According to the Straits Times news report “Parliament: MediShield Life Scheme Bill gives wide-ranging powers to administrator (Jan 19) – “The Bill also gives the national insurance administrator the same powers as that of the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore to recover unpaid premiums, such as through employers or banks. Such powers are needed because defaults on premiums by people who can afford to pay them will mean a heavier load on other policy holders. Full premiums are payable even by Singaporeans and permanent residents living overseas for long periods.
Fine or jail
For example, a defaulter who tries to leave the country without paying or providing security, as well as officials who wrongfully disclose information, can be fined $5,000, jailed for up to a year or both.” – This will be the last straw that breaks the camel’s back.
MediShield more than $1b surplus
Firstly, the MediShield scheme is the only national health insurance scheme in the world that makes money and has accumulated more than a billion dollars of surplus. Also, it does not cost the Government a single, as premiums have always exceeded claims by a wide margin every year since the scheme started. Is there any country in the world that fine and jail its citizens for not paying their national health insurance scheme premiums?
$4b Govt aid
“Massive government aid, to the tune of $4 billion over five years, will make it highly affordable, the Government has assured. This includes the transitional subsidies which will be given to everyone, rich or poor, for the first four years. On top of that, two in three people will also get 15-50 per cent permanent subsidies on their premiums. The need to access incomes is to make it easy to identify people who qualify and the amount of subsidy they are entitled to. Additional help will be given to those who still can’t afford the premiums. For the majority, the higher premiums will be entirely covered by Medisave, with the extra 1 per cent in Medisave contribution from employers that takes effect this month. People who are currently not covered by MediShield and have pre-existing illness will need to pay 30 per cent additional premiums per year for 10 years, after which they revert to paying the normal premiums for their age band.” – Does this $4 billion exclude any projected increased collection of premiums over claims? According to an earlier analysis by Mr S Y Lee and Mr Leong Sze Hian –
111 to 189% increase in premiums?
The increase in premiums from 2019 compared to the current premiums, after the declining transitional subsidies range from 111% (from $9 to $19 monthly for the lower-income with household per capita income less than $1,100) to 189% (from $9 to $26 for the high income) for age 31 – 40. For age 51 – 60, the increase range from 28% (from $29 to $37 for the lower-income) to 83% (from $29 to $53 for the high income). With regards to the Government providing almost S$4 billion in subsidies and financial support over the next five years – does it mean that the average subsidy per year is about $800 million?
Govt still not spending any money on healthcare?
If so, does it mean that from a cashflow perspective – the Government may still not be spending any money on healthcare, as the total annual contributions to Medisave and the annual interest on the total Medisave balances, may continue to exceed Government healthcare expenditure and all withdrawals from Medisave by way of direct medical expenses, MediShield Life, Private Integrated Plans and ElderShield premiums, etc?”