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Govt defers MediShield Life premium payments for pandemic-hit residents, raises MediSave top-ups for Pioneer Generation

SINGAPORE — The authorities will defer premium payments for the basic health insurance scheme MediShield Life until the end of December next year. This is to help Singaporeans who do not have enough in their MediSave health savings accounts and cannot pay for the insurance premiums because of Covid-19’s economic impact.

The Health Ministry said it would defer the payment of MediShield Life premiums until the end of December 2021 for Singapore residents who have insufficient MediSave balances and cannot afford their premium payments.

The Health Ministry said it would defer the payment of MediShield Life premiums until the end of December 2021 for Singapore residents who have insufficient MediSave balances and cannot afford their premium payments.

  • The Government will defer MediShield Life insurance premium payments until end-December 2021 for residents with insufficient MediSave savings
  • The Pioneer Generation will receive yearly MediSave top-ups of S$250 to S$900 from 2021, up from the present S$200 to S$800
  • The moves come on top of the Government’s S$2.2 billion plan to help Singaporeans and PRs with their premiums over the next three years

 

SINGAPORE — The authorities will defer premium payments for the basic health insurance scheme MediShield Life until the end of December next year. This is to help Singaporeans who do not have enough in their MediSave health savings accounts and cannot pay for the insurance premiums because of Covid-19’s economic impact.

Premiums are typically deducted yearly at the start of the policy year, which varies based on the date of renewal. 

The yearly MediSave top-ups for seniors born in 1949 or earlier — dubbed the Pioneer Generation — will also be raised, the Ministry of Health announced in a statement on Monday (Dec 21).

MOH could not immediately provide the cost of the latest moves, but they come on top of its plan, announced in September, to set aside about S$2.2 billion over the next three years to help Singaporeans and permanent residents with their MediShield Life premiums.

The measures, aimed at keeping net premium increases for Singaporeans to no more than 10 per cent or so in the coming year, were announced after a major review of MediShield Life called for expanded coverage and higher premiums. 

In September, the MediShield Life Council, which oversees the administration of the scheme, put forth several recommendations to improve coverage under the scheme, including raising the policy-year claim limit from S$100,000 to S$150,000, and lowering the deductible for day surgeries paid out of pocket by older patients before MediShield Life payouts start.

With the expanded coverage, the council also called for higher premiums to keep the scheme sustainable.

MOH said on Monday that it had accepted all the recommendations from the MediShield Life Council after a public consultation on the council’s proposals ended in October. The changes will be rolled out in March next year.

Although the vast majority of Singaporeans have enough MediSave savings to pay for their premiums, MOH said that the Government would defer the payment of outstanding premiums until the end of December next year for Singapore residents with insufficient MediSave balances and who are unable to pay for their premiums.

This will ease concerns about premium payments during this “exceptional period” owing to the economic impact of the pandemic, MOH said. 

MediShield Life is a basic hospitalisation insurance scheme under the Central Provident Fund Board available to Singapore citizens and permanent residents. It helps them pay for large hospital bills and selected costly outpatient treatments. Premiums can be paid in full using MediSave.

HIGHER MEDISAVE TOP-UPS FOR PIONEER GENERATION

The Pioneer Generation will also stand to benefit from the latest measures.

The Government will provide higher lifetime yearly MediSave top-ups of S$250 to S$900 to this group from next year, as part of its commitment to keep MediShield Life premiums affordable for the Pioneer Generation. This is higher than the present top-ups of S$200 to S$800 each year. 

In addition, older Pioneer Generation seniors aged 81 and above this year who have serious pre-existing conditions and need to fork out higher premium payments will receive one-off MediSave top-ups of S$50 to S$200 yearly from next year until 2025.

Responding to queries from TODAY, MOH said that the Government expects to provide about S$170 million in MediSave top-ups for the Pioneer Generation next year, about S$20 million more than this year. In total, the annual top-ups, which the seniors will receive for life, will amount to more than S$1.6 billion.

With the enhancements, all Pioneer Generation seniors who are 86 and older this year will continue to have their MediShield Life premiums covered fully by the special premium subsidies and MediSave top-ups. Younger members of the Pioneer Generation will have about two-thirds of their MediShield Life premiums covered, MOH said.

Minister for Health Gan Kim Yong said that the Government had accepted the MediShield Life Council’s recommendations so as to ensure that the scheme continues to be relevant and sustainable.

“At the same time, we understand that Singaporeans will need more support during this period… We will ensure that MediShield Life continues to provide coverage for all Singaporeans, for life, and ensure that the premiums remain affordable.” 

Related topics

medishield life MediSave MOH seniors

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