SINGAPORE - Those who have lingering questions about the new MediShield Life insurance scheme can now head to their nearest community clubs (CCs) for free consultations.
Weekly one-to-one sessions will be held at 39 CCs and residents' committee centres across the island to help explain the new compulsory health insurance scheme.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Chan Chun Sing said on Monday (Nov 2) that these consultations, as opposed to public dialogues, will help residents understand the "more intimate details" of MediShield Life, which replaced MediShield from Sunday.
Mr Chan, who is also MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC and People's Association (PA) deputy chairman, was dropping in on one such consultation session at Tanjong Pagar CC.
He said: "When we do dialogue sessions and broad outreach, they cater to the general public.
"Because of the time limitations it'll be very difficult for residents to ask specific questions about their own cases.
"And some residents would also prefer a bit of privacy when asking their specific questions.
"So such one-to-one consultation is actually a great way to help the residents dispel any of the myths or worries that they might have," he said.
The sessions are held by PA and the Insurance and Financial Practitioners Association of Singapore (Ifpas). They were first piloted in Tanjong Pagar GRC from July, and were on Monday extended to six other group representation constituencies - Ang Mo Kio, Bishan-Toa Payoh, Chua Chu Kang, Marine Parade, Nee Soon and Tampines. They will be rolled out to most CCs in phases by next year.
During these consultations, Ifpas volunteers are not allowed to sell insurance policies, exchange personal contact numbers or promote any particular company's Integrated Shield Plans. PA staff, Ifpas leaders and grassroots volunteers will be on site to ensure that these guidelines are adhered to.
Ifpas president Leong Sow Hoe said more than 1,000 residents have attended their weekly sessions since they were introduced in July.
He noted that residents usually inquire about the difference between MediShield and MediShield Life, whether they should keep their private Integrated Shield Plans and whether they can afford the new premiums.
Most of those who attend the sessions are senior citizens, he added.
"When they come, we take them through things like affordability, the scheme enhancements and premiums. It's very conversational."
Quantity surveyor Nancy Wong, 66, said she found her consultation session on Monday useful.
Said the Tanjong Pagar resident: "We were a bit confused when MediShield Life was first announced.
"I wasn't sure if I should continue with my own private insurance plan. I didn't want any overlaps."
The free sessions will be held every Monday from 7pm to 9.30pm.
Those interested can make appointments at their respective CCs.
This article was first published on Nov 3, 2015.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.