If you are a Singaporean, here is a piece of good news for you. The Ministry of Health (MOH) announced in November 2018 that the national health insurance scheme will be extending coverage. Three areas were identified for upgrading by MOH.
Firstly, if you are directly admitted to a community hospital from the A&E department of a public hospital, you can now claim up to $350 a day from MediShield Life. This will help those who a period of medical, nursing and/or rehabilitation care from a community hospital after their condition has been diagnosed. In the past, you need to be warded into a public hospital and then transferred to a community hospital for convalescence before you can claim against MediShield Life.
Secondly, those who suffer from chronic intestinal failure and requires intravenous nutrition can claim up to $1,700 a month from MediShield Life. Such patients can also withdraw $200 per month from their MediSave. There are two qualifying criteria for these patients. You must have a disease that does not allow your body to absorb the nutrients from food and requires the use of parenteral nutrition. Only those that require parenteral nutrition for at least 90 days will qualify.
Thirdly, MediShield Life will now cover the surgical costs for two rare and life-threatening congenital conditions (trisomy 18 and alobar holoprosencephaly). These were previously excluded from MediShield Life coverage as treatments were not effective.
With the new upgrades to MediShield Life, an additional 2,000 Singaporeans will benefit from being included in the coverage. It is a relief to know that MOH is continuously trying to improve the courage of MediShield Life.
However, we are more concerned whether it is going to be adequate for average Singaporeans in helping you cover for your medical expenses. Is the upgrade really going to make MediShield Life more adequate in managing our medical bills? Well, we don’t think so.
MediShield Life provides every Singaporean with the basic healthcare coverage. When the hospital bill is small, MediShield Life is able to help you defray the cost effectively. However, when the bill gets bigger, MediShield Life becomes a less effective option. MediShield Life comes with a maximum claim limit of $100,000 a year. If the medical cost goes beyond $100,000, you will need to top up the difference. Moreover, each sub-category of medical cost has its own capped limits as well.
Although MediShield Life is a universal healthcare insurance, it does not foot everything on your bill.
Firstly, MediShield Life has a deductibles component. Deductibles mean that the initial amount has to be paid by you. The deductible amount is between $1,500 to $3,000. If your medical bill falls within this amount, you cannot claim from Medishield Life. Let’s say your medical bill exceeds this amount, you will need to pay $1,500 to $3,000 before you can claim the rest from MediShield Life.
Secondly, MediShield Life comes with a co-payment feature. You will need to pay a percentage of your medical bill, depending on the size of your bill.
|Claim Amount||Co-Insurance Amount|
|$0 to $3,000||10%|
|$3,001 to $5,000||10%|
|$5,001 to $10,000||5%|
Although MediShield Life is a basic healthcare insurance for all Singaporeans, it does not cover every part of your medical bill. It is designed to only cover the cost of medical treatment at Class C or B2 wards. For those who prefer more comfort while recuperating (e.g. aircon wards, more personal space), MediShield Life is only able to cover part of the medical cost. You will need to fork out from your own pocket or MediSave to make up for the difference if you choose anything above Class B2.
You can only claim against MediShield Life if you seek medical treatment at public hospitals. Although public hospitals in Singapore is one of the best in the world, one can still expect a certain amount of waiting time at A&E. Your medical appointments might be months apart because there are just too many people waiting in line to see the doctor. Same goes for surgery dates too. What happens if you have a condition that is affecting your way of life? Can you afford to wait?
Medical inflation in Singapore is growing at double digit figures every year. Based on the Aon Asia Healthcare Trends report, Singapore’s medical costs are projected to rise at a faster pace than most of the countries in Asia. The report measures the medical inflation rate of 11 markets in the region through the Aon Medical Inflation Index (AMII) score. According to Aon, hospitalisation costs contributed to the high rate of medical inflation.
Depending on your medical condition, you might feel that you require a more senior doctor to attend to you. This is especially if you are going to undergo a major surgery where a more senior doctor will give you a better peace of mind. However, the control over which doctor operates on you is out of your hands. Furthermore, doctors at public hospitals are usually less experienced compared to those in private hospitals. If the experience of your physician is a concern for you, then MediShield Life isn’t enough.
One way to supplement your MediShield Life is to invest in an Integrated Shield Plan (IP). An IP is like an upgrade for MediShield Life so that you will be able to cover up to 95% of your medical costs, even if you choose to stay in a Class A ward or seek medical treatment at a private hospital. From a customer perspective, IP is a must-have for every Singaporean.
Check out more about IP here: Complete Guide To Health Insurance That Singaporeans Ought To Know
Another way to supplement MediShield Life is to invest in a solid health insurance plan. AXA Global Care Health Insurance is one of those affordable health insurance plans you should check out, especially if you have any pre-existing conditions.
Check out more about AXA Global Care Health Insurance here: An Affordable Health Insurance Plan Covering Pre-Existing Conditions