1% of Singaporeans and permanent residents, or about 25,000 people, will need to pay 30% more in premiums for Medishield Life for 10 years after MediShield Life begins in November. This is because these people have serious pre-existing medical conditions and will need more help to offset their large hospitall bills.
They will be notified through letters from the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board. Of the 25,000, 23,000 of these individuals are uninsured or are insured under MediShield or Integrated Shield plans but with exclusions.
This 1% will have to pay extra premiums because their conditions require more intensive medical care to treat or manage and are likely to have high risk of future complications or recurrence, says the Ministry of Health (MOH). The individuals were identified after the CPF board tapped existing medical information in Government databases and medical institutions, an action which is allowed under the Medishield Life Scheme Act.
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said the authorities have adopted a “fair and compassionate approach” in identifying Singaporeans who will be subject to additional premiums.
“Most of them would not be able to purchase insurance and would have been bearing high medical costs without any insurance protection over the past years. With MediShield Life, they can now be covered for life and receive help with their large medical bills,” he said.
Serious conditions including cancer, stroke, liver cirrhosis, schizophrenia, chronic conditions with serious complications such as diabetes with kidney complications, as well as degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and muscular dystrophy will incur higher premiums, says MOH.
Some individuals with pre-existing conditions will not need to pay extra, however, if their conditions are less serious or well-controlled. They may have well-controlled diabetes, hypertension with no complications, osteoarthritis, fibroids or cysts, for instance. People hospitalised due to one-off events such as accidents or dengue will also not have to pay higher premiums for MediShield Life.
Medical conditions that develop after the start of one’s MediShield cover are not considered to be pre-existing conditions, said the MOH. Someone who joined MediShield in 2005 and who had a heart attack in 2010, for instance, will not pay additional premiums under MediShield Life because the heart attack occurred after he had joined MediShield.