By Leong Sze Hian –
I refer to the National Day Message.Prime Minister's National Day Message
It states that “Our healthcare system provides every Singaporean with good quality and affordable care”.
In this connection, I would like to refer to the increase in MediShield coverage and premiums.
Premiums increase by up to 511%?
MediShield premiums will increase by 450, 511 and 309 per cent compared to 2005, for age 30, 50 and 70 respectively.
This is an annualised increase of 24, 25 and 19 per cent per annum, over the eight years.
Top-up to Medishield premiums directly
Instead of a one-off top-up to Medisave, I would like to suggest that the top-up be used to pay for the MediShield premiums directly.
Medisave top-ups may be consumed by medical fees, which may leave some of the insured with insufficient funds in their Medisave when the MediShield premiums fall due. MediShield insurance might lapse then due to insufficient funds..
Since there is MediFund to help Singaporeans who are unable to pay for medical expenses, topping up directly to pay for MediShield premiums instead of vide Medisave, would ensure that the top-ups are not wiped out by medical expenses, before MediFund kicks in, because typically the MediSave must be depleted before MediFund is applicable.
Deductibles increase by up to 200%
The deductibles have also increased by as much as 200 per cent since 2005.
The increase in the deductibles may be a financial burden to the lower-income.
Since MediShield is a pooling of risk insurance scheme which does not cost the Government any money, why not consider giving some funding to maintain the current deductible amounts?
Lowest public healthcare GDP spending in the world?
After all, public spending on healthcare at 1.6 per cent of GDP, is one of the lowest in the world.
MediFund has surpluses?
Moreover, $86 million of MediFund surpluses have been transferred to the protected reserves, which could arguably be transferred to MediShield, and accumulated MediShield reserves grew from $205 to $530 million, from 2008 to 2010, an increase of 158 per cent.