I read with interest the articles on MediShield Life and how the Central Provident Fund Board will be empowered to access citizens’ income details and health status (“Granting access to health and income data makes sense”; last Saturday).

It is logical to assume there would be bias against those who have been hospitalised.

Patients with pre-existing medical conditions who were not admitted to hospital would have no hospital records. Some may have been hospitalised overseas and have no local records.

How would they be assessed on the severity of their pre-existing illnesses, for the purpose of premium loading?

Also, how far back will hospital records be searched? As it is, there are no statutory requirements for hospitals to keep medical records beyond seven to eight years.

As for those who have lived abroad for a long time, would they face imprisonment for not paying their MediShield Life premiums if they return? It seems unfair to expect them to pay premiums if they do not intend to use their MediShield entitlements. Would this encourage them to give up their citizenship to avoid being punished?

I suggest that they be excused from paying compulsory premiums. If they choose to return, they will have to buy their own health insurance policies, or pay their hospital fees in full without MediShield coverage.

While I agree that the Government should penalise those who refuse to pay their premiums, those who are not living or working in Singapore should be treated differently.

Chong Jin Long

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