Those with integrated plans cheer new rule

Those with integrated plans cheer new rule
PHOTO: The Straits Times

With the new Additional Withdrawal Limit (AWL), seniors like Mr Chua Hock Guan, 78, can potentially save hundreds of dollars on out- of-pocket expenses towards their integrated plan (IP) premiums.

IP policyholders in his age group can use up to $900 from Medisave to pay the premiums on their private insurance plans.

"It definitely makes a difference to retirees. If I can save $500, I can use the money to buy food for a month," said Mr Chua, who lives alone.

Younger Singaporeans have also received the announcement well.

Business owner Agnes Goh, 52, welcomes the AWL in view of the higher premium for MediShield Life over the current MediShield premium. "I was a bit concerned about the higher price for MediShield Life at first, but it's a good thing that the withdrawal amount for private insurance is capped separately," said Mrs Goh, who has a policy with NTUC Income.

"As long as we're paying less in cash, this is good for everyone, even if it's a small reduction."

For Mr Foo Siang Kin, 55, the AWL means more freedom to choose private insurance policies that best suit his family's needs.

"When my wife had to be hospitalised, she was warded in a Class C ward. Not only did the policy cover the costs, but we also had extra cash left over after the claims," said the taxi driver, who has policies under NTUC Income for himself, his wife and their two children.

Mr Foo added that while the new AWL will ease the burden on the thousands of dollars he forks out for his family's premiums, he does not see it as a handout. As a non-salaried worker, he does not receive employer contributions to his Central Provident Fund account.

"After all, as a cabby, I have to top up the Medisave account myself. So I'm still paying out cash from my pocket every year," he lamented.

For those people below 40, the benefits from the AWL may not be as significant, but they were still seen as improvements.

Pastry chef Lester Heng, 34, holds policies from AIA and Prudential on top of his MediShield coverage. "I feel it doesn't really make a lot of difference to me since the amount I pay isn't that much, but any increase in the Medisave portion is still better," he said.

This article was first published on July 10, 2015.
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