MediShield Life premiums are set to increase by 35 per cent next year as the Government accepts all recommendations made by the MediShield Life Council tasked with reviewing the nationwide health insurance scheme in 2018.
Premium payments will be deferred until the end of December next year for policyholders who have insufficient MediSave balances. Top-ups for the Pioneer Generation seniors will also be enhanced. These top-ups can be used to pay for MediShield Life Premiums.
The recommendations that have been adopted will start rolling out in March next year, including an increase in the policy claim limit from S$50,000 to S$150,000 among others.
Additionally, treatments for drug addiction, alcoholism and attempted suicide will also now be included under the mandatory basic plan.
Premium support measures
Previously, the Government announced that it plans to provide premium subsidies and support of up to S$2.2 billion over the next three years, including S$1.8 billion for existing premium subsidies as well as support for low- and middle- income households, seniors, and the financially needy.
The remaining $S360 million will be channelled into the new COVID-19 subsidy. The subsidy will cover 70 per cent of the net increase in premiums after considering existing subsidies in the first year. This will be followed by a 30 per cent subsidy in the second year.
The MOH said in its statement, “These measures will keep the net premium increases for all Singapore citizens to no more than about 10 per cent in the first year.”
The financial needy will also be able to apply for additional premium support, which will include a one-off subsidy for all Singapore citizens for two years to help lessen the impact of the premium increase during the pandemic.
One of the impacts of the global pandemic is the mass job loss suffered by workers around the world and the subsequent drop in income for many.
According to data released by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in late October, the overall unemployment rate in Singapore rose to an all-time high of 4.7 per cent among Singaporeans and PRs.
The total number of unemployed residents increased to 112,600 — 97,700 of which are Singaporeans.
Moreover, the MOM expected the number of retrenchments to reach upwards of 20,450. Residents make up 57 per cent of those workers.
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said about the changes to the national insurance scheme: “MediShield Life was created to ensure that Singaporeans would be protected against large hospital bills for life.”
“To ensure that the scheme can continue to be relevant and sustainable, the Government has accepted the MediShield Life Council’s recommendations to enhance the scheme and adjust the premiums,” he added.