The Cost of Shielding Yourself

14 May 2013 
SOURCE: Peter Lim
1) What is MediShield?

MediShield is a basic medical insurance that helps Central Provident Fund (CPF) members and their dependants meet large hospitalisation bills. MediShield works most effectively for hospitalisation at Class B2/C level in restructured hospitals.

Additional insurance coverage, for treatment in Class A/B1 in restructured hospitals or treatment in private hospitals, can be obtained by purchasing a Medisave-approved Integrated Shield Plan (IP). An IP is made up of MediShield and a Medisave-approved enhancement plan offered by a private insurer.

2) If I have MediShield, why do I need to purchase an IP?

If one has the means to, he/she should purchase an IP because of the higher benefits and flexibility accorded to the individual. Working within the confines of hospitalization at Class B2/C level in restructured hospitals often mean longer waiting periods for treatment as well as the lack of choice in choosing a doctor.

3) What are the changes to the MediShield coverage and premiums?

  • Increase the maximum coverage age to 90;
  • Extend coverage to inpatient psychiatric treatment at $100 per day up to 35 days per year;
  • Increase the policy year and lifetime limits from $50,000 to $70,000 and from $200,000 to $300,000 respectively;
  • Extend coverage to short-stay wards in Emergency Departments; and
  • Increase the Class B2/C deductibles moderately by $500 for those aged 80 and below.
  • Increase the Medisave withdrawal limits for MediShield and Integrated Shield Plans premiums from $800 to $1,000 for those aged 76 to 80 and from $1,150 to $1,200 for those above age 80
  • Remove the MediShield maximum entry age of 75 to enable healthy uninsured elderly to obtain coverage. The maximum coverage age has been raised from 85 to 90.

Increased coverage of previously uninsured areas consequently also means that premiums will be increased across the board.

4) How does this affect me?

As changes are made to the MediShield plans, private insurers have too offered tweaks to their current scheme offerings. However, as MediShield rates are raised, private insurers will also need to raise their Shield plan rates as they share the premium and claim costs of MediShield with CPF.

With the recent changes, it may be pertinent to have a review with your financial consultant to keep abreast of the changes to your particular insurer. This will enable you to make a more informed decision regarding which private insurer your priorities are aligned with. Take note of what is important to you, for example, if the ability to buy insurance without medical underwriting is your focus, look for an insurer with that unique feature.

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