SINGAPORE - All Singaporeans will get a generous helping hand when the country launches the compulsory MediShield Life insurance scheme next year.
Without this help in the shape of government subsidies, the scheme might not take off at all.
That is because not everyone will be able to afford to pay the annual premiums, which are expected to be significantly higher than premiums for the basic MediShield, which is the current national health insurance scheme.
Most seniors will also find it tough to pay the higher cost.
Today, the highest MediShield premium is $1,190 for people aged 89 years.
For those who are over 90 years old, the premiums could easily be double that, or even more.
The Government has promised three levels of help:
The Pioneer Generation Package for Singaporeans aged 65 years and older, which includes the Government picking up 40 to 60 per cent of annual MediShield Life premiums.
Some subsidy for everyone for the first few years, to give them time to build up their Medisave accounts which can be used to pay the premiums.
Medisave contributions will go up by one percentage point, so people will have more savings for their health-care needs.
The Government will pay for those who still cannot afford the premiums. This group can also turn to Medifund, the health-care safety net, for their share of medical bills, including for outpatient visits.
This article was published on April 14 in The Straits Times.Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.