MediShield coverage to be extended to 90 years of age

PHOTO: MediShield coverage to be extended to 90 years of age

SINGAPORE - Given the longer life expectancy today, the government will be extending the MediShield coverage from 85 to 90-years of age, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said in Parliament today.

The extension of the coverage will ensure that Singaporeans will be covered by MediShield for most, if not all, of their lives, Mr Gan said.

This is in response to several members of parliament highlighting the challenges faced by the elderly and vulnerable, with particular emphasis on their ability to pay for their health care expenses.

Some MPs requested that the cut off age for Medishield be extended beyond 90 years of age or even be changed to provide lifetime coverage.

Mr Gan stressed that while it is an attractive proposal, the government must be cautious in doing so, as there is limited riskpooling at ages far beyond life expectancy.

The current life expectancy stands at 82, and the number of Singaporeans reaching beyond this remains quite a small pool.

The small number of policyholders in these age groups, combined with the significantly higher risk of claims, means that premiums will likely be expensive and unaffordable for many, with some dropping out of the scheme.

Nonetheless, his ministry will study how they can help those above 90 in other ways, Mr Gan said.