You need to start paying MediShield Life premiums after it gets implemented on November 1. Here’s how to do it.
Starting November 1, 2015, the new MediShield Life policy will replace MediShield. It comes with more benefits and higher medical claims, as well as higher premiums. But what if you cannot afford to pay the premium? Or have dependents who don’t have money in their CPF accounts?
What is MediShield Life?
MediShield Life is what the government calls the enhanced version of MediShield. Instead of covering you until you turn 92, MediShield Life covers you until death. It has also done away with a maximum claim limit in your lifetime, and has increased maximum claim limit per year to S$100,000 (from the previous S$70,000). And unlike before, it now covers pre-existing medical conditions like HIV.
The MediShield Life implementation is compulsory for all Singaporeans and Permanent Residents (PRs)–so you can’t opt out of it regardless of how you feel.
To find out more, check out Ministry Of Health (MOH)’s website.
The cost of the premiums is dependent on your age, monthly income per person in your household, and annual value of your residence. It gets more expensive with age, as with most insurance plans. You can find an estimation of how much you’ll need to pay with this nifty MediShield Life calculator.
To ease you into this new policy implementation, the government is giving transitional subsidies to Singapore citizens spread over the next four years. Those in the Pioneer Generation get Pioneer Generation Subsidies for life.
The premiums will be deducted from your Medisave account, so you basically wouldn’t have to do anything.
Here’s how different types of Singaporeans can pay for MediShield Life.
If You Have a Pre-Existing Condition
Unlike MediShield, MediShield Life covers pre-existing conditions like cancer and stroke.
You’ll have to pay your premiums through your Medisave account. However, if your pre-existing condition is considered by MOH to be serious, you’ll have to pay 30% more in premiums for the next 10 years.
If the health condition started after the implementation of MediShield Life, you’ll not be considered to have a pre-existing condition.
If You’re in the Lower-Income Group
If your household has a per capita monthly income of S$2,600 or less and the annual value of your property is S$21,000 or lower, you’ll be eligible for permanent subsidies to offset your MediShield Life premiums. This is applicable for both Singaporeans and PRs.
On top of this, you’ll also receive the transitional subsidies if you’re a Singapore citizen. If you’re in the Pioneer Generation, you’ll receive 40% – 60% in subsidies on top of these other subsidies.
If You Don’t Have Money in Your Medisave
If you’ve run out of money in your Medisave account or have never had money in it (if you’re a student, etc), you can use your parent’s, sibling’s, or children’s Medisave accounts to pay the premiums, so long as they have sufficient funds.
You can also use cash to top up your own Medisave account.
If you still cannot afford it, the government will review your case and decide if you’re eligible for Additional Premium Support.
You will not be able to pay for the premiums using your other CPF accounts, as those are set aside for other things like retirement.
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If You’re the Breadwinner of Your Family
You’ll have to pay for your children’s premiums. If your parents’ or spouse’s Medisave has run out, you can also pay on their behalf, or give them cash for topping up. However, if you wish to opt out of paying for your parents’ premiums, you can cancel the arrangement when you’re notified to make payment.
Or if you’re a single parent, you are responsible for paying for your children’s premiums.
If You’re a Permanent Resident
Your premiums will be deducted through your Medisave account. However, you will not be entitled to the transitional subsidies. If you need extra subsidies (if you’re in the lower-income group, etc), you’re eligible to qualify for the permanent subsidies, albeit half of what Singapore citizens would get.
If you have family members who aren’t PRs, they will not be covered under this scheme.
If You Live Overseas
You’re not allowed to opt out of the MediShield Life scheme. You’ll still have to pay for premiums, regardless of how long you’ve lived out of Singapore. If your Medisave account has run out of money, you can top it up with cash or use your immediate family’s Medisave accounts to pay on your behalf.
If Your Immediate Family Member Passed On
If you’re paying for an immediate family member but they have passed on, the premiums you’ve paid will be pro-rated and refunded to your account. This will be calculated based on the number of months left in the year.
However, if the family member has been paying for their MediShield Life premiums from their Medisave accounts, the refund will go into their accounts and split between family members.
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By Jehanne Teo
Starting out as a lifestyle writer, Jehanne currently writes for SingSaver.com.sg about saving money in everyday situations.