Update household data, urges minister

Singaporeans were yesterday urged to go online and update their household information in a large-scale administrative exercise, which is part of MediShield Life's roll out.

Speaking after a dialogue on the compulsory health insurance scheme at the Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) auditorium, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said: "This will help us provide the appropriate and relevant subsidies for each household."

At yesterday's dialogue, organised by SPH's Chinese newspapers Lianhe Zaobao, Lianhe Wanbao and Shin Min Daily News, and attended by 400, several people had asked about the need for the household check.

Last Friday, the Health Ministry kicked off the survey, which will run until June 19. And so far, it has been well received, said Mr Gan, highlighting that it is the first time such an extensive check is being done. "Should there be hiccups, we will try our best to fix them as they come along," he said.

"But so far, so good."

The check is meant to help determine a household's eligibility for the subsidies to help pay for MediShield Life premiums, which will be higher than those for the MediShield scheme it will replace from year-end, but will provide more extensive coverage.

Up to two-thirds of Singapore households, mainly lower- to middle-income families, are expected to receive premium subsidies, on top of transitional subsidies provided to all Singapore citizens, according to the Health Ministry.

The premium subsidies are computed based on existing government data, such as the annual value of the residence, monthly household income per person and if the resident owns multiple properties.

Some households may need to update their records.

Since last Thursday, Singapore citizens and permanent residents have started receiving customised letters with information on MediShield Life and how they can update their household particulars.

By May 12, all 1.2 million households would have received their letters.

Those who do not want to have their income and property ownership information accessed can opt out. This means, however, that the individual and his household will not receive premium subsidies.

Others at the dialogue asked if they should drop their Integrated Shield Plans, which are offered by private insurers and provide added benefits.

Mr Gan said that they should consider factors such as the type of facilities they seek and if they are able to afford the higher premiums in the long term.

He added: "The cost of the premium will rise as they grow older. It is important for them to check with their insurance agents what is the likely premium when they grow old, and not just when they are young."

Those who want to update their household details can:

Log on to www.medishieldlife.sg with the reference number found in the MediShield Life letter or by using their SingPass;

Call the MediShield Life hotline on 1800-222-3399 (Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5.30pm);

Visit a counter location at SingPost branches or community centres.


This article was first published on May 3, 2015.
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