At the launch of the Medishield booklet yesterday (August 2) at ITE College West, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong announced that the national healthcare insurance, Medishield Life, will start on November 1.
Those with existing Medishield or private shield plans will need not pay for Medishield Life premiums until their next policy renewal date. For those who have no health insurance, they will receiver a letter regarding their new coverage in October.
The hardest hit will be those with pre-existing medical conditions who have to pay 30% more in premiums. Pre-existing medical conditions will also be listed according to their severity like cancer stages. Those with pre-existing medical conditions can also appeal to pay lesser premiums if they are prove that their conditions have improved and have not seen a relapse for years.
Till today, the Singapore Government did not publish the cost of Medishield premiums even though they are paid through the Medisave Account in CPF. However the cost will definitely be more expensive than the existing Medishield premiums.
Singaporeans living overseas are not exempted from Medishield Life premiums, even though they do not reside in Singapore. In his Parliamentary speech this January, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong’s explanation was that these overseas Singaporeans will “get to enjoy healthcare subsidies should they return to Singapore for treatment”.
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong have also emphasized that he will jail Singaporeans who do not pay Medishield Life premiums. The Singapore Government has also passed a bill in 2013 that they will access personal bank accounts of premium defaulters. And defaulters who try to leave the country will face a fine of up to $5,000 and imprisonment for up to a year, or both, in addition to a 17% penalty charge.