Monday, 9 June 2014

Medishield Life Review

MediShield Life will benefit all S'poreans: PM Lee

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said MediShield Life will protect all Singaporeans better against large hospital bills, for life. The review committee released more details on their recommendations on Thursday.

Writing on his Facebook page, Mr Lee said payouts will be significantly improved. Premiums will be higher, but will still be well within the Medisave contributions.

He said at the start, the government will subsidise premiums for everyone. After that, it will continue subsidising the Pioneer Generation, middle and low-income citizens.

MediShield Life: What you need to know
MediShield Life: Balance between enhancements and premiums

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Health Minister Gan assures S'poreans over MediShield Life premiums

The one per cent increase in the employer Medisave contribution next year will be sufficient to cover the rise in premiums for the majority of the upper middle-income families when MediShield Life kicks in next year.

This assurance was given by Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, who spoke to reporters on the sidelines of the World Blood Donor Day on Saturday.

Mr Gan said the new national insurance scheme, MediShield Life, is a very important shift in Singapore's healthcare financing framework.

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Permanent subsidies for MediShield Life will be given automatically

The permanent subsidies for lower- and middle-income Singaporeans needing help with their MediShield Life premiums will be given out automatically as far as possible, said Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State (Health), who also reiterated the Government’s pledge to keep premiums affordable for all.

To make the process as hassle-free as possible, one’s household income per capita will be the determining factor, but she added that other factors could be considered on a case-by-case basis.

“It’s just like the Pioneer Generation (Package); our idea of commitment is that if it can be done automatically, we will do so. And then when there are cases where there might be exceptions, they can come to us on a case-by-case basis,” Dr Khor told reporters on the sidelines of a community event yesterday.

Subsidies for MediShield Life premiums will be “hassle-free” and “automatic”

No need to rush into cancelling insurance policies: NTUC officer

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Medisave offset of premiums ‘reassuring’

Workers concerned over higher MediShield Life premiums should be assured by the MediShield Life Review Committee’s view that the additional 1 per cent in Medisave contributions by employers will be sufficient to pay for the increase, said Mr Lim Swee Say, the labour chief, a day after the panel’s recommendations were announced.

“The concerns will be: ‘What is the impact on the premium?’, ‘So if the premium is to go up, by how much and how are they going to pay for it?’ ... ‘Will the Government be subsidising it during the transition period at least?’, and so on,” said Mr Lim. “I think we were given assurance that most families will be able to pay for the new premiums using their Medisave without having to come up with cash.”

As for those unable to afford the premiums even after the increased Medisave contributions, they could be helped by Medifund, he added.

NTUC welcomes MediShield Life proposals, says Lim Swee Say
MediShield Life premiums will remain affordable: Gan Kim Yong

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Medishield Life: What is clear and not so clear

The MediShield Life scheme, the details of which were announced on Thursday, is to give Singaporeans peace of mind, a phrase that is being used often by the government.

How far will it go in assuring Singaporeans, especially older Singaporeans, that it is better to die than fall sick?

Here we try to break down the scheme to itemise the clear and not-so-clear aspects.

related: Kin Lian on MediShield

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Indranee slams WP for claiming credit for MediShield Life recommendations
Profile: .Ms Indranee Rajah (Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Law and. Ministry of Education).....Photo: Ernest Chua. 26 April 2013

Senior Minister of State (Education and Law) Indranee Rajah has criticised the Workers’ Party (WP) for its response to the MediShield Life recommendations, saying the opposition party was “vague” and “quick to claim credit”.

The WP had implied that MediShield Life had come out of their speaking up in Parliament when it was actually borne out of the Our Singapore Conversations (OSC), she added, in her Facebook post yesterday, titled The Art Of Claiming Credit.

“There is vague attribution to articulation by ‘many Singaporeans’ but that’s about it. The implication is that MediShield Life happened because they spoke up in Parliament. No credit is shared or given to anyone else,” Ms Indranee wrote.

related: Indranee Rajah raps Workers’ Party on MediShield Life statement

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Workers' Party welcomes MediShield Life recommendations

The Workers' Party (WP) says it welcomes the MediShield Life Review Committee's recommendations for the MediShield Life scheme. In a statement to the media on Friday (June 6), the WP said many of the enhancements put forth by the committee the day before, had been articulated by its MPs in Parliament and by many Singaporeans over the years.

Some of these suggestions include adjusting co-payments and claim limits to ease the cost of healthcare for Singaporeans, as well as providing permanent premium subsidies for vulnerable groups of Singaporeans.

The WP says it notes that the Government has accepted the committee's recommendations and that it has pledged to offer assistance to Singaporeans in minimising the impact of an increase in premiums.

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Medishield Life Summary

The government has just announced details about the new Medishield Life medical insurance scheme for all Singaporeans.

Basically, the objectives of Medishield Life are:
  • More payout for large bills – you pay less for large bills
  • Coverage for everyone, regardless of age and pre-existing medical conditions, and even if your health circumstances change
Claim limits (e.g. for surgery) will be adjusted upwards – a good thing. The current lifetime claim limit of $300k will be removed entirely.
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MediShield Life Review Committee unveils recommendations

The Government on Thursday (June 5) accepted the MediShield Life Review Committee's recommendation that it should bear most of the costs of the scheme, details of which were released the same day.

"The Government accepts the committee's recommendation and will bear most of the cost of bringing in those with pre-existing conditions. In this way, the Government will help all Singaporeans, including those with pre-existing conditions and those who are currently excluded, achieve MediShield Life cover, while ensuring that premiums are kept affordable for policyholders," the Ministry of Health said in a press statement.

Said Committee chairman Bobby Chin: "We have listened to what Singaporeans valued most in MediShield Life. Our recommendations will provide better protection against large hospital bills for all Singaporeans, for life."

MediShield Life: Balance between enhancements and premiums
No out-of-pocket cash needed for MediShield Life premiums
MediShield Life will benefit all S'poreans: PM Lee

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MediShield Life: What you need to know

The Government on Thursday (June 5) said it welcomed the MediShield Life Review Committee's recommendations for the scheme, which will be implemented by the end of 2015. Here's what you need to know about MediShield Life:

The committee signalled that a key thrust of the scheme will be better benefits and coverage for all Singaporeans who may face large hospital bills, while premiums will be kept affordable to all.

Under MediShield, pre-existing conditions are excluded, and coverage only extends until the age of 90. But under MediShield Life, all conditions including pre-existing ones are covered for life.

related: MediShield Life: Two case studies

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MediShield Life Review: Better coverage for all, enhanced benefits, lower co-payments

The MediShield Life Review Committee has come up with recommendations for the compulsory insurance plan that aim to ease people's worries about racking up large hospital bills.

In considering changes to MediShield Life, the Committee had "carefully considered the balance between the impact of the benefit enhancements and the resulting indicative premium levels", it said in a release on Thursday.

The Committee recommended the following

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Medishield Life review: Lower out of pocket payments for big bills
Patients in a Class C ward at Changi General Hospital. The MediShield Life Review Committee has come up with recommendations for the compulsory insurance plan that aim to ease people's worries about racking up large hospital bills. - PHOTO: ST FILE

Out of pocket payments for major hospital bills could be cut by as much as half, following a review committee's recommendations for MediShield Life.

This includes treatment for common conditions such as cancer, stroke and heart attack, which often result in long stays and large bills.

At least nine out of 10 subsidised patients - those staying in B2- or C-class wards - will be fully insured, said MediShield Life review committee chairman Bobby Chin.

MediShield Life Review: Better coverage for all, enhanced benefits, lower co-payments
Medishield Life review: Good news all round - pay less as bill grows
Medishield Life review: Most will be able to afford premiums without using cash
More being done to help elderly patients

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Experts urge supervision over how MediShield Life will be run

With the MediShield Life Review Committee (MLRC) having revealed its recommendations on enhancing the compulsory insurance scheme, healthcare experts called for supervision over how the scheme is administered and for the Government to keep an eye on Medisave adequacy when the enhancements are rolled out.

The public also needs to be educated on the changes, they told TODAY.

Healthcare policy expert Phua Kai Hong, of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore, said clear supply-side guidelines needed to be established.

MediShield Life: Insurance sector sees little impact on its business
Enhanced benefits proposed for MediShield Life
MediShield Life committee recommends raises in claim limits, lifetime coverage
Insurers support expansion of official healthcare schemes

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Finally MediShield Life

What is there not to like about MediShield Life? My knee jerk reaction was how are we going to pay for all these? Ellen Lee on 93.8 this morning also had some worries and suggested that doctors and consumers must not have the buffet mentality. What is there to prevent the abuse other societies experience from appearing here? Nevertheless I think this is the right path to go down but we must not only be vigilant but also check abuse. I don't trust doctors, so many in the privacy of their minds are just business people and over time their reputation in society can only go down given better consumer education and the Internet more of us discover them for what too many of them really are.

My good old friend was happy when MedisShield Life was announced yesterday. Here is my Whatsapp chat with him. (click on pic for larger display)

Prime Minister, you and your "all" and "every" again. These are bad words for politicians. They cheapen their promises and character. Keep those words intact with their original meaning for Singapore society. Elsewhere they abuse it, it is their business, we mustn't be like them. Why can't you just simply say "vast majority" or "nearly everyone" or more modestly just simply "most". The political liability to your government is that many people will notice and remember some who will inevitably fall through the cracks. Over time the population will grow cynical like other places when most people learn and accept what a Singapore politician mean by "all" and "every". Haven't you notice the WP do not indulge themselves on them? They are shrewder than you.

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MediShield Life: Balance between enhancements and premiums

The MediShield Life Review Committee said it had carefully considered the balance between benefit enhancements and the resulting indicative premium levels.

It said it had decided on a few key principles to guide their discussions and recommendations, such as the importance of MediShield Life as insurance to give Singaporeans peace of mind against large medical bills.

Taking that into account, the committee said it recommended that bills of up to the 90th percentile were covered, ensuring that nine in 10 Singaporeans admitted to B2 or C class wards are fully covered by MediShield Life.

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CPF Life and Medishield Life – Two life savings schemes

How much more would it cost if these two schemes were private insurance schemes? The three most important cost of private insurance schemes are commissions for the agents, bonuses for the over riding top management and profits. Oh, there is another cost, operating cost, marketing cost and overheads. With the two compulsory schemes, the cost must be very low as there is no need for much marketing, and lower operating cost as everything can be computerized under one roof. There will be minimal marketing and sales staff that private insurers would need.

Without the insurance agents and their overriding managers, this middle man cost would also be removed. And without the profit motive, the premiums could be really low, to cover just the necessary. Tiok boh?

The CPF Life and Medishield Life are two of the greatest insurance schemes thought of by the Govt. The two schemes help to solve two of the most costly and serious living problems of the people, one to have money to live during retirement, and the other to have money to pay for medical bills that could make the HDB millionaires bankrupt even after selling their flats. The people can now live in peace, sleep in peace because of these two great schemes.

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MOH: MediShield Life requires higher premiums

In a statement today (5 Jun), the Ministry of Health (MOH) said it supports proposals from MediShield Life Review Committee (MLRC) to raise claim limits and lower co-insurance, especially for large healthcare bills.

“These enhancements will provide all Singaporeans with peace of mind against large healthcare bills for life,” MOH said. However, with the enhanced MediShield Life benefits, payouts will increase, which in turn require higher premiums, MOH said. “The government will ensure that Medisave withdrawal limits will be sufficient for all MediShield Life premiums,” MOH assured.

To help Singaporeans with their MediShield Life premiums, the government will provide premium subsidies, financial assistance and other forms of funding support for the lower to middle income, as a permanent feature of MediShield Life. The premium subsidies for Pioneers are not means-tested and will be for life.

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Navigating the complexities of MediShield and Medisave
I refer to Goh Poh Kheng’s letter “Stumped by low MediShield payout” (ST, Mar 7).

To help Ms Goh and readers understand the use of Medisave and MediShield claims, I would like explain some of the queries raised by her. I shall also try to put all the relevant information in this article, as they seem to be all over the place – in various parts of the MOH and CPF web sites.

What is “pro-ration”?

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The government has accepted the recommendations made by the Medishield Life Review committee (MLRC) and will be implementing the new compulsory insurance by the end of 2015.

Singaporeans will be forced to pay higher premiums but will be able to take advantages of enhanced cover and payouts for medical bills. There will be no opt-out option so all Singaporeans will be forced to join.

The new Medishield Life aims to help Singaporeans with large medical bills and ensure that they are covered for life. Previously, there were lower maximum claims under the Medishield plan and all coverage stopped at the age of 90, but the premiums were cheaper.

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With MediShield Life launch, removing claim cap beneficial, says Gan

Removing the cap on claims when MediShield Life is rolled out next year will be beneficial, particularly to those who are nearing the existing S$300,000 limit, such as some kidney dialysis patients, said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong yesterday.

In reiterating that premiums for the national insurance scheme, which will be expanded to lifelong and universal coverage, would be affordable for all, Mr Gan said lower-income Singaporeans would be means-tested, so those who need more support would get it.

“Through government subsidies, Medisave top-ups, as well as the 1 per cent additional Medisave contribution, we will make sure not only the high-income, but also the low-income Singaporeans, will be able to afford the MediShield Life premium,” he said.

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