5 Things You Need To Know About MediShield Life

As at 1 November 2015, MediShield Life replaced the existing MediShield as the basic health insurance plan for the country. Since this is relevant to all of us, here are 5 important things about MediShield Life that you should understand.

1.MediShield Life Covers All Singapore Citizens And Permanent Residents (PRs)

All Singaporeans and PRs will automatically be covered under MediShield Life. There is no need for you to apply for it, nor will there be any forms for you to opt out of it.

Since coverage is for all citizens and PRs, there are no exclusions. These include the elderly and those with special needs. It also means that even if you are not able to pay, you do not lose your coverage.

The government will provide various types of subsidies to help those who have difficulties paying the premiums. This includes the Pioneer Generation Subsidies and Medisave top-ups along with the premium subsidies for lower and middle-income families.

Do note however that there is a MediShield Life Scheme Act for the recovery of premiums from wilful defaulters, who deliberately find ways to not pay, even when they can afford to.

2. MediShield Life Covers All Pre-Existing Conditions

Unlike most private insurance plans, all pre-existing conditions will automatically be covered under MediShield Life. Common pre-existing conditions would include cancer, stroke, kidney complications and liver diseases. To ensure affordability for all, the government will step in to subsidise most of the additional costs incurred due to the extension of coverage for pre-existing conditions.

In the spirit of co-payment, individuals who have such conditions would need to pay an additional premium of 30% for 10 years. After 10 years, they would automatically pay the same standard premiums as the rest of the people in their age group.

In our opinion, this is as fair as it gets. No one is discriminated due to pre-existing conditions. At the same time, the government is bearing the initial cost of bringing people with pre-existing conditions into the system with a small co-payment feature included. You can’t argue against this logic.

3. Covers B2 & C Class Wards In Public Hospitals

Similar to the old MediShield, MediShield Life provides coverage for treatment at B2 & C Class wards at public hospitals. Here is an illustration of how a medical bill of $9,000 incurred at a C Class ward may be covered.

Medical Bill of S$9,000

Under MediShield Life

First S$0 to SG$5,000

From S$5,001 – S$10,000

 

Deductible for C Class Ward

Patient pays 10% of the amount

 
 

S$1,500

S$ 3,500 x 10%

S$4,000 x 5%

Patient Pays

* S$1,500

S$350

S$200

* An update was make to the original article published. The deductible for C Class Ward is $1,500, and not $0 as originally published. That means the patient needs to pay the first $1,500 (either through Medisave or Cash). The deductible is only chargeable once a year. 

Click here for more information on the details of MediShield Life coverage.The patient would need to pay $2,050 from his his total bill of $9,000. This $2,050 can be paid either by cash, or through the patient’s Medisave.

4. Complement, Not Substitute, Your Existing Private Integrated Shield Plan

One of the biggest myths that came about from MediShield Life is that people should choose it over their existing private integrated shield plan. This is not true.

Your private integrated shield plan bought with a private insurance company (e.g. NTUC, Great Eastern, Prudential) complements (not replaces) your MediShield Life. A private integrated shield plan sits on top of your MediShield Life. Here is how it works.

You will pay your premiums to your insurance company (e.g. NTUC). This would provide you with coverage for B1/A Class wards and private hospital (depending on exact policy). Part of the premium you pay would already include the premiums for MediShield Life. You don’t need to pay twice.

Do note that pre-existing illnesses, which are covered by MediShield Life, may not necessarily be covered by your integrated shield plan. Details on how this may be managed will be shared in 2016.

Read Also: 3 Myths To Debunk About MediShield Life

5. Different Income Groups Will Pay Different Amount

MediShield Life practises “price discrimination.” This may seem like a crude word for us to be using. However, in an economical sense, price discrimination is actually a good thing.

Price discrimination allows us to charge those who can’t afford health insurance coverage a lower fee, while those who can afford it will pay more. This ensures affordable coverage is provided for all, not just some. When it comes to a common good like health insurance, it works well for the country.

In the same way, MediShield Life will be charging different premiums for individuals based on their household income and home annual value. Of course, there would be different rates for different age groups as well.

Here is table showing the rates as of 2015/2016.

Medishield Life

Source: Ministry Of Health

MediShield Life is one of the main changes this year that will affect all of us, regardless of whether we are interested to find out about it or not. Be sure to educate your families and friends around you on MediShield Life.

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