Medishield Life Explained

Singaporeans and permanent residents are insured throughout their entire life under the MediShield Life package, which offsets hospital bills and outpatient treatments.

What is MediShield Life?

MediShield Life is a basic health insurance that covers all Singaporeans and permanent residents (PRs) for life, regardless of their age or any pre-existing condition. It subsidises treatment in public hospitals and stays in class B2/C wards — the payout is based on how much the hospital charges are. MediShield Life also covers selected outpatient treatments such as kidney dialysis and chemotherapy.

MediShield Life replaced MediShield as Singapore’s national health insurance scheme in 2015.

Difference between MediSave and MediShield Life

MediSave is a personal savings account in a person’s Central Provident Fund (CPF) account. It is compulsory for CPF users to set aside part of their income to offset any personal or dependents’ hospital bills, outpatient expenses, and other healthcare needs.

MediSave and MediShield Life can be used together to pay any hospital bills. MediShield Life offsets the more expensive class B2/C hospital stays while MediSave pays for the smaller charges.

MediShield Life can also be used to pay for stays in private hospitals or in class A/B1/B2+ wards. However, as it costs more to stay in these wards, MediShield Life covers a smaller portion of the bill. The balance can come from MediSave or paid in cash.

The types of treatments MediSave covers have been expanded over the years. It now includes long-term treatment for chronic illnesses like cancer, and preventive health measures such as vaccinations for newborns and health screenings.

Benefits of MediShield Life

1.   It covers everyone

MediShield Life covers all Singaporeans and PRs, even those with pre-existing conditions and those who were previously rejected by insurers.

2.   It’s better than its predecessor, MediShield

MediShield Life has higher claim limits and lower co-insurance rates, so you pay less.

3.   It offers lifetime coverage

MediShield Life covers all Singaporeans and PRs throughout their life. However, you cannot opt out of MediShield Life, unlike in the previous MediShield scheme.

4.   You can use MediSave to pay the premiums

MediSave can be used to pay for MediShield Life’s premiums. Singapore’s government also subsidises the premiums of lower- and middle-income Singaporeans, and people from the pioneer generation.

Premiums — whether your own or your dependents’ — are automatically deducted from your MediSave account annually. About a month before your MediShield Life plan is up for renewal, a letter will be sent informing you about how much your premium charges are, and if you qualify for any subsidies.

What MediShield Life covers and does not cover

There are three key aspects to MediShield Life: Claim Limits, deductibles, and copayments.

(a) Claim Limits

MediShield Life covers hospitalisation, surgery, and ward fees. Each person is allowed to claim a maximum of S$150,000 a year. There are no lifetime limits on claims.

Ward and treatment charges are limited to S$800 a day, while stays in the intensive care units are covered up to S$2,200 a day. Claims for surgical procedures are limited to between S$240 to S$2,600.

A breakdown of what MediShield Life covers:

Inpatient Treatment
Daily Ward and Treatment Charges (Singapore dollars)
Normal Ward$800/day
Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Ward$2,200/day
Community Hospital$430/day
Surgical procedures$240 to $2,600
Outpatient Treatment
Chemotherapy for Cancer$3,000/month
Radiotherapy (Brachytherapy)$500/treatment session
Radiotherapy (Superficial or External)$300/treatment session
Maximum Claim Limits
Per Policy Year$150,000
Maximum Coverage AgeNo maximum age
LifetimeNo limit
Co-Insurance
Claimable Amount
$0 – $3,00010%
$3,001 – $5,00010%
$5,001 – $10,0005%
>$10,0003%
Outpatient Treatments10%

(b) Deductible

MediShield Life does not provide full coverage of your hospital bill. It usually requires you to foot part of the bill, an amount known as deductible. Deductibles were introduced to reduce the number of small claims since most people can afford to pay for them. It also keeps premiums low.

Annual Deductible
Age BandAge 80 & UnderAge 81 & Over
Class C$1,500$2,000
Class B2 & Above$2,000$3,000

(c) Copayments

Aside from deductibles, you also have to copay part of your hospital bill. This is usually around 3% to 10% of your total hospital bill. The amount falls as your hospital bill increases.

How to file a MediShield Life claim

Source: Singapore’s Ministry of Health

If you do not have an Integrated Shield plan

Filing a claim under MediShield Life is easy — inform the staff handling your hospital admission or outpatient treatment that you want to make a claim, and the hospital or clinic will submit the claim on your behalf.

The CPF board will process your claim and issue a payout that offsets part of your bill. The remaining charges can be covered by MediSave and cash.

If you have a private Integrated Shield plan

In this case, you submit your claim to the private insurer, which will process your claim and pay the hospital or clinic on your behalf. Any remaining charges are covered by MediSave and cash.

What the Integrated Shield plan helps with

An Integrated Shield plan supplements your MediShield Life plan. It is managed by selected private insurers in Singapore.

Unlike MediShield Life, an Integrated Shield plan is not compulsory.

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