SINGAPORE: MediShield, the insurance scheme which covers mainly large medical bills, will be tweaked from March next year to provide better coverage for the elderly.
This comes after the Ministry of Health received largely positive feedback after a public consultation in July and August to make MediShield more inclusive.
The ministry will raise the Medisave withdrawal limit for MediShield and Integrated Shield Plans to fully cover basic premiums.
Those who are between 76 and 80 years old can withdraw a bigger amount of S$1,000 instead of the current S$800.
Those who are above 80 years old can withdraw up to S$1,200, up from current S$1,150.
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a community event on Friday, said the changes will allow more people, especially the elderly, to use Medisave to pay for premiums.
"The withdrawal limits today may not be enough and some of them may have to fork out cash in order to pay for the premiums. That’s why we adjusted the withdrawal limit so that most of them will not need to fork out additional cash. They will be able to tap on the Medisave up to the limit to pay for the MediShield," said Mr Gan.
The ministry will scrap the MediShield maximum entry age of 75 and increase the maximum age coverage to 90 to enable those who are healthy but not insured to be covered.
It will consider extending coverage to congenital and neonatal conditions to better support healthcare costs for children.
This will form part of ongoing discussions at the Singapore Conversation and the ministry will study this issue carefully when the review is complete.
Other adjustments include extending the coverage to inpatient psychiatric treatment at S$100 per day and short—stay wards in Emergency Departments.
The deductibles for Class C and B2 bills will also be adjusted. These will be increased from S$1,000 to S$1,500 for Class C bills, and S$1,500 to S$2,000 for Class B2 bills.
The deductible is the amount of a hospital bill that patients have to pay before claiming insurance.
With the enhancements, Singaporeans will have to pay more for their MediShield premiums.
But the government will help to offset the increase with a one—off Medisave top—up of up to S$400 next March.
With the top—up, premiums will rise by no more than S$10 a month, while those aged 65 and below will see an increase of S$5 or less for the next two years.
With annual and one—off Medisave top—ups, MOH says the elderly will in fact be paying less for their MediShield premiums.
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