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Singapore's MediShield Life to cover three new areas

SINGAPORE'S national health insurance scheme will be extended to cover more health needs, the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced on Wednesday.

People who suffer from chronic intestinal failure and require intravenous nutrition will be able to claim up to S$1,700 a month from MediShield Life and can also take an additional S$200 from their Medisave accounts.

Patients who are admitted to a community hospital from a public hospital's emergency department will also now be covered.

And those suffering from two rare, life threatening conditions - trisomy 18 (where the infant has an extra chromosome) and alobar holoprosencephaly (where the brain fails to divide properly into right and left hemispheres) - can have their surgical operations paid for by the insurance.

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MOH said surgical interventions for these conditions were previously excluded from MediShield Life coverage as treatment was not effective, but more recent international studies have shown that surgical interventions can now improve the quality of life and survival of patients.

Commenting on the changes on his Facebook page, Senior Minister of State for Health Edwin Tong said the move to have MediShield Life cover direct admission to a community hospital from a public hospital's emergency department would "allow care to be provided in the most appropriate setting".

The changes in MediShield Life coverage will not result in premium increases, said MOH, adding that a review of premiums will be conducted by the end of 2020.

Patients who still cannot afford their bills after government subsidies, insurance and Medisave can apply for help from Medifund, the medical safety net.

"No Singaporean will be denied appropriate healthcare due to an inability to pay," said MOH.

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