MOH to continue tackling MediShield Life concerns

From a mobile app to grassroots outreach efforts to senior ambassadors going door to door, the Health Ministry will continue to explore ways to educate residents about MediShield Life and address their concerns.

But Health Minister Gan Kim Yong yesterday told around 400 grassroots leaders not to worry if they cannot remember every single detail about the new universal insurance scheme, which kicks in today.

"I also cannot remember all the details," he quipped.

Instead, the most important message is to tell residents not to worry about applying for subsidies, how to calculate their claims and when to pay their premiums.

"These are very complicated processes. That is why we have automated all of them," he said.

Mr Gan, who was accompanied by Minister of State for Health Chee Hong Tat, was speaking at an hour-long dialogue on MediShield Life yesterday at the Grassroots Club in Ang Mo Kio. When asked if the Government could create a MediShield Life app to help people understand the scheme, Mr Chee said that was a good idea.

"This being such a complex scheme that we are rolling out, and affecting so many people, it is very natural that there will be more questions," Mr Chee said.

But there is a need to reach out to those "who may not be so familiar with technology and Internet".

"So, we will need something like what we did with the Pioneer Generation ambassadors - to go face to face, explain to the uncles and aunties what this is all about so that they have assurance and they understand," he said.

The ambassadors are a group of volunteers who visit senior citizens' homes to explain healthcare benefits they will receive under the Pioneer Generation Package, meant to honour those who have built the nation.

Another grassroots leader asked if those who were hospitalised before today would be covered under MediShield Life. Mr Gan replied that the new scheme will cover only those hospitalised from today.

"We have to have a start date," he explained, adding that the scheme had already been brought forward from December.

He and Mr Chee were also asked which stages of cancer are covered by the new scheme, to which Mr Gan said: "All stages are covered. So regardless of how severe your cancer remissions are, they are all covered by MediShield Life."

Other questions tackled included what happens to pensioners' dependant premiums when their husbands die - wives would have to pay the premiums themselves - and the role of Integrated Shield Plans - which are an add-on to give payouts for higher class wards than MediShield Life.

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