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Debunking the Myths About CPF Healthcare Schemes

22 Oct 2019 
SOURCE: CPF Board

Knowing your MediSave from your MediShield Life is the first step towards taking care of your finances for healthcare needs.


A recent study concluded that Singaporeans have the longest expectancy in the world, but that also means we should plan for an increase in our healthcare needs. To help us with that, the government has put in place or enhanced various healthcare schemes over the years. However, information on these schemes is sometimes misrepresented online. Here are five common misconceptions — and the truths — on the use of CPF savings for healthcare:

MYTH: MEDISHIELD LIFE IS THE NEW MEDISAVE

FACT: MediSave ≠ MediShield Life

MediSave is a national savings scheme that helps Singaporeans set aside a portion of their income in their MediSave Account (MA) to meet their future personal or approved dependant’s hospitalisation, day surgery and certain outpatient expenses. 

On the other hand, MediShield Life is a national basic healthcare insurance scheme that protects all Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents against large hospitalisation bills for life, regardless of age or health condition. CPF members can use MediSave to pay for their MediShield Life premiums, as well as the deductible and co-insurance portions of their healthcare bills. 

Both MediSave and MediShield Life work hand-in-hand to help keep healthcare costs affordable for us!

MYTH: IF I CAN’T PAY MY MEDISHIELD LIFE PREMIUMS, I’LL GO TO JAIL

FACT: You will not be arrested if you are unable to pay your MediShield Life premiums. 

The government provides various forms of support to help members who are unable to meet their premium payments. Here are some of the support available: 

  • Premium subsidies for the lower- to middle-income 
  • Pioneer Generation subsidies and MediSave top-ups for the Pioneer Generation
  • Merdeka Generation subsidies and MediSave top-ups for the Merdeka Generation
  • Additional Premium Support (APS) for those who can’t afford the premiums even after premium subsidies, MediSave and family support.
With these subsidies, no one will have to worry about losing their MediShield Life coverage due to financial difficulties. 

MYTH: I CAN ONLY USE MEDISAVE AND MEDISHIELD LIFE AT POLYCLINICS AND PUBLIC HOSPITALS.

FACT: This is not true. You can use your MediSave at all public healthcare institutions, as well as approved private hospitals and medical institutions! Click here for the full list.

Do you know, older members can also use more of their MediSave Account savings, under Flexi-MediSave. This allows patients aged 60 and above to use up to $200 a year from their own or their spouse’s MediSave for outpatient medical treatment at Specialist Outpatient Clinics (SOCs), polyclinics and GP clinics that are participating in the Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS).

Under MediShield Life, you can also make claims for healthcare bills incurred at all hospitals, including private hospitals. However, MediShield Life benefits are sized for subsidised bills incurred in B2/C wards at public hospitals. If you opt for the unsubsidised A/B1 ward at a public hospital or a private hospital, MediShield Life will cover a smaller proportion of the bill as non-subsidised bills are much higher. You can use your MediSave or cash to pay the balance not covered by MediShield Life.

MYTH: I HAVE AN INTEGRATED SHIELD PLAN (IP) WITH A PRIVATE INSURER, SO I AM PAYING DOUBLE PREMIUMS FOR MY IP AND MEDISHIELD LIFE.

FACT: No, you are not. IPs comprise two parts: the MediShield Life component and a private insurance component offered by a private insurer, which expands your coverage. If you have an IP, you will still receive the MediShield Life premium subsidies applicable to you. However, IP policyholders are not eligible for Additional Premium Support (APS) under MediShield Life.

With the IP, you can enjoy higher coverage when you stay in A/B1 type wards in public hospitals or private hospitals.

The premiums paid to private insurers include a portion that will be paid to CPF Board for your MediShield Life premiums. IP policyholders will find that their private insurer is their single point of contact. These insurers will act on behalf of the CPF Board to collect premiums and pay out claims for the MediShield Life component of your IP. You can log in to “my cpf Online Services” to check your premium deduction.

If you do decide at any point to discontinue your IP, all Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents will still continue to be covered under MediShield Life.

MYTH: I NEED TO TOP UP MY MEDISAVE IF I DO NOT MEET THE BASIC HEALTHCARE SUM

FACT: You will not be required to top up your MediSave Account (MA) if you do not meet the Basic Healthcare Sum (BHS).

The BHS is the estimated savings you need for your basic subsidised healthcare needs in old age. It is the maximum amount you can have in your MA, and is reviewed on an annual basis to align with the growth of MediSave use by the elderly. Your BHS is fixed once you turn 65, and will remain the same for the rest of your life. 

While it is recommended to meet the BHS, those who do not will not have to top up their MA. MA savings you have above the BHS will flow to your Special or Retirement Account to boost your monthly payouts in retirement. Read more about BHS here.  

Have you been getting the right information? If you are unsure, always double check your facts with us! You can write in to us, or make an appointment to speak to us at any of our CPF Service Centres!

 

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