Reply to Parliamentary Question on healthcare insurance during COVID-19
QUESTION NO 3669
NOTICE PAPER 2137 OF 2020
FOR WRITTEN ANSWER
Date: For Parliament Sitting on 5 June 2020
Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Ms Sylvia Lim, MP, Aljunied GRC
To ask the Prime Minister whether the Government will advise healthcare insurers to provide a one-off extension of hospitalisation policies to cover elective surgeries that have been postponed due to the COVID-19 circuit breaker restrictions.
Answer by Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Senior Minister and Minister in charge of MAS:
1 Due to COVID-19, many elective surgeries were put on hold since February this year. The Ministry of Health has announced that from 2 June, medical procedures for patients with higher needs will resume, while the less urgent elective medical procedures may continue to be deferred.
2 The postponement of elective surgeries should not result in any loss of health insurance coverage for policyholders. All Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents are covered under MediShield Life for the lifetime of the policyholder, and will not be affected by the deferment of the surgeries.
3 As for those who have taken on additional health coverage, such as Integrated Shield Plans (IPs), other types of individual medical expense plans, and employer-based group medical expense policies, these policies are typically renewed every year, either by the individual or the employer. This means that coverage under these policies will also not be affected by the deferment of surgeries.
4 However, there may be some instances where the policyholder does not, or is unable to, renew a private health policy, and hence coverage is affected by the postponement of the elective surgery. The MAS has informed insurers of its expectations that they treat customers fairly and consider these claims favourably if the postponement of these procedures was solely due to COVID-19. Policyholders are advised to approach their insurers to discuss the circumstances of their claims. If that fails, they can appeal through their Members of Parliament or directly to MAS.