With effect from March 01, 2013, Medishield will be enhanced with the following changes
- The elderly will benefit from extended MediShield coverage up to the age of 90 years old. However, Class B2 and C ward deductibles will also go up moderately by $500 for those aged 80 and below.
- Coverage will be extended to those receiving inpatient psychiatric treatment. They will be able to use up to $100 per day, up to 35 days in a year. Patients will also be able to use MediShield to cover short-stay wards in the emergency departments.
- The policy year and lifetime limits will also be increased, from $50,000 to $70,000, and from $200,000 to $300,000, respectively.
- The MediShield maximum entry age of 75 will also be removed, to enable healthy uninsured elderly to obtain coverage.
Due to public feedback, the Ministry of Health will also be increasing the Medisave withdrawal limits for MediShield and Integrated Shield Plans premiums from $800 to $1,000 for those aged 76 to 80 and from $1,150 to $1,200 for those above age 80.
The enhancements mean MediShield premiums will be raised from $17 to $250. One-off Medisave top-ups of up to $400 will be given to alleviate concerns over premium affordability. Eligible low-income or elderly Singaporeans will also receive Medisave top-ups under the on-going Workfare Income Supplement and GST Voucher Scheme to help with healthcare expenses.
There was no news for the highly debated coverage for congenital and neonatal conditions, but “the Health Ministry will continue to look at extending coverage”.
In my opinion, the elderly are definitely the winner in the enhancement. However, the increase of premium is too hefty, nearly 100% increase for some age band. This will not only affect policyholders under Medishield scheme, but also for people like you and me who have upgrade to Medisave-approved Integrated Insurance Plans, a.k.a. the private shield plans.
As all these private plans are “integrated” with Medishield, the increase of Medishield premium will indirectly “force” all insurers to raise premiums not only for new customers but also for existing policyholders. Although most insurers have come out with minor enhancement of the plans, the “upgrade” will definitely surprise many policyholders. 2013 will be a very busy year for all the private shield insurance providers.