As part of its regular review to ensure the effectiveness of the MediShield scheme, the Ministry of Health (MOH) will be introducing a number of measures to enhance MediShield coverage.
2. The last round of adjustments to MediShield was made in 2008. Since then, MediShield claims have increased, both in terms of the number of claims and the average payout per policy holder. The number of claims per policy holder has increased by 9% per year while the average payout per policy holder has risen by about 12% per year. These are mainly due to our larger and ageing population, greater awareness and use of medical services, higher costs associated with new and improved medical technology and treatments, and general medical inflation of about 3% per annum.
3. After extensive consultations with industry experts, MOH intends to make the following adjustments to provide better coverage and protection for MediShield policy-holders:
(a) Increase the policy year limit from $50,000 to $70,000;
(b) Increase lifetime limits from $200,000 to $300,000, to better cover patients with exceptionally large bills;
(c) Extend MediShield coverage to include short-stay wards in the Emergency Departments;
(d) Extend MediShield coverage to members up to 90 years of age; and,
(e) Extend MediShield to cover inpatient psychiatric treatment;
4. With the extended coverage and payouts, coupled with higher claims experience, some adjustments to MediShield premiums are expected. For the vast majority of policy-holders, the increase in premiums will be less than $10 per month. At the same time, there will be a moderate increase in Class C/B2 deductibles to maintain the scheme’s focus on large bills and ensure affordability of premiums.
5. The Government is committed to keeping MediShield premiums affordable, and will continue to help the low and middle-income Singaporeans cope with the rise in premiums. We have done so through the following ways:
(a) A one-time Medisave top-up of up to $400 will be given to help Singaporeans defray the cost of premium increases; and,
(b) The continued provision of assistance for the elderly through Medifund Silver and other means.
The Government has also introduced an annual Medisave top-up under the permanent GST Voucher Scheme, which will help our elderly with medical expenses.
6. For Singaporeans aged 65 and below, the impact of the premium increase will be no more than $5 per month in the next two years due to additional government support given as part of Budget 2012. For the elderly, their premiums will be largely offset by the annual and one-time Medisave top-ups, and they will even see a decrease in premiums payable. Overall, the Government will ensure that MediShield premiums will continue to remain affordable even for the lower-income.
7. MOH is also considering extending MediShield coverage to include congenital and neonatal conditions to help support disadvantaged groups in our society. With this, all future Singaporean babies will be covered throughout their lifetime, from birth, so long as they do not opt out. This will give those intending to start families a greater peace of mind.
8. We will launch a public consultation from 18 July to 15 August to gather feedback on the proposal to make Medishield more inclusive. As public views on MediShield coverage for congenital and neo-natal conditions have been mixed so far, MOH would like to seek public feedback on this. Please refer to the Public Consultation paper on Enhancing MediShield Coverage and Benefits for more details.
9. All feedback on MediShield should reach the Ministry by 15 Aug 2012. The public can give us their feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org or send their comments to:
“Feedback on MediShield”
Ministry of Health
College of Medicine Building
16 College Road
Fax: 6224 1677
10. The public can also visit the REACH website for a copy of the public consultation paper.