Tripartite working group formed to look into portable benefits built on MediShield Life

Singapore's Minister for Health Gan Kim Yong. A tripartite working group has been formed by the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF), the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and the Government to look into encouraging employers and employees to shift to portable medical benefits built on MediShield Life, said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong on Tuesday.
PHOTO: Tripartite working group formed to look into portable benefits built on MediShield Life

SINGAPORE - A tripartite working group has been formed by the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF), the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and the Government to look into encouraging employers and employees to shift to portable medical benefits built on MediShield Life, said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong on Tuesday.

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Excerpt of Health Minister Gan Kim Yong speech in Parliament today:

"Some have expressed concerns about duplication in coverage, for those with private insurance plans or employer medical benefits. Unlike MediShield Life, other healthcare coverage may not be guaranteed for life. Employees with healthcare coverage from their employers will lose such coverage when they leave employment or retire. For those with other private insurance, they may lose this coverage if they are unable to pay for the premiums when they grow old, and may not be able to re-apply for coverage later if they have already developed some health conditions.

"MediShield Life provides an opportunity for stakeholders - employers and unions - to work together to better assure our workers of lifetime medical coverage, and not just for the duration of their employment.

"The one per cent-point increase in the employer Medisave contribution rate from 2015 will help. But more can be done to encourage both employers and employees to shift to portable medical benefits built on MediShield Life.

"The NTUC has made this suggestion in its submission to the Committee, and I am encouraged that the public service has taken the lead to increase its employer Medisave contribution to public officers, to help them pay for MediShield Life or Integrated Shield Plans that are built upon MediShield Life. I hope more employers and unions will work together to do this for their workers.

"SNEF, NTUC and the Government have formed a tripartite working group to look into this issue, and the Government will also consider strengthening incentives to companies who are willing to provide portable medical benefits that ride on MediShield Life for their employees, as recommended by the Review Committee.

"As a national health insurance scheme, it is essential that MediShield Life remains sustainable in the long run. The Committee has therefore stressed that we must set aside sufficient reserves in the MediShield Life Fund to cater for future liabilities, including long-term recurring claims and future premium rebates that arise from distributing premiums over our lifetime. I should stress that MediShield Life is a not-for-profit scheme. The reserves remain in the pool for the protection and benefit of policyholders. The Government will continue working with the actuaries and CPF Board to ensure adequate provisions are made for expected future pay-out commitments as well as unforeseen circumstances."