently, patients can claim between S$200 and S$2,000, depending on the complexity of their procedures. From Jan 1, the amount will be between S$240 and S$2,600.
The claim limits have been adjusted to “keep pace with increased healthcare cost since the last revision in 2015”, MOH said.
MOH said the enhancement was recommended by the MediShield Life Council (MLC), as part of its ongoing review of MediShield Life benefits and premiums. The review is expected to be completed by the end of next year.
"Even as the MediShield Life Council undertakes their review, which will be completed by end 2020, we will start off by implementing the new claim limits for surgical procedures so that patients can benefit earlier from this enhancement," said Senior Minister of State for Health Edwin Tong.
"Around 90,000 patients per year are expected to benefit from higher MediShield Life payouts with the implementation of the new claim limits," MOH said.
While there will be no premium adjustments at this point, as part of its overall review of the scheme, the MLC will also assess adjustments to premiums accordingly, after factoring in enhancements to the scheme and actual claims experience, the ministry said.
When the scheme was launched in November 2015, the Government’s commitment was to keep premiums constant for five years, it added.
MediShield Life is a basic health insurance plan, administered by the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board, which helps to pay for large hospital bills and selected costly outpatient treatments, such as dialysis.
MORE CLAIM LIMIT TIERS
MOH has also added 14 new tiers to the MediShield Life claim limits to cater to surgical procedures of different complexities under the Table of Surgical Procedures (TOSP). The TOSP is an exhaustive list of more than 2,000 procedures for which MediSave and MediShield Life can be claimed, subject to their respective limits.
There are seven claim tiers currently. From Jan 1, there will be 21.
"The introduction of more granular and higher tiers will provide better coverage for more complex surgical procedures, which tend to be costlier," MOH said adding that it will also better protect Singaporeans against large medical bills.
This is a key enhancement that the MLC has been working on this year, its chairman Mrs Fang Ai Lian, said.
“As we have finished the review, we have recommended to MOH to roll it out ahead of the larger review, which will benefit Singaporeans with more complex procedures,” she said.
No action is needed on the part of patients. The new claim limits will be automatically applied to MediShield Life claims for patients admitted for surgeries from Jan 1 next year, MOH said.