Medishield Life: Review committee argues for more govt support

This would help provide coverage to all Singaporeans for life, as is the stated objective of the scheme


The MediShield Life Review Committee (MLRC), established in November last year, to review and study the proposed parameters for MediShield Life – the enhanced version of MediShield, called on the Singapore government “to provide support to help the elderly and low-income come on board the improved scheme. This would help fulfil the scheme’s objective of providing coverage for all Singaporeans for life”.

These were the committee's comments after its first phase of consultation exercise. It has had several focus group discussions with academics, insurers, unions and healthcare professionals, where Singaporeans while expressing “support for the better and lifelong protection by MediShield Life and acknowledging the need for premium increases”, raised questions on how the uninsured can be brought under the scheme, and what the premiums will be.

The consultations also emphasised on the “worry that the elderly and low-income may not be able to afford the premium increases. This is especially so for the elderly, who might have been close to retirement or retired when Medisave was introduced, and did not have enough time to build up sufficient savings for premiums”.

Moreover, concerns were expressed about the premiums for the Integrated Shield Plans (IP). The committee also heard suggestions to improve oversight and regulation of the IP sector.

Lack of understanding

Surprisingly, the committee found that “there is a general lack of understanding of Singapore’s healthcare financing”, and suggested that the government engage in more public education on Singapore’s healthcare system and financing framework.

The MLRC is expected to complete its review in approximately three months and present its recommendations for MediShield Life to the ministry of health in May 2014. The enhanced scheme is expected to be implemented in 2015.