Written Reply to Parliamentary Question on the withdrawal of the hospitalisation and surgical insurance scheme by some Statutory Boards

09 July 2018

Written Reply to Parliamentary Question on the withdrawal of the hospitalisation and surgical insurance scheme by some Statutory Boards

Parliamentary Sitting: 9 July 2018

Er Dr Lee Bee Wah:
To ask the Prime Minister with the withdrawal of the hospitalisation and surgical insurance scheme by some Statutory Boards (a) whether the Ministry is aware that officers previously on this scheme who have pre-existing medical conditions can only get insurance cover under Medishield Life at Class C and B2 levels and that these officers are unable to buy a rider or upgrade for their medical insurance policies; and (b) whether the Ministry can negotiate with insurance companies to offer a comprehensive coverage for all civil servants, especially those with pre-existing illnesses who had better coverage before the withdrawal.

Written Reply by Mr Chan Chun Sing, Minister for Trade & Industry and Minister-in-charge of the Public Service.

Public officers who joined the Service after 1994 are placed on the Medisave-cum-Subsidised Outpatient (MSO) scheme. This is a portable medical benefit scheme which provides 2% of an officer’s monthly salary as additional Medisave contributions, in lieu of hospitalisation benefits, and an annual subsidy of $500 for outpatient treatments. Under the MSO scheme, an officer may receive an additional Medisave contribution of up to $2,730 annually1. The MSO scheme is regularly reviewed to ensure it remains market competitive. In the last review in 2015, the Civil Service increased additional Medisave contributions from 1% to 2%. 

 All Singaporeans are covered under MediShield Life. On top of that, public officers can use their additional Medisave contributions to purchase Integrated Shield Plans (IPs) to supplement their MediShield Life coverage. In addition, the Public Service Division (PSD) has also appointed a panel of insurance companies to offer portable IPs at discounted premiums to public officers and their dependants. These IPs are individual contracts between the officers and insurers, and will continue to cover officers even after they change employers.

 Over and above the MSO scheme benefits, and PSD’s facilitation for public officers and their dependants to take up portable IPs at discounted premiums, one particular Statutory Board (SB) had further arranged for its officers to be covered under a Group Hospitalisation and Surgical (H&S) plan. This is even though there is no obligation to do so. Under H&S plan, the insurance is not portable and will not cover officers after they leave the SB. The H&S plan of the SB expired in Dec 2017. The SB is working to arrange for an insurer to offer H&S coverage to its officers.

 


[1] The maximum additional Medisave contributions that an officer will receive in a year is $2,730, i.e. $140 per month x 17 months (12 months ordinary wages and 5 months additional wages) + $350 (from the $500 outpatient subsidy if unutilised).