Update household details for MediShield Life

Update household details for MediShield Life

The start date for MediShield Life has not been announced but already, the Government is urging those who will be covered under the universal health insurance scheme to update their household information.

Subsidies for individuals will be decided using this information.

Government data is only accurate if it is up to date, Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor said in Parliament on Thursday when the scheme was passed.

"For example, we only know the latest address on your NRIC, and would not know if you have moved if you do not tell us," she said.

A married woman who has recently moved from her parents' bungalow into a Housing Board flat, for example, could receive lower subsidies than she ought to be getting.

Premium subsidies are determined by government records of the annual value of a person's residence, as well as his monthly per capita household income.

Those with the same NRIC address will be treated as part of the same household.

Those who need to update their addresses can do so at police posts or the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority, with relevant supporting documents.

HDB home dwellers with tenants sharing their flat should also update tenant records online with the Housing Board.

Another point to give thought to is whether individuals want to allow the Government access to their medical records.

These refer to existing records in government databases, including those used to process claims from public and private medical institutions.

These records are needed to determine if a person has a pre-existing medical condition which would mean higher premiums.

"With these checks, the vast majority of Singaporeans will not have to step forward to undergo further health assessments," said Minister of State for Health Lam Pin Min in Parliament.

Those who decline to give access to their information will be charged higher premiums.

On the ground, details about the new scheme were still not clear to some. Mr Joel Ong, 69, felt there have been "too many details (on MediShield Life) to digest at one go".

"It would be good if the Government sends us brochures, so we can keep it and read it in our own time," said Mr Ong, who works as a packer.

But another was glad that MediShield Life would be taking a less stringent approach than private insurers when it came to medical conditions.

Mr Seow Min Fook was excluded from a range of conditions in private insurers' policies on the basis of his high cholesterol and thyroid issues. "I always do my annual medical check-ups, so I'm confident my conditions are under control," said the 70-year- old retired project manager.

"But (my insurers) say if you have high cholesterol, you're excluded for anything to do with heart problems. In that sense, MediShield Life is better than private insurance for me."

linettel@sph.com.sg

kashc@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on January 31, 2015.
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