Q: What is Medishield Life and Integrated Shield Plan(IP)?
All Singaporeans are in this opt-in insurance scheme called Medishield Life. Medishield Life is the basic hospitalisation cover which provides sufficient coverage for bills incurred in B2/C ward. Premium is paid using your CPF Medisave.
An Integrated Shield Plan works as an “upgrade”, where you can choose to pay an additional premium so as to cover for B1, A ward (Government Restructured Hospital) or Private Hospitals. However, even as most plans are As-Charged, you are still required to pay a deductible (up to $3,500 depending on the ward) AND 10% co-insurance, if hospitalised. This can also be paid using CPF Medisave.
Q: What is a “hospitalisation plan rider”
6 insurance companies in Singapore provides a rider plan that covers for Deductibles and Co-Insurance (that was not covered by IP) and added benefits. With a “hospitalisation plan rider”, you are essentially covered 100% (provided there are no exclusions in your plan), in an event of hospitalisation or surgery.
Q: So what happened on 8th March 2018?
The Ministry of Health has announced that, from 2021, all rider plans will have to come with a MINIMUM of 5% co-payment with you. Instead of covering all your bills, you are now required to pay for 5% of your hospitalisation bills, even if you have a rider plan. Treatment must also be pre-authorised and approved (unless due to emergency).
Q: Walao! 5% is a lot leh!
Yes, 5% can still mount up to hundreds of thousands if you have a chronic illness or faces lengthy stay in a hospital. In order to curb this, MOH has restricted the cap to $3,000. Even if the medical bill is $100,000, you only need to pay a maximum of $3,000 and part of it can be paid using your CPF Medisave (depending on the type of treatment).
Q: What if I already have a full “hospitalisation plan rider”?
You will still be covered 100% as per contract terms.
However, it is not sure if insurance companies will change all rider plans to NEW rider plans from April 1, 2021. Stay tuned for updates on this blog.
Q: Can I still buy hospitalisation plan rider now?
Yes, you can! And you should! From now until April 1, 2021, you can still be covered 100%. You will be informed of the transition when the new rider plan scheme starts.
Q: Why so confusing? at first 100% and now 95%?
Healthcare costs have increased significantly over the years because hospital and doctors have charged patients the upper limits of medical costs when they seek treatment. For example, a patient was charged $70,000 for a lump removal surgery because she has a 100% hospitalisation plan rider when there was an equally effective alternative procedure at $5,000. Hospitals have also charged for unnecessary tests and scans when they know that patients are fully covered by insurers.
In 2016, the average medical bill size for full rider policyholders was about 60 percent higher than the average bill size for those without riders, even though rider policyholders are younger and generally in better health.
As such, IP and rider premiums have raised by up to 80 percent (depending on different plans).
Q: So, does it means that new rider plans will be cheaper?
New rider plans are EXPECTED to have lower premiums. Insurance companies are given a year to come out with the new scheme and you can choose to switch to the new plan for premium savings.
Q: How can I save on my current premium?
If you are on the Private Hospitalisation Plan Rider and feels that the premium is too high, Great Eastern has already launched a new plan last year to help you save up to 40% of your premium. Do check out this post for more details.
Q: Not my fault, why have to penalise me for it?
While it is easy to point to hospital and clinics for overcharging, the purpose of this move is to include patients in choosing the appropriate medical care. With the spotlight on this issue, hopefully, it serves are a curb to redundancy in cost, consumption and servicing in the healthcare industry.
Ivan Z: Premiums have increased by almost two folds over the last 5 years, particularly in the Private Hospital plans. Having done countless of claims, I have seen bills ranging up to $100,000 charged to the patient and subsequently, to the insurance company. As everyone (MOH, Insurers, Consumers) tries to find the best solution, consumers are always the ones carrying the load of either paying more in premium or in taxes. While the intention of including the educated population in the stakeholding of treatment seems fair, it remains to be seen if this policy actually curbs over-charging by healthcare providers, whose primary objective should be quality of care and not the bottom line.