I refer to CNA’s “Free MediShield Life consultations to be introduced from November”.
This is another instance of a poorly thought through scheme and there’s really nothing ‘free’ because public resources are funded by tax payers. What the PAP has done is complicate a scheme and subsequently requiring public resources to explain the complications it has created. Seems like our scholars ‘eat finish nothing to do’.
According to MOH, the objectives of ML are (link):
– to offer better protection and higher payouts to reduce Medisave/cash payment for large hospital bills
– include very old citizens and PRs and those with pre-existing illnesses.
In a totally opaque manner, the government has acted as an insurance company, legislating the deduction (forcefully taking away) of premiums from our CPF, doubling or even trebling the amount.
Did PAP even consider the 210,000 CPF-poor overseas Singaporeans who derive zero benefit from ML? I suspect ML must be more like MedishitLife to them and using a $600 average premium, government just pocketed $126 million.
– How could premiums increase with no commensurate increase in benefits? I mean, if premiums double, shouldn’t benefits also double, give or take?
– If such a scheme is as fantastic as PAP propaganda makes it out to be, why must citizens be forced into such a scheme instead of being given a choice?
– Are citizens stupid?
If it’s still not clear to the 70% of propaganda-loving Singaporeans, healthy citizens are being forced to cross subsidise those with pre-existing illnesses.
From the table below, we can see a spike in insurance premiums. Assuming an average increase of $250 per resident, there’s an additional almost $1 billion for the government. Instead of allocating more tax dollars for healthcare, PAP simply transfers the increased costs to residents at the stroke of a pen.
Where subsidies are concerned, it’s merely a left-to-right pocket transaction, ie government subsidies go into CPF members’ accounts > deduct from CPF members for ML premiums > money flows back to the government.
MediShield and MediShield Life premiums
Over the years, PAP has been arbitrarily increasing healthcare costs. Insurance premiums have not increased due to market forces but mostly as a result of PAP’s profit-driven agenda.
In a really wealthy country, public healthcare, especially hospital bills, should not have been priced out of reach of the masses to warrant the sale of citizens’ homes or create an issue of bankruptcy. Such a system is morally bankrupt.
All working residents should not need to worry about being hospitalised because there are ‘as charged’ hospitalisation policies which could be paid for using our Medisave. However, PAP has limited the use of OUR CPF and force the lower-income group to fork out a huge cash portion, money which they don’t have.
By ‘affordable’ I mean premiums could be covered totally by our regular Medisave contribution. In the 20 to 24 age group, the yearly premium for full coverage ie, zero cash payment for hospitalisation, is about $480 or $40 per month. An employee earning $1500 would have accumulated $1560 ($120 Medisave per month X 13 months) in a year. He would have a balance of more than $1000 to cover other medical expenses should the need arise.
In fact, any employed person earning $1000 and above has sufficient Medisave to pay for ML premiums for full hospitalisation coverage. But PAP demands a portion to be paid in cash, citing nonsensical reasons.
This policy is discriminatory because only wealthier Singaporeans are able to fund the peace-of-mind cash portion. Take for example Khaw Boon Wan whose heart-bypass operation cost only $8. If he had bought an NTUC Income ‘as charge’ policy, he would have paid less than $1000 in cash for his age group. This a peanuts to million-dollar-taxpayer-funded politician but how many Singaporeans in his age group are able to afford such a commitment when there are pressing needs such as children’s tertiary education?
Heart-bypass op is very very cheap in Singapore – costs less than 2 bowls of noodles or about 6 egg pratas.
(I have about $35,000 in my account but its usage is restricted by PAP. The annual interest would have covered the premium for a ‘as charge’ policy, giving me total peace of mind, but am forced to fork out about half the premium in cash. Including Medisave interest, I am likely to have a balance after paying ML premiums till I kick the bucket.)
Every working couple, even if they are in the low-income group, should be able to fund the healthcare needs of their family. Singaporeans want to be self reliant but are prevented by the limited usage of our CPF savings by PAP.
Since 2010, Medisave balances have been growing by about $5 billion a year while citizens continue to worry about rising healthcare costs. PAP seems to prefer to use OUR money to invest for financial returns instead of allowing citizens to invest in our healthcare and well being.
If PAP really wants to help Singaporeans, it must stop jacking up healthcare costs and perpetually tweaking the ML scheme. Every attempt by the government to assist citizens means only one thing – more money coming out of our pockets.
ML is not only discriminatory but it will also not resolve PAP-created issue of exorbitant healthcare costs. Come 2020, there will be more justifications for increase after subsidies run out.
To me, the ML is nothing more than a complicated scam. Attempting to explain it to the masses is simply a waste of public resources.