Martin Lee @ Sg
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Medishield and Means Testing

Ms Goh Poh Kheng wrote in to the forum the other day to express her surprise at the low payout from Medishield for her father’s hospitalisation.

The bill size was $2300 after a government subsidy for staying in C class.

Based on a deductible of $1000 and co-insurance of 20%, her father should be able to claim about $1000 from Medishield.

Yet, the MediShield claim was only $450.

After calling up various parties and going round in circles, Ms Goh finally found that the claim was lower due to Means Testing.

This is exactly what I wrote about when MOH decided to introduce Means Testing. This is a salient point that not everyone understands so you probably want to go and read that post about Means Testing and Medishield if you have not already done so.

The fact is that if you are earning more than $3200/month or unemployed but staying in private property, your claim from Medishield will be lower than the rest of the people as the additional unsubsidized portion of your bill will not be covered by Medishield. If you think that is not you bargain for, you should consider getting a private insurance plan that covers you for at least B1 ward even if your intention is to stay is class C ward.

Some people have suggested to increase the Medishield premiums for everyone and cover this unsubsidized portion of the bill for those who are affected by Means Testing. The advantage of this is to reduce the complexity of medical bills.

However, implementing this will mean those not affected by Means Testing are indirectly subsidizing the premiums of those who are. This does not really make much sense as it would go against the spirit of Means Testing.

If the government really wanted to do this, it wouldn’t have introduced Means Testing in the first place.

Another way is for those who are affected by Means Testing to pay a slightly higher Medishield premium in order to still cover his bill as if he was not on Means Testing. Actually, this is already in place all along. You can do it by upgrading your basic Medishield to a lower end private integrated shield plan.

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1 comment
Nuts says 8 years ago

Law of unintended consequences. Back in 2006-2008, when inflation escalated including also for hospital costs, everybody and their dog were KPKB-ing about insufficient C Class beds. At that time, newspapers were even reporting about rich folks regularly checking themselves into C Class wards. I guess the writing was on the wall then.

I admit that I also bo-chap and just gave the info a cursory overview, coz I’m lower income and staying in lowly HDB flat. But likely an unpleasant shock for many working people. Many people are getting $3200+/mth salary these days.

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