The new compulsory health insurance, MediShield Life, kicked in on Nov 1, but people still have many questions about the scheme.
The Straits Times has received queries from readers who were concerned that they have not received letters about the higher premiums they have to pay with the start of MediShield Life, though their friends or family have received them.
Many wanted to know if they are entitled to subsidies and, if so, how much; some asked if they can drop their other health insurance, as they do not want double coverage.
Mrs Susan Ow, 65, asked: "My sister has received a letter about her new MediShield Life premium, but I haven't. Do I need to inform anyone to get MediShield Life cover?"
Mr Hadir Hassan, 71, asked if he should give up his integrated plan to avoid double coverage.
MediShield Life, which provides universal coverage, replaces the previous MediShield that covers most people, including everyone who is on a private integrated plan (IP) offered by five insurance firms here. These plans will automatically include the new MediShield Life.
But those who have yet to receive a letter on the premiums need not worry. They will receive a letter on their new premium only when their IP or MediShield premium is due for renewal. This can be anytime up to Oct 31 next year. It does not matter whether one has received a letter or not - everyone is covered by MediShield Life from Nov 1.
About two-thirds of the population will be given permanent subsidies that range from 15 to 50 per cent of the new premiums. Anyone with a household per capita income of $2,600 or less - such as families of four with a total income of $10,400 or less - living in property with annual values of $21,000 or less, will enjoy these permanent subsidies.
People living in properties with annual values of more than $21,000 do not get permanent subsidies, even if their household per capita income is very low.
Permanent residents get half the subsidies that Singaporeans get.
However, anyone who needs to pay higher premiums, will enjoy transitional subsidies for the first four years. This subsidy is only for Singaporeans. It pays 90 per cent of the increased amount - or the difference between the new and the old premium - in the first year.
It drops to 70, 40, 20 and then to zero per cent in subsequent years.
MediShield Life premiums can be entirely paid for with Medisave.
This article was first published on Nov 10, 2015.
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