As Singapore ages, so does our healthcare structure. To oil the machine of our healthcare, the government has set aside a portion of the MediShield Life Premiums for the future to moderate premium increases as people age, said Senior Minister of State for Health Koh Poh Koon on Monday (Nov 2).
The Health Ministry had announced in September that MediShield Life is set to get a revamp next year, which would see premiums rise by up to a third. Moreover, with an ageing population, illnesses requiring long-term care provide a main motivation to design a more even distribution of premiums policyholders’ lifetimes.
Why the rise?
Based on current data, it is revealed that premiums collected were slightly less than the total amount required for current claims and future commitments under the scheme. With the increase, it will pay for a wider range of benefits – such as raising the yearly claim limit from $100,000 to $150,000 – as well as rising healthcare costs. Plus, it is the first time that MediShield Life premiums will go up since the scheme was launched five years ago.
At present, lower- and middle-income households get up to 50 per cent subsidies on their MediShield Life premiums, while Merdeka and Pioneer Generation seniors get additional subsidies on top of this.
How will the rise help us?
With medical cost inflation, demographics and medical advancements over the years, it is prudent to prepare ourselves well by disbursing two-thirds of the premium increases towards paying for the growth in utilisation and payouts. Also, refreshing claim limits to ensure that Singaporeans continue to be adequately covered for the majority of subsidised bills will account for one-quarter of the increase, while the remainder supports benefit enhancements, such as extending coverage to inpatient hospices and serious pregnancy complications.
Most importantly, the Government has several financial support schemes to ensure that Singaporeans will not lose their MediShield Life coverage or be denied access to care because they cannot afford their premiums.