Thursday 30 April 2015

Expect letters on MediShield Life from May 2015

By Kash Cheong, The Straits Times, 29 Apr 2015

FROM tomorrow, Singapore citizens and permanent residents will receive letters from the Government telling them about MediShield Life and how to update their household information.

These are being sent out to ensure that people do not lose out on subsidies meant to help them cope with higher premiums under the compulsory health insurance scheme.

Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor explained: "Updating your particulars is important as we want to compute premium subsidies based on accurate and up-to-date information in the government database."

It is the first time the Government is using a system of "household eligibility checks" to compute subsidies, instead of having citizens apply for them. Dr Khor asked for the public's "patience and cooperation" in this "massive administrative exercise".

To ensure that MediShield Life premiums are kept affordable, the Government will set aside nearly $4 billion in subsidies over the next five years.

Up to two in three Singapore households, mainly the lower to middle income, will get premium subsidies, aside from transitional subsidies that apply to all Singapore citizens. The premium subsidies are computed based on age, the annual value of the person's residence, household monthly income and whether the person owns multiple properties.

The Government has records of a person's income, address and property ownership from databases such as the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore's (IRAS).

Some people may need to update their government records, for example, those who did not update their identity card addresses when they moved out, or those who have new tenants but did not update their records with the Housing Board.

Each of the Republic's 1.2 million households with Singapore citizens or permanent residents will receive a letter between tomorrow and May 12.

Six out of 10 households will receive "call-to-action" letters, urging them to log on to to check their household particulars. They should do so by the deadline stated in the letter, usually five weeks later, and can log in using their SingPass or a reference number on the top right-hand corner of the letter. They should check their address and revise their household composition based on instructions on the website.

The other households will get letters simply stating what subsidies they will receive. These include households consisting solely of pioneers who will get Pioneer Generation subsidies, or those who updated their means-testing data recently when using a government health scheme. Households that cannot change their details online can do so at 37 selected community clubs islandwide, all SingPost post offices and the service centre at Iras.

The Health Ministry is working with grassroots leaders and voluntary welfare organisations to spread the word on updating household particulars.

If you have received an SMS or whatsapp message which looks like this, here are some facts you need to know about the...
Posted by Ministry of Health on Monday, May 11, 2015

Frequently asked questions

Q: When will I receive my MediShield Life letter?

A: Those living in the south-west will receive letters from tomorrow, followed by residents in the north-west and the south-east next Tuesday. Residents in central Singapore will get their letters on May 8, while residents in the north-east will receive them on May 11. By May 12, all households should have received their letters and they should complete checks by the deadlines stated.

Q: What if I do not want the Government to access my income and property ownership information for MediShield Life?

A: You can opt out of the household eligibility check at But making this choice means you and your household members will not be able to receive the premium subsidies. If you change your mind and would like to opt in, you can do so by calling the MediShield Life hotline on 1800-222-3399.

Q: I did not receive a letter. What should I do?

A: The letter is meant for your whole household. Each household will receive one letter and needs to complete the household check only once. If you did not get a letter, you can still log on to to verify your household data.

Q: What happens after this round of household checks?

A: Re-assessments will occur automatically if the household has newborns, or if any new Singapore citizen or permanent resident joins the household and updates his NRIC address at the police post, or if any member of the household is due for a renewal of means-testing status.

This round of household eligibility checks is valid for two years but you can call the MediShield Life hotline to ensure that a re-assessment is triggered if there are income changes, for example, if a family member gets retrenched.

For all other questions, please call the MediShield Life hotline on 1800-222-3399.

Govt to release pre-existing illnesses that will have higher MediShield Life premiums in July
People with such conditions will pay higher premiums
By Salma Khalik, Senior Health Correspondent, The Straits Times, 30 Apr 2015

THE much-awaited list of pre-existing diseases that will require those suffering from these illnesses to pay a 30 per cent higher premium will be announced in July.

The information will be obtained from healthcare institutions but people who do not want the Ministry of Health (MOH) looking into their health status will be given time to opt out of the health assessment.

They will be assumed to have such problems, and have to pay the higher premiums.

The higher premiums do not affect people who are already fully covered by MediShield or an integrated plan, said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong on the sidelines of a tour of the soon-to-be-opened Ng Teng Fong General Hospital yesterday.

When MediShield Life is launched later this year, it will cover everyone for life. So even those who are already chronically or seriously ill, and who might need to draw on the insurance from day one, will be included.

To be fair to the majority who have been paying premiums for many years, these people will have to pay 30 per cent higher premiums for 10 years, after which they will pay the same as other people in their age band.

Mr Gan said that MOH will try not to impose the penalty premium on those with less severe pre-existing medical conditions, adding that the ministry will err on the side of compassion.

According to MOH, those who will need to pay the higher premiums are likely to be people with cancer, kidney failure, stroke and heart diseases. These are medical conditions that "require intensive medical intervention to treat or manage; or have high risk of future complications or recurrence, and therefore may require prolonged treatment".

Mr Gan said people who need to pay the higher amount will be told, and "if they wish, they can appeal and we will consider the appeal on a case-by-case basis". The important thing now, he said, is for people to check their household incomes when they receive their letters next month, to ensure that they receive the subsidy they are entitled to.

Two in three households - those with a per capita household income of $2,600 or less and living in homes with annual values of below $21,000 - will receive 15 per cent to 50 per cent subsidies to help them pay the higher premiums for MediShield Life.

"Even if your address is correct, it would be helpful for you to go in to double-check," he said.

* Deadline for MediShield Life subsidy checks is up
By Lester Hio, The Straits Times, 24 Jun 2015

THERE will be no further extensions to the deadline for households to confirm and update their information for the calculation of MediShield Life subsidies, said Senior Minister of State for Health and Manpower Amy Khor.

This is because the Ministry of Health (MOH) has to start computing subsidies before the compulsory health insurance scheme is rolled out at the end of the year.

Dr Khor was speaking to reporters yesterday at a youth dialogue organised by MOH and the People's Association Youth Movement on MediShield Life.

MOH started the household check exercises last month to ensure the correct subsidies are computed for households facing higher premiums under MediShield Life.

The ministry had previously extended the deadline for households to update their information from June 19 to yesterday.

As of last night, 56 per cent of about 740,000 households asked to complete household checks for MediShield Life have responded, said Dr Khor. 

"For those who missed the deadline, they need not worry," said Dr Khor. "They will still be able to receive the premium subsidies which will be computed based on existing records if they are eligible."

She said 85 per cent, or more than eight in 10, of those who responded had accurate information that did not have to be amended.

"We expect that most of the other 44 per cent of those who did not update their data would have accurate information as well," she said.

The dialogue, which was held at People's Association headquarters in King George's Avenue, drew about 150 youth who asked Dr Khor about MediShield Life-related issues such as the reasons for increased premiums.


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