Pensioners assured they will not lose current medical benefits

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean.
PHOTO: Pensioners assured they will not lose current medical benefits

SINGAPORE - Government pensioners need not fear that MediShield Life offers them fewer benefits than their current medical coverage schemes, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said yesterday.

Following a call in Parliament by Workers' Party MP Png Eng Huat (Hougang) for pensioners to be exempted from the new universal health-care scheme, Mr Teo dismissed the need for that.

He assured pensioners that after they move to MediShield Life, they will continue to receive all the benefits they currently enjoy.

The Government will also pay for their MediShield Life premiums, said Mr Teo, who is also Home Affairs Minister and Minister in charge of the civil service.

Most importantly, even after the pensioners die, their spouses will continue to be covered by the health-care scheme - a perk they would not have had under their old medical benefits schemes.

In his speech, Mr Png had referred to a news report stating that some pensioners now receive medical benefits superior to those offered by MediShield Life.

"How would MediShield Life be better for these pensioners when the Public Service Division has acknowledged that it is not?" Mr Png asked. "And why would the Government want to go to great lengths to match the benefits of Medishield Life with what the pensioners are currently receiving when a simple solution is to let them remain status quo?"

Mr Teo replied that the issue had already been addressed in Parliament previously, and that pensioners have been told of the benefits they will receive. He asked Mr Png to reassure pensioners instead of causing anxiety by "raising issues which are not true".

Mr Png countered that the elements of the government pension plan highlighted in his speech were based in fact."I just want to seek clarification - if pensioners were to go on MediShield Life, are they going to be expecting the same kind of (benefits)?"

Mr Teo replied that the answer as: "Yes, unequivocally yes."

He added: "I hope that the member, instead of raising red herrings, will help to reassure pensioners of this."

This article was first published on January 30, 2015.
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