MediShield premiums to increase soon: health minister
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong told Parliament on Wednesday that the premiums need to be adequate to sustain MediShield members' claims and fund future liabilities.
SINGAPORE: Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said MediShield premiums are due for an increase soon.
Mr Gan told Parliament on Wednesday that the premiums need to be adequate to sustain MediShield members' claims and fund future liabilities.
He said a 45-year-old may see a premium increase of S$7 per month, with younger age groups seeing a smaller increase.
While a 75-year-old could see an increase of S$25 per month.
Those above 65 will also receive direct and long-term assistance via Medisave top-ups under the GST Voucher scheme of up to $450 a year, which can offset the premium increase in full.
To offset these increases, a one-time Medisave top-up of up to S$33 per month, was announced in the recent Budget for all Singaporean policy holders to help cushion the impact of the increase.
Mr Gan said: "As part of the MediShield changes, we will have to update our premiums in line with claims experience to keep the scheme solvent. As Medishield premiums are set to be sustainable for a five-year period and the last increase was in 2008, we are due for the next update soon.
"The premiums need to be adequate to sustain MediShield members' claims and to fund future liabilities under the scheme. On the whole, MediShield has paid out 21 per cent more in claims each year between 2008 and 2011, which benefits policyholders, while the premiums collected grew by only 10 per cent per annum."
The insurance scheme will also see its coverage extended from age 85 to 90.
Mr Gan said given the longer life expectancy today, this will ensure that Singaporeans will be covered for most of their lives.
He added the ministry is cautious about extending coverage beyond 90 as there is a small number of policyholders in this age group with a high risk of claims which would lead to more expensive premiums.
Going forward, the Health Ministry is also studying the feasibility of extending MediShield to cover other vulnerable groups such as children with congenital and neonatal conditions.
MP for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC Janil Puthucheary said: "If part of the current policy for excluding these children is that these children are not expected to survive, the policy has not kept up with advances in medical science."
Mr Gan said: "By covering congenital and neonatal conditions under MediShield, we would be able to reduce parents' financial burden and give them greater peace of mind.
"But doing so will also impact the MediShield premium that they would have to pay for their children at the younger ages. We hope to avoid the situation where some parents who expect their children to be healthy choose to opt out of the scheme and apply for insurance coverage for them only later to avoid the higher premium, which could undermine the scheme over time."