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The Ministry of Health MOH is trying to work out the number of MediShield policy holders who have pre-existing illnesses not covered by the insurance scheme. This is to help determine the cost of the new MediShield Life.

SINGAPORE: The health ministry is trying to work out the number of people with MediShield who have pre-existing illnesses not covered by the insurance scheme to help determine the cost of the new MediShield Life.

When the scheme comes into effect, it will cover everyone for life and include pre-existing illnesses.

Premiums are expected to go up with the scheme’s expansion, but Health Minister Gan Kim Yong has said the government is committed to keeping it affordable for life.

Some 80 people on Sunday questioned the health minister directly on the latest health care policies at a dialogue organised by national feedback agency REACH.

Only 8 per cent of Singaporeans are not covered by MediShield; however, when the new MediShield Life takes effect, everyone including those with pre-existing illnesses will be covered for life.

This means premiums must go up to cover the increased payouts.

Mr Gan said: “(We are) going through our records, going through our hospitals, checking the numbers to have a better sense of what’s the size of the impact of MediShield Life, but it will benefit all Singaporeans going forward, because all Singaporeans will be included.”

A universal healthcare insurance that will provide more security for Singaporeans struck a chord with many of the participants Channel NewsAsia spoke to at the dialogue. But there were questions on how it would affect specific groups of people, for example, pensioners.

Lee Lan Yong, a pensioner, said: “For MediShield Life, the government said it’s mandatory. For me, I think, as a pensioner, (I) need not take MediShield Life … (as) 85 per cent of my (medical) bill is already covered by the government.”

Some participants also asked whether the insurance will cover people who are terminally ill, such as those suffering from HIV.

Daniel Goh, a salesperson, said: “I felt that universal coverage should cover everyone, not exclude any portion of the population.”

The health ministry is working out the scheme’s premium structure, its benefits, and who needs help.

Mr Gan said: “What the government has committed is to make sure that the premium for MediShield Life will be affordable for all Singaporeans, and for life. Regardless of age, we want to make sure they are affordable.”

MediShield Life is expected to be ready by 2015.

– CNA/gn

via Cost of MediShield Life premiums still a work in progress – Channel NewsAsia.

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