Fog of confusion over MediShield Life

PHOTO: Fog of confusion over MediShield Life

SINGAPORE - Despite getting extensive airing in public over the last few weeks, many Singaporeans are still lost when it comes to the details of MediShield Life.

The niggling questions? Integrated shield plans (IPs) and how they will work together with the national health insurance.

Grassroots leaders raised questions yesterday on how their IPs will be affected by enhancements to the national health-care scheme at an engagement session which was aimed at enhancing public awareness of the country's health-care system.

The dialogue is the second of 15 sessions organised by the Ministry of Health and the People's Association over a three-month period to better explain to people how MediShield Life will work when it kicks in at the end of next year.

Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor, who co-chaired the session, said many participants did not understand that IPs consist of two components - MediShield and the top-up portion.

Similarly, they are also unaware that premiums collected are divided into two, and go to the Central Provident Fund Board (CPF) and the private insurers for the two components, respectively.

Some asked if they should terminate their IPs while others seemed to think they would lose out on the enhancements that come with MediShield Life.

"In fact, all IP policyholders will benefit from MediShield Life because they will be covered for life with MediShield Life and for all conditions, including pre-existing conditions, even if they are excluded from current IPs," said Dr Khor.

"And they will have greater peace of mind because when MediShield Life is implemented, they will continue to have coverage at the basic level even if they drop out from the IPs or have exclusions under the IPs."

Dr Khor had said in Parliament that more has to be done to explain the technical details of MediShield Life to Singaporeans and also to clear any misconceptions.

Outreach efforts will be ramped up in the coming months through advertorials and interstitials, collaterals and online platforms.

Other questions that surfaced at the dialogue were whether the permanent subsidies which will be provided by the Government will be sustainable and whether there would be a need to raise taxes in the future.

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said on Wednesday that the Government does not intend to raise taxes to fund the MediShield Life subsidies.

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