Printed in Straits Times Online Forum on 22 September 2009
I congratulate the Ministry of Health for their success in getting 84 percent of the population covered under Medishield. Getting the remaining 16 percent to be covered will be a challenge, especially if some of the uninsured find it difficult to meet the underwriting requirements or are rejected due to pre-existing conditions.
Medishield is a national scheme. It should operate on different principles from commercial insurance, where the insurers cherry pick to select the healthy lives. It should be made available to all, preferably without underwriting.
In my earlier letter, I suggested that a window period be given to all existing uninsured to join Medishield without underwriting. Those who join during this window period will have their existing illnesses excluded or partially covered for a period of two years and fully covered afterwards.
I did not suggest that this they be allowed to join the scheme at any future date on these special terms. I agree with the Ministry that people should join when they are young and healthy, and not wait for a serious illness to develop before they join the scheme. The proposed window period will make it attractive for the uninsured to join Medishield now and not wait longer.
I hope to clarify my suggestion and that the Ministry will consider it.
Tan Kin Lian
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