NAME AND CONSTITUENCY OF MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT
Mr Yip Hon Weng
MP for Yio Chu Kang SMC
QUESTION NO. 359
To ask the Minister for Health (a) what are the avenues to seek assistance with payments of MediShield Life premiums; (b) what does Additional Premium Support entail and what is the duration of the approval process; and (c) how is future inflation taken into consideration in planning the various support schemes to ensure MediShield Life premiums remain affordable for all.
To ensure MediShield Life premiums remain affordable, the Government provides premium subsidies of up to 50% for lower and middle-income households. All Merdeka Generation seniors receive additional subsidies of up to 10% on top of these premium subsidies, and annual MediSave top-ups of $200 from 2019 to 2023, which can be used to pay for the premiums. All Pioneers receive special subsidies of up to 60%, and lifetime annual MediSave top-ups which will be increased to $250 to $900 from 2021. As MediShield Life subsidies are designed as a percentage of the premiums payable, the absolute amount of subsidy increases as premiums increase over time due to inflation and other factors.
The Government has also provided additional COVID-19 subsidy for all Singapore Citizens for two years, to further cushion the premium increases during this period. Taken together with the existing subsidies, the net premium increases for all Singapore Citizens will be no more than about 10% in the first year. Premium payment will also be deferred till end-December 2021 for those who have insufficient MediSave balances and are unable to pay their premiums in the coming year due to the economic impact of COVID-19.
There is no need to apply for these subsidies, and the Pioneer and Merdeka Generation MediSave top-ups. They are automatically extended to eligible individuals. Singaporeans who experienced a recent, major change in their financial circumstances can appeal for a re-assessment of their eligibility for premium subsidies if needed.
MediShield Life premiums can be fully paid using MediSave, and family members can also utilise their MediSave to help pay the premiums for their loved ones. Singaporeans who continue to face difficulties even after subsidies and have limited family support can apply for Additional Premium Support (APS). If approved, APS will cover all outstanding premiums as well as the premiums for the next two years. APS applications are generally processed within 20 days of receipt. Each application undergoes a thorough and careful assessment, including taking into consideration any extenuating circumstances that the applicant may be facing. No one will lose their MediShield Life coverage due to an inability to pay premiums.