Saturday, March 24, 2012

Frivolous reply by Dr. Yik Keng Yeong

In my letter on Medishield published in the Straits Times, I made the following suggestions:

a) Extend Medishield to cover birth defects
b) Allow people who were not covered earlier to join Medishield and, if necessary, pay a loading due to their medical condition
c) Allow employees who are covered by their employer to stay out of Medishield and join it at a later date, to avoid duplication of coverage.

In his letter published in the Straits Times, Dr. Yik Keng Yeong chose to disagree with me on the trivial points - of whether birth defects is uncontrollable. He also interpreted my suggestions beyond what I had intended.

I checked to see his background and found that he had engaged in similar disputes with other people. See,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.r_qf.,cf.osb&fp=4ad81885ffd0cb3a&biw=1366&bih=663

Importing a population

Virtually an entire populace has been imported in the past 20 years
as Singapore aspires to become an international city
to attract the top brains and the wealthy.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

One stop help for residents in South west District

The South West Community Development Council has introduced a website that coordinates the work of many help agencies. This is a good step. I wish them success.

Here is a portal that can be used to to provide information and allow the work to be done easily.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Time to widen the coverage of Medisheld

14 March 2012

Editor, Forum Page
Straits Times

Time to widen the coverage of Medishield 

Minister for Health Gan Kim Yong wishes to consult the public on his 
proposal to extend Medishield to cover birth defects. He said that premium 
rates will go up. This is likely to be a futile exercise, as some people who do 
not face this risk will be against any change that will add to their cost of living.

As a national insurance scheme, Medishield should be extended to cover
most types of conditions that are outside the control of the individuals. Having
a child with birth defects is clearly an uncontrollable risk that should be covered.

The Minister should also look at other flaws in this system, such as 
the large number of people who did not join this scheme for various reasons at
the time of its implementation and who now wish to be insured. 

Most of these people are older, and may have some chronic illnesses, which prevent them from being accepted under CPF's current underwriting rules. But they do pay a higher premium that is based on their age, and may be willing to pay a loading or surcharge. It is better to allow them to join Medishield and enjoy the benefit from the risk pooling, rather than
to let them remain outside the system. 

Those who are provided with medical benefits by their employers should be allowed
to stay outside of Medishield, if they wish to, and join Medishield at a later date
when they are not employed or not covered. This will avoid the wastage of double
coverage, which add to the cost of living.

As a national scheme, Medishield should adopt an underwriting approach that is
different from profit-making private insurers. The aim should be to provide coverage
for nearly everyone, rather than to select only the healthy lives to make a profit.

If the Minister is worried about increasing the premium, there are other ways of dealing
with this challenge, instead of restricting coverage. Some of the cost can be borne
by the Government and more importantly, the medical charges should be regulated and 
not allowed to escalate due to market failures.

Tan Kin Lian

Monday, March 19, 2012

Electronic gadgets during flight

For a long time, I have suspected that the announcements to switch off electronic equipment during flight takeoff and landing to be exaggerated. My gut feel seems to be correct.

Withdrawal of CPF savings

Here are some suggestions to deal with the problem faced by many cash strapped people who need their CPF savings  at 55, and do not like to see the money locked up in the CPF Minimum Sum Scheme. (Note: this represents my personal views and is not a matter for the Presidential Election).

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Inspect a property before buying it

Someone asked me if there is a service for a person to inspect a property for a buyer, to identify the defects. I understand that this type of service is quite common in other countries, but I am not aware about it being practiced here. Any information or contact?

Assistance on Insurance

I often get request form the public for advice to review their insurance or to buy a new policy. I do not have the time to give this advice. I wish to refer them to Wilfred Ling or to David Soh. They can be contacted here. 

Skype video conferencing

I have participated in a 3 way Skype video conferencing on a few occasions recently, with other parties in different countries. It worked well. It is much better than travelling for a meeting.

We arranged a time to call. I tried to log in earlier and check if the other parties are online. If so, I will call them before the meeting just to establish contact and can call back again at the arranged time. I have also used video, so that it is possible to see the other party "face to face".

I will be trying this approach even with parties in Singapore. It is useful to be in a conference on Skype. Although I knew that this facility was available, and had used in on some past occasions, it becomes more handy when there is real business to discuss around the world!

Buy a home report for $60

Many people spend more than $500,000 to buy a HDB flat or more than $1 million to buy a condominium. That is a lot of money. They make their decision based on information provided by the property agent selling the property who earns a big commission (could be more than $10,000) when they close the sale. Surely, the property agent has a conflict of interest and may not give the best advice to the buyer?

There is an independent and reliable source of information that will help you to make the best decision and it cost you only $60. It is available on this website, . And there is a limited period promotion of $39 only.

I use this service a few times to get a report on the latest trend in market price and rental rates. I find the report to be useful to decide on how much to rent my apartments on the expiry of the lease. When the market moves quickly (either up or down), it is important to keep track of the latest updates, and not rely on a property agent that may have a conflict of interest.

SAP accounting project

I have a SAP financial accounting project for a client. If you are familiar with the platform and can work on this project in Singapore, send e-mail to

Cost of health insurance will increase

Some people were advised to buy health insurance at a younger age, to enjoy a lower premium. This is a delusion. Unlike life insurance where the premium is usually fixed based on the entry age, the premium for health insurance usually increases according to your age. As you get older, you pay a higher premium.

The premium can become quite high as you grow older. This table from NTUC Income ( shows that the premium to be over $4,000 when you are 85. The insurance does not cover the full bill, as you have to pay the deductible and co-insurance, when you are hospitalized. The premium rates charged by other insurance companies are likely to be higher.

You will also find that there is a choice of more than 10 plans just from one insurance company. If you shop around with the other companies, you will have more than 50 plans to choose from. If you talk to an insurance agent, he (or she) is likely to advice you to buy the most expensive plan, as it offers the "best coverage". It seems that cost is not an issue!

When you buy an expensive plan, it may look affordable at a younger age. But you will find it to be more expensive as your grow older. For example, a plan that cost you $400 at age 45 will cost you $4,000 when you are 85 (just look at the same table that is quoted above).

You have to take note of another point. The insurance company has been increasing their premium rates (for the same age group) over the years. What cost $4,000 today, may cost $5,000 a year in 10 years time (or sooner).

Life expectancy of Singapore population

About 50% of people at age 65 will live beyond 85. Many people do not believe this statistic. Here is a detailed report showing the calculations. This is based on the death rates in 2010. As death rates have been falling, people are living longer. So, the proportion will increase in the future. See

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