Tuesday, August 23, 2011

No cover when you need it most - Have you upgraded yours?

ST Forum
No cover when you need it most
22 August 2011
Straits Times
(c) 2011 Singapore Press Holdings Limited

LIKE Mr Leong Quee Hian ("MediShield burden"; last Wednesday), my dad had signed up for MediShield cover when it was launched years ago. The cover expired in April when my dad reached the age limit of 85.

My dad was diagnosed with advance prostate cancer late last year and is currently receiving treatment.
While his treatment is MediShield claimable, he is unable to claim due to his age.

It is an anomaly that after paying the required premiums until 84, the insurance suddenly ceases coverage upon one reaching the age of 85, when one would need it most. We pay for MediShield to cover ourselves should we fall sick. The possibility of one falling ill after 85 is higher but ironically, the cover lapses.

In 2008, Madam Halimah Yacob (then head of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Health)
mentioned that medical insurance needed to be extended to cover people beyond the age of 85
("MediShield cover for those over 85?"; Jan 18, 2008). The issue seems to have been sidelined and to
date, MediShield still ceases to cover beyond age 85.

In an e-mail reply to me in September last year, the Ministry of Health explained that the age limit of the
scheme had been regularly reviewed and increased in line with the life expectancy of Singaporeans, the
last review being in 2006, when it was raised from age 80 to 85.

It has been a few years since Madam Halimah's comments and I was hoping that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's National Day Rally speech would address the issue, but it did not.

Potentially huge medical bills not only pose a financial burden to elderly patients, but also an emotional burden to some. Elderly patients above 85 years will definitely be under greater stress knowing that every cent (if any) they had painstakingly saved over the years may be insufficient to meet hefty hospital bills without the MediShield cover.

Some may also feel guilty of being a financial burden to their children (especially if their children have retired), who may have their own family's needs to take care of. I hope the relevant authorities will review and raise the age limit as soon as possible.

Sharon Peh (Ms)
P.S Have you upgraded yours?

No comments:

Post a Comment