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Monday, 12 November 2012

MediShield deductibles up from next March

SINGAPORE: Health Minister Gan Kim Yong announced in Parliament Monday that MediShield deductibles for Class B2 and C will be raised to keep premiums affordable and to help MediShield focus on larger bills.

Class B2 and C patients will have to pay MediShield deductibles of S$1,500 and S$2,000 respectively from 1 March 2013.

In the meantime, smaller bills can be covered by Medisave or cash, the minister said.

Mr Gan announced this when Non-Constituency MP Gerald Giam asked if the government could consider providing additional assistance to Class B2 and C patients beyond the S$50 to S$400 one-off Medisave top-ups.

MediShield is a catastrophic insurance scheme designed to cover larger hospitalisation bills. It complements Medisave, which can be used to pay the annual deductible and co-insurance components under MediShield, and any remaining portion of the bill.

"The Medisave top-ups are part of the government's targeted efforts to enhance Singaporeans' Medisave adequacy and help the more vulnerable with their healthcare expenses. Those who still face difficulty managing their healthcare bills can apply for financial assistance from the public healthcare institutions via the Medifund. We have topped up Medifund by S$600 million as announced in this year's budget and this will provide more help for needy patients," Mr Gan said.

MediShield is also set to be enhanced next March and will include an increase of the MediShield policy year claim limit and lifetime claim limit to S$70,000 and S$300,000 respectively.

Mr Gan noted the concerns of the elderly and low-income earners about the higher deductibles but said that besides the one-off Medisave top-up of up to S$400, eligible elderly will also receive annual Medisave top-ups of up to S$450 under the GST Voucher scheme.

He added that low-wage workers who qualify for the Workfare Income Supplement (WIS) Scheme would receive part of their WIS payouts in their Medisave account.

On top of these, Mr Gan said the government provides ad-hoc Medisave top-ups when the budget situation permits, which have totalled S$2.2 billion since 2005.

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