Singapore

MediShield Life premium payment deferred for some policy holders

MediShield Life policy holders who do not have sufficient MediSave balances will have their premium payment deferred until the end of December next year, the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced yesterday.

This comes as premiums are set to rise by up to 35 per cent next year under the first major review of the national health insurance programme since its launch in 2015.

MOH said the Government has accepted all the recommendations of the MediShield Life Council, which began reviewing the scheme in 2018.

The changes will take effect in March next year and raise the annual policy claim limit by $50,000 to $150,000, among other expanded benefits.

Treatments for attempted suicide, drug addiction and alcoholism will also be included under the mandatory basic health insurance plan.

The Government has previously said it will provide premium subsidies and support of up to $2.2 billion over the next three years.

This includes $1.8 billion for existing premium subsidies and support measures for lower and middle-income households, Pioneer Generation and Merdeka Generation seniors, as well as the financially needy.

The ministry said annual MediSave top-ups for Pioneer Generation seniors, which can be used to pay MediShield Life premiums, will be enhanced.

The financially needy can also apply for additional premium support, added MOH.

The support will also include a one-off Covid-19 subsidy for all Singapore citizens for two years to cushion the impact of premium adjustments during the pandemic.

This $360 million subsidy will cover 70 per cent of the net increase in premiums after taking into account existing subsidies in the first year, followed by 30 per cent in the second year.

Commenting on the changes, Minister for Health Gan Kim Yong said yesterday: "MediShield Life was created to ensure that Singaporeans would be protected against large hospital bills for life.

"To ensure that the scheme can continue to be relevant and sustainable, the Government has accepted the MediShield Life Council's recommendations to enhance the scheme and adjust the premiums."

MEDICAL & HEALTH