Singaporeans to receive COVID-19 subsidy to offset proposed increase in MediShield Life premiums

Singaporeans to receive COVID-19 subsidy to offset proposed increase in MediShield Life premiums

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Singapore
FILE PHOTO: People cross a street during morning peak hour commute amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Singapore Jun 3, 2020. (REUTERS/Edgar Su)

SINGAPORE: All Singaporeans will receive a one-off COVID-19 subsidy to cushion the impact of the recommended increase in MediShield Life premiums, the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced on Tuesday (Sep 29). 

The Government will subsidise 70 per cent of the net increase in premiums - after taking into account existing premium subsidies - in the first year, and 30 per cent in the second year.  

Authorities expect the rise in premiums to be implemented in 2021, along with other recommendations put forward by the MediShield Life Council in its review of the national health insurance scheme. 

The COVID-19 subsidy will cost the Government about S$360 million over two years, and it comes on top of existing premium support measures.

These will ensure that the net premium increases for all Singaporeans will be kept to up to about 10 per cent in the first year, said MOH in a media release.

READ: MediShield Life premiums may rise by up to 35% for some, higher claim limits proposed as part of review

The Government has also pledged to continue its premium subsidies, Merdeka and Pioneer Generation subsidies and Additional Premium Support for the needy. They are estimated to cost S$1.8 billion over the next three years.

Merdeka and Pioneer Generation seniors also receive annual MediSave top-ups, with Merdeka Generation seniors receiving S$200 annually from 2019 to 2023, and Pioneer Generation seniors receiving S$200 to S$800 annually for life.  

They may use the top-ups to pay for their MediShield Life premiums.

Permanent residents receive half of the applicable premium subsidies for Singaporeans.

READ: Budget 2019: Merdeka Generation Package worth S$8b to include subsidies for outpatient care

READ: MOH reviewing MediShield Life coverage for serious pregnancy, delivery complications

Since 2015, the Government has introduced a raft of measures to keep premiums affordable for Singaporeans, said MOH. 

These include funding to cover the cost of bringing the uninsured into MediShield Life, premium subsidies of up to 50 per cent for the lower- and middle-income, transitional subsidies for all Singaporeans in the first four years, as well as the Additional Premium Support for the needy.

The Government also provided 5 or 10 per cent premium subsidies for the Merdeka Generation, and 40 to 60 per cent premium subsidies for the Pioneer Generation.

In total, the Government has spent S$3.1 billion over the past four years to help Singapore residents with their premiums, said MOH. 

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said these subsidies have helped to keep premiums affordable for Singaporeans. 

“No one will lose MediShield Life coverage due to financial difficulties,” he added.

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Source: CNA/kv(gs)

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