Summary: Insurance companies have up to 1st April 2020 to launch new Integrated Shield Plan that involves co-payment of at least 5% with a minimum cap of S$3,000. The changes were announced in Parliament on 7th March 2020, with MOH agreeing to the changes.
What are the changes and how does this affects policyholder of new and existing Integrated Shield Plans and riders?
Reasons for changes to the Integrated Shield Plans
With rising medical cost and increasing size of medical bills, it is no wonder that insurance premium for Integrated Shield Plans and riders has been on the rise. This is especially true for shield plans that fully cover medical and hospitalisation bills in ward A and private hospitals. As such, MOH has mandated insurance companies to offer new Integrated Shield Plans and riders with co-payment to their policyholders.
In his parliament speech (Mar 2020), Health Minister Gan Kim Yong noted that existing Integrated Shield Plans and riders offering full deductible and co-insurance encouraged a “buffet mentality”. The reason for such is that no payment is required by the policyholders.
It was noted that such zero payment schemes may cause over-consumption, servicing and charging by healthcare providers. This leads to potentially unnecessary treatments and an overall increase in healthcare costs.
Read about: How does an Integrated Shield Plan work? (Updated)
What is the impact to policyholders of existing Integrated Shield Plans?
According to Senior Minister of State for Health, Chee Hong Tat, “existing rider policies are commercial contracts between insurers and their policyholders”. The existing 1.1 million policyholders of Integrated Shield Plans and Riders are currently not required to make any changes.
However, policyholders switching from full payment coverage to the co-payment scheme should see their premiums lowered. This will results in additional savings on the insurance premium, either on cash or MediSAVE funds.
Any pre-existing conditions that are covered prior to the switch will also not be excluded. This allows existing policyholders a piece of mind that the switch from full payment coverage to co-payment will not result in loss of benefit(s).
What is the impact to new policyholders that do not have Integrated Shield Plans and rider with full coverage?
For new policyholders after 8th March 2020, switching to the new shield plan is compulsory before 1st April 2021. The deadline for implementing co-payment Integrated Shield by insurance companies will be 1st April 2020.
After the above-stated date, no Integrated Shield Plan with full payment can be sold or purchased by policyholders.
How does the 5% co-payment or minimum cap of S$3,000 work?
Under the scheme for new Integrated Shield plans and Integrated Shield Plans riders, policyholders will have to co-pay using MediSAVE funds or cash. The cap of up to S$3,000 only applies if medical treatment is done with an approved panel of doctors by the respective insurers or with prior approval by the insurer.
Failing which, there will be a minimum co-payment of 5%, with no cap to the payable amount per policy year. To date, 4 out of the 6 Integrated Shield Plan providers have an approved panel and/or pre-authorisation.
Going forward, what can we expect with regards to Integrated Shield Plans and medical bills?
With a co-payment medical and hospitalisation scheme, insurance premiums for Integrated Shield Plans and riders are expected to be cheaper compared to current full coverage plans. This is due to more responsible choices made by policyholders on their required and necessary healthcare needs.
These changes are expected to rein in and suppress the increasing cost of the insurance premium on Integrated Shield plan and riders.
How important is an Integrated Shield Plan for medical and hospitalisation coverages?
At interestguru.sg, we believe that an integrated Shield Plan and rider is everyone first line of defence against rising cost and unexpected medical treatments. Upgrading/ enhancing your MediShield Life with an Integrated Shield Plan should be your first priority.
Having said that, just upgrading your MediShield Life to an Integrated Shield plan is not all that is required for comprehensive protection coverage. Learn more about the limitations of Integrated Shield Plans and what to take into consideration for all your health and protection needs.
Got a question about Integrated Shield Plan and riders or looking to upgrade your MediShield Life coverage?
Use our Compare NOW to know more about getting the right Integrated Shield Plan and rider for your hospitalisation and medical treatment coverage.
Alternatively, Drop us a message and let InterestGuru.sg help you with finding the most suitable Integrated Shield Plan.
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