Printed in Straits Times Forum Page, 8 March 2011
MANY elderly people opt to be insured under basic MediShield to cover their medical expenses at an affordable premium ('Stumped by low MediShield payout' by Ms Goh Poh Kheng; yesterday). They accept treatment in a subsidised ward and must pay the deductible and co-insurance of 20 per cent from their Medisave accounts.
They should not be subject to the further uncertainty caused by the pro-ration of the bill due to means testing.
The Ministry of Health should allow patients to pay a slightly higher premium to be excluded from this pro-ration formula. This will allow for greater transparency and give them more certainty on the coverage under basic MediShield.
Many people are now advised to transfer to a private Shield plan to obtain higher coverage. However, the premium for such a plan can be much costlier and the co-payments, in the event of a claim, can also be higher.
This will be outside the financial means of many elderly patients, who need to conserve their Medisave for their old-age needs. Private Shield plans should be only for those who are well-off.
I hope the ministry will consider making basic MediShield the default plan for the large number of seniors who cannot afford to use their Medisave for higher insurance premiums and co-payments.
Tan Kin Lian
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