The Ministry of Health has revealed that MediShield Life claim limits have fallen short of the targets set when the national health insurance scheme was introduced in 2015.
In a letter published in the Straits Times, the Health Ministry said that:
“When MediShield Life was launched in 2015, the claim limits were set to cover 9 out of 10 subsidised bills. Based on latest available figures, 8 in 10 subsidised bills were within the MediShield Life claim limits, and 9 in 10 were within $230 of the claim limits. The remaining bills tend to be those of a more complex nature or were cases which involved higher income patients who received lower means-tested subsidies.”
The Health Ministry reported that 30 percent of patients will still need to splash the cash for co-payment of medical bills, even after using their Medisave and MediShield Life claims.
“Even with the co-payment, MediShield Life, in tandem with Medisave, allows for eight in 10 subsidised hospital bills to be paid with $100 or less in cash, and seven in 10 are fully paid without any additional cash outlay by the patient.”
MediShield Life, a compulsory basic insurance that is aimed at keeping healthcare costs affordable, has been widely criticised for its claims limits which vary across different medical treatments.
Back in 2015, SDP chairman and medical doctor Prof Paul Tambyah criticised the scheme, which caps insurer’s payments once a patient’s hospital bill crosses a certain limit.
“This is unique, uniquely Singapore. In no other health insurance in the world is there a cap on how much the insurance pays. There is usually a cap on how much you pay as a patient… It’s like persuading these old grandmothers to spend their hard-earned savings on koyok that doesn’t work.”
MOH said that there is an “ongoing review” of claim limits and the impact of these claim limits on premiums.
The review will be completed by the end of 2020.