Last year, the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced that the national health insurance scheme, MediShield Life, has been extended to cover more healthcare needs, and part of this extension impacts our patients at SCH.
Since 15 July 2018, patients admitted to a community hospital from a public hospital's emergency department have been covered under MediShield Life. To educate ourselves more about how the extension of MediShield Life would benefit our patients at the CH, we spoke to Ms Angeline Leong from SKCH Business Office (BO) to get her insights.
Q: Firstly, who and what does MediShield Life cover?
A: MediShield Life covers the basic fees for treatment for all Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents at subsidised wards (B2/C class) at community hospitals regardless of pre-existing conditions.
Q: With increased coverage, how much can community hospital patients claim from MediShield Life?
A: Patients can claim up to $350 per day, and up to 28 days – the prevailing inpatient limit for community hospitals. After which, it will be subjected to MOH's approval on a case-by-case basis.
Q: How is this different from the past?
A: Previously, only patients who had been warded at a public hospital and were transferred to a community hospital for rehabilitation were covered. With the extension, patients warded directly to the community hospital from a public hospital emergency department are also covered by MediShield Life.
These patients should have been clearly diagnosed, in stable condition, and who also require a period of medical, nursing and/or rehabilitation care that a community hospital can provide. For example, patients with minor injuries, or are suffering from lower back pains but do not require surgery, or have their physical condition deteriorated from lack of exercise are eligible for direct admission to a community hospital.
According to an article by The Straits Times, MOH estimates that about 2,000 patients a year could be sent directly to a community hospital.
Q: What are some of the common questions that patients and their caregivers ask about MediShield Life?
A: Common questions by patients and caregivers include 'what is MediShield Life', 'what coverage does MediShield Life offer', 'what is the difference between MediShield Life and MediSave' and whether they are covered under MediShield Life.
Q: How should staff respond to the above questions?
A: We will usually try to breakdown the MediShield Life scheme into laymen terms for patients' better understanding. For example, we will explain that MediShield Life is similar to a hospitalisation insurance plan, which can help to cover a significant portion of a patient's bills during his or her inpatient stay with us, while MediSave is where a portion of our CPF savings may be used to pay for our hospitalisation bills. In addition, we will also educate patients that all Singaporeans and Permanent Residents are covered under MediShield Life by default.
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