Singaporeans living abroad are to remain covered under MediShield Life, but those who meet the eligibility criteria now have the option to apply to suspend their MediShield Life premiums.

This move was recently announced by the Ministry of Health, based on the recommendations of the MediShield Life Council (MLC).

Those overseas can now apply for suspension

To be eligible, Singaporeans living abroad should have no intention to reside in Singapore, possess a permanent residency permit in their country of residence, have resided outside Singapore for at least five years immediately preceding their application, have the ability to afford healthcare treatment in their country of residence, and declare that they do not need to rely on MediShield Life for health support.

This set of recommendations was made according to a review conducted by the MLC, which sought feedback from both overseas as well as local Singaporeans. According to the MLC, the final recommendations were put in place only after “extensive deliberations and careful consideration of the many good ideas and suggestions received”.

Although the MLC said that every Singaporean had the “collective responsibility” to contribute to the MediShield Life scheme, at the same time they also recognised that there exists a small but significant group of overseas Singaporeans who have elected to live abroad permanently and will not benefit much from paying their MediShield Life premiums.

MLC chairman Fang Ai Lian said, “This was a complex issue and the council took into consideration the varying circumstances of different groups of Singaporeans.”

She added that the ultimate aim of the MLC is to ensure that MediShield Life still continues to meet the healthcare needs of all Singaporeans.

Suspension will not affect future MediShield eligibility

If successfully granted, the suspension of MediShield Life will continue as long as applicants continue to fulfil the eligibility criteria. Once applicants fail to continue to meet the criteria, they will be required to pay the accumulated sum of previous unpaid premiums, together with compound interest.

However, applicants will not need to fork out additional premiums for any health conditions that may have developed during their suspension.

Application for the suspension of MediShield Life begins from 7 October. Singaporeans living abroad who are keen can apply to the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board.

MediShield Life is a basic health insurance plan administered by the CPF Board and is designed to help Singaporeans to pay for large hospital bills and selected costly outpatient treatments like dialysis for diabetes or chemotherapy for cancer.

MediShield Life covers all Singaporean citizens and permanent residents for life. MIMS

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