MediShield Life extended to cover more healthcare needs, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

MediShield Life extended to cover more healthcare needs

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Move is expected to benefit about 2,000 people a year

The national health insurance scheme has been extended to cover more healthcare needs, the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced yesterday.

The move, which will benefit about 2,000 people a year, is part of MOH's continuing review of MediShield Life to "ensure that it provides protection for Singaporeans against large hospital bills and selected costly outpatient treatments, in keeping with developments in medical care".

Since July 15, patients admitted to a community hospital from a public hospital's emergency department have been covered under MediShield Life. They can claim up to $350 a day - the prevailing inpatient limit for community hospitals.

In the past, only patients who had been warded in a public hospital and were transferred to a community hospital for convalescence were covered by MediShield Life.

But MOH said a patient who has been reviewed at a public hospital emergency department and found to be stable, whose condition was clearly diagnosed and who needs a period of medical, nursing and/or rehabilitation care can benefit from direct admission to a community hospital.

Examples of such problems are urinary tract infection or treatment of non-surgical wounds, such as bedsore.

MOH estimates 2,000 patients a year could be admitted directly to a community hospital.

Coverage has also been extended to two other areas, with effect from Nov 1.

People who suffer from chronic intestinal failure and require intravenous nutrition can now claim up to $1,700 a month from MediShield Life and also take an added $200 from their Medisave accounts.

To qualify, they must have a disease that does not allow their bodies to absorb the nutrients from food and requires them to use parenteral nutrition, which is given through the blood in place of normal food, for at least 90 days. Or they need to suffer from one of eight conditions that require them to be on parenteral nutrition.

MOH said there are about 20 patients a month who can now get insurance coverage.

And those with two rare, life-threatening conditions - trisomy 18 (where the infant has an extra chromosome) and alobar holoprosencephaly (where the brain fails to divide properly into right and left hemispheres) - can have surgical operations paid for by the insurance.

These enhancements will not lead to MediShield Life premiums increasing. But premiums, which have been frozen since the launch of MediShield Life in November 2015, will be reviewed by the end of 2020.

Patients who still cannot pay their bills after subsidies, insurance and Medisave can get help from Medifund.