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25,000 S'pore residents with pre-existing conditions to pay additional premiums under MediShield Life

TWENTY-FIVE thousand Singapore residents with serious pre-existing conditions will have to pay additional premiums under MediShield Life, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said.

They will pay 30 per cent addition premiums for 10 years, after which they will pay the same standard premiums as others in their age group, irrespective of any future health conditions.

The national universal healthcare scheme will be rolled out on Nov 1, 2015 and will cover all Singaporeans and Permanent Residents (PRs) for life, including those with pre-existing conditions that are not currently covered under MediShield.

"The government will support most of the cost of extending MediShield Life coverage to those with serious pre-existing conditions, while these individuals will only need to pay 30 per cent additional premiums for 10 years," MOH said on Monday. Of the 25,000, about 23,000 are currently uninsured. Two thousand are insured under MediShield or Integrated Shield Plans (IPs) but with exclusions.

Serious conditions are seen as those that require intensive medical intervention to treat or manage; or may required prolonged treatment as they have high risk of future complications or recurrence.

Meanwhile, a medical condition that develops after the MediShield or IP cover commences is not considered a pre-existing condition.

Minister for Health Gan Kim Yong said: "We have taken a fair and compassionate approach in identifying Singaporeans who will be subject to the additional premiums and they make up less than one per cent of all residents. Most of them would not be able to purchase insurance and would have been bearing high medical costs without any insurance protection over the past years. With MediShield Life, they can now be covered for life and receive help with their large medical bills."

The CPF Board will inform the individuals who need to pay additional premiums between now and late October.

Subsidies are also being made available, such as for lower- to middle-income households, those in the Pioneer Generation and transitional subsidies for Singaporean citizens who face a net increase in their MediShield Life premiums. Additional support will be given to those who cannot afford their premiums even after subsidies.

Medisave may be tapped to pay the full MediShield Life premiums, including the additional premiums.