The new MediShield Life and what you need to know about it

Recently, the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced enhancements to the MediShield coverage for all Singaporeans and Permanent Residents (PRs).

The new scheme will be named "MediShield Life" and will be launched on 1 Nov 2015.

Here are 5 things you can expect from MediShield Life: 

1.  Coverage for everyone.

MediShield Life will cover all Singaporeans and Permanent Residents, including those with pre-existing conditions. 

2.  Coverage for life.

Currently, lifetime coverage is offered by private insurers via Medisave-approved Integrated Shield Plans (IPs).  By end of 2015, the MediShield (MediShield Life when launched) component will also be extended to lifetime coverage. This is good news since we typically require more healthcare as we get older. 

3.  Increased claim limits.

With rising healthcare costs, the claim limits for MediShield Life will also be increased, helping to reduce the amount you may need to pay by cash or Medisave. But while the claim limits have been increased, there are still limits (you can see some of the limits listed on MOH's website here). 

If you prefer to be covered for the full amount1 that the hospital charges – known in insurance lingo as "as-charged coverage" – as well as enjoy coverage for pre- and post-hospitalisation treatments (which MediShield Life doesn't cover), then you may consider purchasing an IP from an insurer, such as Aviva's MyShield plan

4.  Your co-insurance and deductible will still exist.

Deductible – or excess – is the initial amount you need to pay before the medical cost is covered by MediShield Life. It helps to sieve out small claims, which can be paid using Medisave and/or cash, and helps to keep premiums affordable. This will range from $1,500 to $3,000 depending on your age and ward type.

Co-insurance is the percentage of the bill you need to pay to co-share the bill with MediShield Life. This will range from 3% to 10%, depending on your bill size.

You'll need to ensure you have enough liquid savings to take care of the deductible and co-insurance, in the event of a medical emergency. Alternatively, if you also have an IP, you'll likely be able to purchase an add-on – also known as a rider – to cover the co-insurance and/or deductible portions of the bill as well, minimising your out-of-pocket expenses.

5.  Medishield Life will continue to be integrated with IPs.

Because they're integrated, you only need to pay one premium to your insurer for both components – that is, both MediShield Life and the additional private insurance coverage provided by your insurer. You'll also only need to claim from one party – your insurer – to get reimbursed from both components. From a customer service perspective, this is useful as you'll only need to liaise with one party; your insurer will then do the legwork to coordinate with CPF for the portions claimable under MediShield Life. 

So… What's the role of an IP?

An IP is a Medisave-approved plan made up of two parts: the MediShield Life portion by CPF and additional benefits by the insurer. While MediShield Life will offer greater benefits than the current MediShield, it's still designed to be a basic healthcare insurance scheme to ensure all Singaporeans can afford it. If you'd like even greater coverage, then you'll need an IP to cover that.

The additional coverage that IPs offer can be broadly summarised as follows, depending on your insurer and plan type:

♦  "As charged" coverage for most benefits. This means you'll not be restricted by MediShield Life's claim limits and all eligible expenses can be claimed.

♦  Higher coverage so you have the option to receive treatment at higher wards or private hospitals, and still be covered for the higher costs.

♦  Higher annual claim limits.

♦  Coverage for pre-hospitalisation and post-hospitalisation treatments.

♦  Option to cover co-insurance and/or deductible with a rider.

♦  Other value-added benefits that your insurer may offer. For example, Aviva's MyShield offers discounted premiums for your children till age 20 if both you and your spouse are policyholders1

1 Subject to policy terms and conditions. 

Updated in : June 2017

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