From tomorrow, Singapore citizens and permanent residents will receive letters from the Government telling them about MediShield Life and how to update their household information.
These are being sent out to ensure that people do not lose out on subsidies meant to help them cope with higher premiums under the compulsory health insurance scheme.
Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor explained: "Updating your particulars is important as we want to compute premium subsidies based on accurate and up-to-date information in the government database."
It is the first time the Government is using a system of "household eligibility checks" to compute subsidies, instead of having citizens apply for them. Dr Khor asked for the public's "patience and co-operation" in this "massive administrative exercise".
To ensure that MediShield Life premiums are kept affordable, the Government will set aside nearly $4 billion in subsidies over the next five years.
Up to two in three Singapore households, mainly the lower to middle income, will get premium subsidies, aside from transitional subsidies that apply to all Singapore citizens. The premium subsidies are computed based on age, the annual value of the person's residence, household monthly income and whether the person owns multiple properties.
The Government has records of a person's income, address and property ownership from databases such as the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore's (Iras).
Some people may need to update their government records, for example, those who did not update their identity card addresses when they moved out, or those who have new tenants but did not update their records with the Housing Board.
Each of the Republic's 1.2 million households with Singapore citizens or permanent residents will receive a letter between tomorrow and May 12.
Six out of 10 households will receive "call-to-action" letters, urging them to log on to www.medishieldlife.sg to check their household particulars. They should do so by the deadline stated in the letter, usually five weeks later, and can log in using their SingPass or a reference number on the top right-hand corner of the letter. They should check their address and revise their household composition based on instructions on the website.
The other households will get letters simply stating what subsidies they will receive. These include households consisting solely of pioneers who will get Pioneer Generation subsidies, or those who updated their means-testing data recently when using a government health scheme. Households that cannot change their details online can do so at 37 selected community clubs islandwide, all SingPost post offices and the service centre at Iras.
The Health Ministry is working with grassroots leaders and voluntary welfare organisations to spread the word on updating household particulars.
Frequently asked questions
Q: When will I receive my MediShield Life letter?
A: Those living in the south-west will receive letters from tomorrow, followed by residents in the north-west and the south-east next Tuesday. Residents in central Singapore will get their letters on May 8, while residents in the north-east will receive them on May 11. By May 12, all households should have received their letters and they should complete checks by the deadlines stated.
Q: What if I do not want the Government to access my income and property ownership information for MediShield Life?
A: You can opt out of the household eligibility check at www.medishieldlife.sg. But making this choice means you and your household members will not be able to receive the premium subsidies. If you change your mind and would like to opt in, you can do so by calling the MediShield Life hotline on 1800-222-3399.
Q: I did not receive a letter. What should I do?
A: The letter is meant for your whole household. Each household will receive one letter and needs to complete the household check only once. If you did not get a letter, you can still log on to www.medishieldlife.sg to verify your household data.
Q: What happens after this round of household checks?
A: Re-assessments will occur automatically if the household has newborns, or if any new Singapore citizen or permanent resident joins the household and updates his NRIC address at the police post, or if any member of the household is due for a renewal of means-testing status.
This round of household eligibility checks is valid for two years but you can call the MediShield Life hotline to ensure that a re-assessment is triggered if there are income changes, for example, if a family member gets retrenched.
For all other questions, please call the MediShield Life hotline on 1800-222-3399.
This article was first published on April 29, 2015.
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