Changes to Medishield from March 2013
Medishield is going to undergo several changes effective from March 2013. The most notable of these changes would probably be the increase in premium rates across the board for all age bands.
People between their twenties and fifties will see an increase of about 100% in the annual premium for Medishield. A person in his twenties used to pay $33 per year for Medishield coverage. This would double to $66. The premium rates for people in their thirties and fourties have been increased from $54 and $114 to $105 and $220 per year respectively.
There is also an increase in the deductible payable by the insured for Class B2 and C wards, i.e. the amount payable by the insured upon admission to these wards before Medishield coverage kicks in is increased. The previous deductible of $1,000 for C ward and $1,500 for B2 ward is increased by $500.
Premium changes and Medisave Top Up
Table from MOH website
Ministry of Health (MOH) is highlighting the difference in premium based on absolute dollars per month. While the premium increase is as high as 100% for some age bands, in absolute terms, it is a few dollars of increase per month. The Government is providing an one-off Medisave top-up to defray the increase in premiums. The top-up amount is between $50 to $400 depending on age group, and a further annual GST voucher is given to lower income individuals.
- The yearly limit is increased from $50,000 to $70,000 and the lifetime limit is increased from $200,000 to $300,000.
- The maximum age of coverage will be increased to 90 from the previous 85. Individuals above the age of 75 are now able to enroll in Medishield (health permitting), which the previous cut-off age limit for application did not allow.
- Coverage will be extended to inpatient congenital and neonatal treatment for newly diagnosed conditions. This means that Singapore Citizens born on or after 1 March 2013 can be covered under Medishield without having to be assessed for pre-existing conditions.
- There is now coverage for inpatient psychiatric treatment at $100 per day capped at 35 days per year for newly diagnosed conditions.
- Coverage is also extended to short-stay wards in Emergency Departments.
Effect on Integrated Medishield Plans
Many people have since opted to increase their Medishield coverage by applying for an integrated Medishield plan with one of the five insurers which provide such plans. Premiums for such plans (which include the premium for Medishield) are also going to increase with these Medishield changes.
I have always advised my clients to pick an integrated Medishield plan with a reasonable cost and coverage structure as such premium rates are non-guaranteed and would likely increase. While all five providers are increasing premium rates, the increase in out-of-pocket expenses are mitigated somewhat with a more prudent choice of plan.