MediShield Life: How to make the right choice (Part 1)

What to look out for if you want enhanced coverage with integrated plans

Choosing comfort over costs in IPs

Come Nov 1, MediShield Life will be launched for all Singaporeans and permanent residents (PRs), providing welcome protection for them against medical bills for life, regardless of age or health condition.MediShield Life replaces

MediShield, a hospitalisation and surgical (H&S) insurance plan that covers patients in class B2/C wards in public hospitals.

The cover under MediShield Life is automatic and will include those currently covered by MediShield, private H&S plans, the uninsured, and those with pre-existing medical conditions.

This is a welcome enhancement as the MediShield scheme excluded pre-existing conditions and the coverage was only till the age of 92.

Like MediShield, MediShield Life is targeted at class B2/C coverage. 

Benefits of MediShield Life and IPs

Benefits MediShield Life targeting B2/C wards of public hospitals IPs targeting A wards of public hospitals IPs targeting private hospitals
Inpatient Treatment      
Normal Ward $700 per day As charged As charged
Intensive care unit ward $1,200 per day As charged As charged
Community hospital $350 per day As charged¹ As charged¹
Surgical procedures $200 – $2,000    
Outpatient Treatment   As charged As charged
Chemotherapy for cancer $3,000 per month As charged As charged
Radiotherapy (external orsuperficial) $140 per session As charged As charged
Radiotherapy (Brachytherapy) $500 per session As charged As charged
Stereotactic radiotherapy for cancer $1,800 per session As charged As charged
Immunotherapy for cancer Not covered As charged As charged
Renal dialysis $1,000 per month As charged As charged
Erythropoietin and other drugs approved under MediShield Life for chronic renal failure $200 per month As charged As charged
Cyclosporin or Tacrolimusand other drugs approved under MediShield Life for organ transplant $200 per month As charged As charged
Maximum Claims Limits      
Per Policy Year $100,000 Ranging from $400,000 to $500,000 Ranging from $600,000 to $700,000
Lifetime No limit No limit No limit
Others      
Annual deductible $1,500 to $3,000 $1,500 to $5,250 $1,500 to $5,250
Co-insurance 3% to 10% 10% 10%
Pre & post hospitalization expense reimbursement Not covered As charged² As charged²
Emergency hospitalization outside Singapore Not covered As charged³ As charged³

¹ Depending on insurer , coverage is up to a certain number of days for each admission or for each policy year

² Depending on insurer , coverage is up to a certain number of days (ranging from 90 – 180 days) before admission and after discharge

³ The lower of overseas charges or in accordance with Singapore restructured/ private hospital



NOTES:

1. Comparison is based on IP insurers’ current available plans.

2. If the insured is admitted into a ward and medical institution higher than his entitlement, the insurer will pay the percentage of the applicable expenses for medical treatment using the pro-ration factor that applies to the plan.

3. B1 plans are not included in the table as IP insurers are currently developing a standard B1 IP.

Source: LIFE INSURANCE ASSOCIATION (information correct as at Aug 25)


But it provides better protection by having higher limits for inpatient treatment, day surgery and outpatient cancer treatment, higher cancer limits, no lifetime limit and lower overall co-insurance, while maintaining the same deductible. This means MediShield Life will pay more of the hospital bill.

Every household should have received a MediShield booklet by this month, which provides information on MediShield Life, its benefits, premiums and subsidies.

It also explains how Integrated Shield Plans (IPs) work and how the Additional Withdrawal Limits will work. Today, about six in 10 Singaporeans have IPs.

The Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board is the administrator of MediShield Life on behalf of the Ministry of Health (MOH).

The MediShield Life hotline is 1800-222-3399 and the website is www.medishieldlife.sg


How much will MediShield Life cost?

With better benefits, MediShield Life will come at a higher cost than MediShield, ranging from a small 11 per cent rise for older people to a trebling of premiums for young adults.

For example, for a person aged between 31 and 40, the annual MediShield Life premiums would be $310, up from $105 under MediShield.

But help is at hand for various segments of the population.

To help pay your premiums, the Government will provide support via premium subsidies for lower- to middle-income households, Transitional Subsidies for all Singapore citizens, Pioneer Generation premium subsidies and additional premium support for the needy. 


Premium Subsidies 

A permanent feature for Singaporeans and PRs, these subsidies are for lower- to middle-income households. However, PRs will receive half the applicable subsidy rates of Singapore citizens.

To be eligible, the criteria are:

  • Household monthly income per person of $2,600 and below;
  • Living in an HDB flat or private housing with annual value of $21,000 and below;
  • Do not own a second property 


Pioneer Generation Subsidies 

Given to all pioneers for life, these Singaporeans will receive subsidies between 40 and 60 per cent, depending on age.

Pioneers will also receive annual Medisave top-ups for life, ranging from $200 to $800 each year. With both the Pioneer Generation Subsidies and Medisave top-ups, all pioneers will pay less for MediShield Life than for MediShield today.


Transitional Subsidies 

Available for the first four years of MediShield Life, Transitional Subsidies are only for Singapore citizens, regardless of household income, annual value of homes and number of properties.

In the first year, Transitional Subsidies will cover 90 per cent of the net increase in premiums, after taking into account other premium subsidies. These subsidies will reduce and cover 70 per cent, 40 per cent and 20 per cent of the net premium increase in the second, third and fourth years respectively.

To check out your estimated MediShield Life premiums and subsidies, use the premium calculator.


Additional Premium Support 

For those who cannot afford their premiums even after subsidies, the Government will provide additional premium support. This will ensure that no one will lose coverage. 


Serious Pre-existing Conditions 

A person may have to pay additional premiums if he has a pre-existing condition – a medical illness that he has before he is covered under MediShield or a private integrated plan. For those with serious pre-existing conditions, a flat additional premium of 30 per cent of life premiums is payable for 10 years to reflect their higher risk.

Examples of these medical illnesses include stroke, cancer, kidney failure and heart diseases.

Details on who or which conditions will be subject to this premium loading will be finalised soon.  

Part 2 of 'Medishield Life: Making the right choice' gives you a better understanding on  what is an Integrated Plan (IP) and how it complements the new policy. 


Source: Sunday Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission

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