Media Briefing by the MediShield Life Review Committee

Helping Vulnerable Groups with MediShield Life Premiums: Review Committee

After the first phase of its consultation exercise on Singaporeans’ response to the introduction of MediShield Life, the Review Committee has noted Singaporeans’ support for the better and lifelong protection by the enhanced scheme and also their concerns over the impact of this on premium increases. The MediShield Life Review Committee therefore calls on the Government to provide support to help the elderly and low-income come on board the improved scheme. This would help fulfil the scheme’s objective of providing coverage for all Singaporeans for life.

MediShield Life Review: Feedback from Singaporeans


2 The MediShield Life Review Committee, comprising 11 individuals with a range of experience and expertise in various fields, was set up in November last year to review the key parameters for MediShield Life and make recommendations to the Government. Since then, the Committee has held several focus group discussions (FGDs) with the public and key stakeholders, including academics, insurers, unions and healthcare professionals. This is to help them better understand Singaporeans’ concerns and to take in suggestions on the MediShield Life scheme, which will provide lifelong coverage for all Singaporeans. The Committee has also hosted some vernacular FGDs in different languages to ensure that Singaporeans from all walks of life are able to share their views.

3 In the FGDs, Singaporeans have expressed support for the better and lifelong protection by MediShield Life and acknowledged the need for premium increases. However, they have raised questions on how the uninsured can be brought on board the scheme, and what the premiums will be. They are also worried that the elderly and low-income may not be able to afford the premium increases. This is especially so for the elderly, who might have been close to retirement or retired when Medisave was introduced, and did not have enough time to build up sufficient savings for premiums. Singaporeans also agree with the need to better spread the payment of premiums over one’s lifetime by paying more during the working ages, but there is a diversity of views on how this can be done. The Committee also heard concerns about the premiums for the Integrated Shield Plans (IP) and suggestions to improve oversight and regulation of the IP sector.

4 The Committee further noted that there is a general lack of understanding of Singapore’s healthcare financing, and suggests that the Government engage in more public education on Singapore’s healthcare system and financing framework.
Review Focus Areas

5 Going forward, the Committee will be focusing on a number of key areas:

  • How MediShield Life benefits could provide better protection, while keeping costs affordable. For example, how can the most protection be achieved with a given premium increase?
  • Feasibility of pre-funding, which involves paying more of the premiums when a person is young and working.
  • Cost of bringing the uninsured unhealthy on board the MediShield Life scheme, and what the cost-sharing approach should be.

6 At subsequent FGDs, the Committee will surface these issues for discussion and views, and work out some preliminary recommendations. In this work, the Committee will be seeking input from the Ministry of Health and actuaries.


MEDISHIELD LIFE REVIEW COMMITTEE
28 January 2014

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