Ms Hazel Poa (Non-Constituency Member): Mr Chairman, MediSave limits are a major concern for the elderly and it is the issue I have been asked most frequently to raise. Many feel that the annual limits of $200 or $500 are inadequate for their needs, given current healthcare costs.
In November last year, Senior Minister of State said that MediSave limits are being reviewed. Can the Minister provide an update on the status of the review?
At the moment, MediSave can be used mainly for hospitalisation and in-patient treatment with limited outpatient treatments allowed. Limiting MediSave to mainly in-patient treatment skews demand towards hospitalisation. Outpatient treatment is cheaper and can manage disease before they worsen and become more costly to treat. If we can allow MediSave to be used more widely on out-patient treatments, we can shift demand towards the lower cost outpatient treatments and help control healthcare costs.
Can the Minister consider expanding the range of outpatient treatments allowed to use MediSave?
Portable Health Insurance
Ms Hazel Poa: Mr Chairman, the issue of portable health insurance was raised by Health Correspondent Salma Khalik in December last year.
Currently, many Singaporeans have integrated plans. As a person gets older, it becomes difficult to move from one insurer to another. This is because people develop medical problems as they grow older. When they tried to switch insurers, they generally face the prospect of these pre-existing conditions being excluded from cover. As a result, beyond a certain age, it becomes practically impossible for people to switch to another insurer even if there is a big difference in premiums paid.
Theoretically, insurers can entice younger people with much lower premiums and later hike the premiums significantly when they are older and unable to switch insurers due to their pre-existing conditions.
Will the Minister consider ensuring that IPs are fully portable by making it a condition for IP providers to allow policy holders to switch providers without imposing additional conditions?