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     FrontPage Edition: Thu 11 January 2007

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Changes to Medisave and MediShield in 2007


Further measures to ensure healthcare affordability

Minister for Health, Mr Khaw Boon Wan announced at a TV forum that the Ministry of Health is currently reviewing Medisave and MediShield policies, and intends to implement the following changes in 2007.
First, the Ministry of Health will increase the Medisave inpatient daily withdrawal limit from $400 to $450. The aim is to further assist middle-income Singaporeans, who have adequate monies in their Medisave, to better afford Class B1 and higher wards.
In April 2006, the inpatient daily limit had been raised from $300 to $400. Based on data from April to August 2006, this increase has helped Singaporeans better afford their medical expenses.
For an average A/private ward class bill, Medisave can now cover 57% of the bill, compared to 52% before the increase. For an average Class B1 bill, Medisave can now cover 76% of the non-surgical component of the bill, compared to 67% earlier.
With the proposed increase to $450, more patients will be able to reduce their cash outlay as they can use more of their Medisave to pay for hospital bills.
Second, the Ministry of Health plans to allow Medisave use for MRI and CT scans, if they form part of an outpatient cancer treatment. Today, this is allowed only for inpatient treatments.
Medisave is currently not allowed for diagnostic scans, because of the strong likelihood of abuse, which is evidenced and demonstrated in many countries.
However, we have reviewed and determined that MRI and CT scans currently form part of the standard of care for many cancer conditions, in particular for diagnostic and treatment evaluation (e.g. tumour staging), and possibility of abuse is less.
Third, the Ministry of Health will be reviewing MediShield in 2007 to further improve the financing support to patients.
Following the 2005 MediShield reform, cherry-picking was eliminated. MediShield regained its financial viability. Patients with large bills have benefited from larger payouts and saved thousands of dollars, with co-payment reduced from 60% to 40% of hospital bills.
Moving ahead, our preliminary feedback suggests that Singaporeans are prepared to pay higher premiums for greater MediShield payouts, provided the premium increase is not too big.
MOH intends to further reduce the co-payment, in particular the deductibles of Medisave-approved private insurance plans, in 2007.
MOH will finalise the details for these measures in due course and implementation is expected from the middle to the end of 2007.
The TV Forum will be broadcast on 11 Jan (Thursday) at 10:30pm to 11:30pm on Channel 8. There will be a repeat broadcast on 15 Jan (Monday) at 1:30pm to 2:30pm on Channel 8.

Source: Press Release 11 Jan 2007

- Medisave can now be used for outpatient treatment of three additional chronic diseases

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