Sunday 1 November 2015

MediShield Life coverage starts 1 November 2015

All will be able to afford MediShield Life premiums: Gan Kim Yong
Health Minister offers reassurance on costs as scheme covering 3.9 million Singaporeans, PRs kicks in
By Linette Lai, The Sunday Times, 1 Nov 2015

Everyone will be able to afford their MediShield Life premiums, promised Health Minister Gan Kim Yong.

Those who still cannot pay after getting initial government subsidies can apply for additional ones, he said. And as a last resort, they can go to him and his ministry for help. "If all the other schemes are still not enough, write to the Minister for Health," Mr Gan said. "We will look at it, case by case.

"It is our policy to make sure that everyone can afford MediShield Life, and that it will always cover every Singaporean. That is the basis on which we designed MediShield Life."

He was speaking alongside newly appointed Minister of State for Health Chee Hong Tat yesterday at a dialogue with about 400 grassroots leaders to familiarise them with the compulsory insurance scheme.

From midnight yesterday, 3.9 million Singaporeans and permanent residents automatically came under the new scheme, which was first announced two years ago during Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's National Day Rally speech.

This number includes around 340,000 people who were not insured under the old MediShield.

Insurance coverage now lasts from birth to death, rather than stopping at age 92. Claim limits for hospital bills and certain outpatient treatments are higher, and the lifetime cap of $300,000 people can claim under MediShield has been lifted.

Mr Chee said the new MediShield Life is part of a larger government effort to ensure that the cost of healthcare at all levels - from GPs to polyclinics and hospitals - remains within reach for Singaporeans.

"I think all of us would agree that no matter what kind of schemes we put in to support people who fall sick, the better thing to do is to stay healthy," he said. "But people still do fall sick. How do we give Singaporeans the peace of mind that quality healthcare services will be accessible and affordable?"

Premiums will be higher under MediShield Life because of the expanded coverage. However, two out of three people will enjoy a permanent subsidy of between 15 per cent and 50 per cent on their premiums.

On top of that, anyone who has to pay premiums that are higher than their MediShield premiums will get 90 per cent of the difference covered by the transitional subsidy in the first year, meaning that they have to pay only 10 per cent more.

This subsidy falls to 70 per cent in the second year, and subsequently to 40 per cent in the third and to 20 per cent in the fourth year, before being phased out.

As for the Pioneer Generation, or Singaporeans aged 65 or older last year, the Government will pay 40 per cent to 60 per cent of premiums.

At yesterday's dialogue session, many questions were raised on the affordability of the new scheme, especially for the lower-income group.

Grassroots leaders also asked for clarifications on private Integrated Shield Plans (IPs), which provide better coverage that builds on what MediShield - and now MediShield Life - cover. These plans are offered by AIA, Aviva, NTUC Income, Great Eastern and Prudential.

Premiums are often significantly higher for IPs, although people can pay them using Medisave up to a certain limit. Mr Gan said of the cap: "We cannot allow Medisave to be used for the full amount. The reason is because Medisave is primarily designed for subsidised care."

At my 2013 National Day Rally, I said we would revamp MediShield to give Singaporeans more peace of mind and help manage...
Posted by Lee Hsien Loong on Sunday, November 1, 2015

"The Ministry of Health has been working with many parties to prepare for the MediShield Life roll-out tomorrow," says Health Minister Gan Kim Yong. The national health insurance plan which covers all Singaporeans, including those with pre-existing conditions, will kick in on the 1st of November.
Posted by 938LIVE on Saturday, October 31, 2015

MOH to continue tackling MediShield Life concerns
It will explore ways to educate residents about scheme and answer their questions
By Kok Xing Hui, The Sunday Times, 1 Nov 2015

From a mobile app to grassroots outreach efforts to senior ambassadors going door to door, the Health Ministry will continue to explore ways to educate residents about MediShield Life and address their concerns.

But Health Minister Gan Kim Yong yesterday told around 400 grassroots leaders not to worry if they cannot remember every single detail about the new universal insurance scheme, which kicks in today.

"I also cannot remember all the details," he quipped.

Instead, the most important message is to tell residents not to worry about applying for subsidies, how to calculate their claims and when to pay their premiums.

"These are very complicated processes. That is why we have automated all of them," he said.

Minister for Health, Mr Gan Kim Yong, and Minister of State for Health, Mr Chee Hong Tat, chaired a dialogue session...
Posted by Ministry of Health on Saturday, October 31, 2015

Mr Gan, who was accompanied by Minister of State for Health Chee Hong Tat, was speaking at an hour-long dialogue on MediShield Life yesterday at the Grassroots Club in Ang Mo Kio. When asked if the Government could create a MediShield Life app to help people understand the scheme, Mr Chee said that was a good idea.

"This being such a complex scheme that we are rolling out, and affecting so many people, it is very natural that there will be more questions," Mr Chee said.

But there is a need to reach out to those "who may not be so familiar with technology and Internet".

"So, we will need something like what we did with the Pioneer Generation ambassadors - to go face to face, explain to the uncles and aunties what this is all about so that they have assurance and they understand," he said.

The ambassadors are a group of volunteers who visit senior citizens' homes to explain healthcare benefits they will receive under the Pioneer Generation Package, meant to honour those who have built the nation.

At the first PA Kopi Talk, our grassroots leaders (GRLs) found out more about MediShield Life and shared some commonly asked questions from their residents. Not sure about MediShield Life? Speak to your GRLs now or call 1800-222-3399
Posted by The People's Association on Monday, November 2, 2015

Another grassroots leader asked if those who were hospitalised before today would be covered under MediShield Life. Mr Gan replied that the new scheme will cover only those hospitalised from today.

"We have to have a start date," he explained, adding that the scheme had already been brought forward from December.

He and Mr Chee were also asked which stages of cancer are covered by the new scheme, to which Mr Gan said: "All stages are covered. So regardless of how severe your cancer remissions are, they are all covered by MediShield Life."

Other questions tackled included what happens to pensioners' dependant premiums when their husbands die - wives would have to pay the premiums themselves - and the role of Integrated Shield Plans - which are an add-on to give payouts for higher class wards than MediShield Life.

MediShield Life coverage has kicked in. Here are answers to 101 frequently asked questions:
Posted by The Straits Times on Sunday, November 1, 2015

MediShield Life coverage to kick in at midnight
But patients already warded in hospital by today will be reimbursed under MediShield scheme
By Salma Khalik, Senior Health Correspondent, The Straits Times, 31 Oct 2015

Any resident who is warded in hospital from midnight tonight will be covered under the new compulsory health insurance MediShield Life, which will take care of a larger portion of big medical bills than MediShield, to be replaced by the new scheme at that point.

However, patients already in hospital by today will be reimbursed under MediShield and not the new scheme, even if they are discharged after the handover deadline.

The difference in coverage can be significant. For example, MediShield pays out up to $450 for daily ward and treatment charges, while MediShield Life will pay out up to $700.

While the deductible - the initial amount a patient has to pay before insurance kicks in - remains the same at $1,500 to $3,000 a year, depending on ward class and the patient's age, the co-payment or the patient's share of the rest of the bill falls from 20 per cent to 10 per cent.

The co-payment falls to 3 per cent when the claimable portion of the medical bill tops $10,000 a year. Under MediShield, it was 10 per cent.

The deductible and the co-payment are based on accumulation of bills over a one-year period, and not on each hospitalisation.

While there is a $100,000 limit on claims made in a year, there is no limit on the amount that a person can claim during his lifetime.

The new scheme will cover all 3.9 million Singaporeans and permanent residents from birth till death, unlike the current scheme where coverage stops at the age of 92.

It will also include the 25,000 people already suffering from serious ailments, some of whom will likely make claims under MediShield Life almost immediately.

The insurance will also cover some outpatient treatments, such as kidney dialysis and chemotherapy to treat cancer. But it will not pay for aesthetic or maternity treatments or when injuries are self-inflicted.

Because of the higher coverage, MediShield Life premiums will be higher, but two out of three people will enjoy a subsidy of between 15 per cent and 50 per cent on their premiums.

The Government will also pay 40 per cent to 60 per cent of premiums for pioneers, or Singaporeans who were 65 years or older last year.

Also, anyone who has to pay premiums that are higher than their MediShield premiums will get 90 per cent of the difference covered by the transitional subsidy in the first year - which means they will have to pay only 10 per cent more.

This subsidy falls to 70, 40, 20 and 0 per cent in subsequent years.

Those already covered by either MediShield or a private integrated plan (IP) must pay only the higher premium when their premiums are next due. But they will enjoy the higher coverage from tomorrow.

MediShield Life provides cover for subsidised treatment. Those who want private treatment need additional coverage which is provided by IPs, which automatically include MediShield Life. So people with IPs do not need to do anything.

MediShield Life premiums can be fully covered by Medisave, so no cash payment is needed.

938LIVE Bubble - MediShield Life
STILL UNSURE? It's been 10 days since Medishield Life kicked in, and just to make sure you've got the basics right, we've put together this little primer to bring you the main details. Welcome to the first 938LIVE "Bubble"! Ministry of Health #MediShieldLife
Posted by 938LIVE on Monday, November 9, 2015

Haven't got MediShield Life letter? Don't worry
Letters on new premium will be sent only when current premium is due for renewal
By Salma Khalik, Senior Health Correspondent, The Sunday Times, 10 Nov 2015

The new compulsory health insurance, MediShield Life, kicked in on Nov 1, but people still have many questions about the scheme.

The Straits Times has received queries from readers who were concerned that they have not received letters about the higher premiums they have to pay with the start of MediShield Life, though their friends or family have received them.

Many wanted to know if they are entitled to subsidies and, if so, how much; some asked if they can drop their other health insurance, as they do not want double coverage.

Mrs Susan Ow, 65, asked: "My sister has received a letter about her new MediShield Life premium, but I haven't. Do I need to inform anyone to get MediShield Life cover?"

Mr Hadir Hassan, 71, asked if he should give up his integrated plan to avoid double coverage.

MediShield Life, which provides universal coverage, replaces the previous MediShield that covers most people, including everyone who is on a private integrated plan (IP) offered by five insurance firms here. These plans will automatically include the new MediShield Life.

But those who have yet to receive a letter on the premiums need not worry. They will receive a letter on their new premium only when their IP or MediShield premium is due for renewal. This can be anytime up to Oct 31 next year. It does not matter whether one has received a letter or not - everyone is covered by MediShield Life from Nov 1.

About two-thirds of the population will be given permanent subsidies that range from 15 to 50 per cent of the new premiums. Anyone with a household per capita income of $2,600 or less - such as families of four with a total income of $10,400 or less - living in property with annual values of $21,000 or less, will enjoy these permanent subsidies.

People living in properties with annual values of more than $21,000 do not get permanent subsidies, even if their household per capita income is very low.

Permanent residents get half the subsidies that Singaporeans get.

However, anyone who needs to pay higher premiums, will enjoy transitional subsidies for the first four years. This subsidy is only for Singaporeans. It pays 90 per cent of the increased amount - or the difference between the new and the old premium - in the first year.

It drops to 70, 40, 20 and then to zero per cent in subsequent years.

MediShield Life premiums can be entirely paid for with Medisave.

Do you live in one of the world's healthiest countries?
Posted by World Economic Forum on Friday, October 30, 2015


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