Several interesting ideas came up in Parliament during the MediShield Life bill debate, perhaps they are worth consideration.
Higher subsidies should be given to the younger ones below 21.
Currently, those born on/after 26 August 2012 are eligible for a Medisave Grant of $3000. From calculations, assuming no subsidy is given to the family, it will only last until he/she is 21.
At 21, most would still be in University, Polytechnic, NS or just started work and they may not be financially stable to be able to pay the premiums on their own. Those who have not started work will not have much in their Medisave to pay for the premiums and will either have to rely on their parents’ Medisave accounts or pay by cash. (Filed by Baey Yam Keng, Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC)
Allow the MediShield Life Council to act as the body to handle appeals
Just as there is an appeal panel within the Ministry of Finance for the Pioneer Generation Package, the Ministry of Health may want to set up an appeal panel to deal with appeals related to Medishield Life. What better panel than the very people who drafted the recommendations for Medishield Life?
We can foresee several points for appeal in the implementation of Medishield Life. Some may be appealing for lower premiums due to special circumstances or even appealing for the review of lifting the higher premium for pre-existing medical conditions should their condition improve. (Filed by Alex Yam, Chua Chu Kang GRC)
Flexibility for the disabled
With regards to means testing, perhaps some disabled individuals may be given special considerations for the extra transport cost incurred in visiting the hospital especially for regular outpatient treatment. (Filed by Chia Yong Yong, Nominated MP)
Incentive for smokers to quit:
The idea is: If a smoker is admitted for treatment for a smoking-related disease, upon discharge, he/she will be advised to quit smoking. Subsequent treatments for smoking related disease for the individual will cause him/her to get lower coverage and have to bear a larger share of the bill if he/she has not quit smoking. A simple urine test can determine if one has quit smoking.
By doing this, less burden will be put on the rest of the non-smoking population to pay for the lifestyle choice of smokers who may cause premiums to rise because of the higher medical costs incurred due to their smoking habits. (Filed by Dr. Janil Puthucheary, Pasir Ris-Punggol)
Transition period for those with existing Integrated Shield Plans (IPs)
Some may fear having to pay double premiums for both Medishield Life and their private IPs. These IPs may have been purchased before the introduction of Medishield Life and some may be expiring soon.
Although there is assurance that these will be a supplement to Medishield Life, perhaps individuals will find that these riders are no longer necessary with the introduction of Medishield life, especially those who previously did not qualify for Medishield and purchased their own IPs for that reason. (Filed by Zaqy Mohammed, Choa Chu Kang GRC)
Hopefully MOH will consider these ideas carefully to further enhance and improve the new MediShield Life Scheme to better cater to the needs of Singaporeans to achieve the bill’s aim of fostering a more caring and inclusive society.