Updated: 11/28/2013 17:35

Affordability of MediShield Life tops concerns at first public consultation

Affordability of MediShield Life tops concerns at first public consultation

While Singaporeans generally support the enhanced benefits of MediShield Life, many are concerned about its affordability.

The MediShield Life Review Committee, revealed this following its first public consultation on Wednesday.

The committee added that some did not yet fully understand how the enhanced insurance plan will affect them.

Committee chairman Bobby Chin says he's very encouraged by the positive responses from the first public consultation at Ren Ci Community Hospital.

More than 50 people took part in the closed-door session, and many of them wanted to know how the premiums and parameters of MediShield Life will affect them personally.

"Generally, a lot of them wants to know more about the plan. It's also a lack of understanding, I think, about what MediShield Life is all about, or even MediShield, for that matter. And that is something MOH and the committee will try to educate and to tell them more about what MediShield Life is all about."

Mr Chin says affordability was among the top concerns. 

He says the participants wanted to know how premiums would change with better coverage and with age, and whether they can pay the premiums without significant out-of-pocket expenditures. 

They also wanted to know how the changes might affect their Medisave accounts.

Mr Chin says some participants were also concerned that MediShield Life may affect Integrated Shield Plans.

"They raised about the high insurance premiums of the Integrated Plan. Can, obviously, can the insurance be moderated? That is something which obviously we would have to engage the insurers and discuss before we can comment on the level of premiums."

Integrated Plans are private plans that offer higher coverage for ward classes above B2.

Mr Chin says the next public consultation will be on the 7th of December. 

His committee has six months to come up with its recommendations.

First announced at this year's National Day Rally, MediShield Life will provide Singaporeans with better coverage for large healthcare bills.

Crucially, it will cover all Singaporeans for life, even those with pre-existing conditions.

The Health Ministry is working on the details of the proposed plan, which will take effect from 20-15.

-By John Yip

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