Changes to Integrated Shield Plan (2023)

Starting from 1 April 2023, notable changes will be implemented to cancer coverage under Integrated Shield Plans in Singapore. 

April 2, 2023

Integrated Shield Plans (IPs) are optional health insurance policies provided by private insurers in Singapore. These plans offer additional coverage on top of the basic national health insurance scheme, MediShield Life, to help policyholders access a wider range of healthcare services, such as higher ward classes and private hospitals. With almost 3 million Singaporeans having an IP, these plans play a significant role in the country's healthcare landscape.

Starting from 1 April 2023, notable changes will be implemented to cancer coverage under Integrated Shield Plans in Singapore.

Changes: MediShield Life Coverage

MOH-approved outpatient cancer drug services coverage

Starting from 1 September 2022, MediShield Life has restricted its coverage to only include MOH-approved outpatient cancer drug services. This change means that patients seeking reimbursement for cancer drug services under MediShield Life must undergo treatments that are approved by the Ministry of Health (MOH). This adjustment ensures that patients receive evidence-based treatments that have been reviewed and endorsed by the MOH for their efficacy and safety.


Higher annual claim limit for cancer drug services

In conjunction with the coverage restriction to MOH-approved outpatient cancer drug services, MediShield Life has increased the annual claim limit for these services. This enhancement aims to support patients in managing their medical expenses for cancer treatments, as costs can be significant and can cause financial strain on patients and their families. The higher claim limit will help to alleviate some of the financial burden and make it more feasible for patients to access necessary cancer drug services.


Rationale behind the changes

The changes to MediShield Life coverage are designed to encourage responsible healthcare consumption, promote evidence-based treatments, and optimize healthcare resource utilization. By limiting coverage to MOH-approved outpatient cancer drug services, patients are guided towards treatments that have been recognized for their effectiveness and safety, reducing the likelihood of undergoing unnecessary or unproven therapies. The increased annual claim limit ensures that patients have better financial support for accessing approved treatments, further contributing to the overall goal of improving patient outcomes and promoting a sustainable healthcare system in Singapore.

Changes: Integrated Shield Plan Cancer Coverage

Coverage limited to MOH-approved outpatient cancer treatments

Similar to MediShield Life, Integrated Shield Plans will also undergo changes in their cancer coverage, taking effect from 2023. One key change is the limitation of coverage to only MOH-approved outpatient cancer treatments. This means that policyholders seeking reimbursement for cancer treatments under their Integrated Shield Plans must ensure that the treatments they undergo are approved by the Ministry of Health (MOH). This change aligns IPs with MediShield Life, ensuring consistency in promoting evidence-based treatments across both public and private health insurance options.


Impact on patients seeking non-MOH approved treatments

Patients who opt for non-MOH approved cancer treatments may face financial challenges, as these treatments will not be covered by either MediShield Life or Integrated Shield Plans. This could result in out-of-pocket expenses for patients who decide to pursue alternative or experimental therapies that have not been endorsed by the MOH. Consequently, patients and their families must carefully weigh the potential benefits and risks of non-MOH approved treatments and consider the financial implications before deciding on their treatment plans.


Encouraging evidence-based treatments and resource management

The changes to cancer coverage under Integrated Shield Plans aim to promote the use of evidence-based treatments, ensuring that patients receive therapies that have been proven to be effective and safe. By restricting coverage to MOH-approved outpatient cancer treatments, the healthcare system can better manage and allocate resources, focusing on treatments that are known to yield positive outcomes. This shift not only helps improve patient outcomes but also contributes to the sustainability of the healthcare system in Singapore by discouraging overconsumption of medical resources and the pursuit of unproven or potentially harmful therapies.

Changes: Our Responses

Reviewing existing Integrated Shield Plan policies

The changes to cancer coverage under Integrated Shield Plans have significant implications for policyholders. It is crucial for you to review your existing policies and understand the extent of their cancer coverage, especially with the new limitations on MOH-approved outpatient cancer treatments. Policyholders should familiarize themselves with the MOH-approved treatments list and evaluate whether their current coverage aligns with their healthcare needs and preferences.


Considering adjustments to cancer coverage

Policyholders may need to consider adjusting their cancer coverage based on the changes to Integrated Shield Plans. For those seeking additional coverage for non-MOH approved treatments or increased protection for cancer-related expenses, they may explore options like adding riders to their existing policies or purchasing supplementary insurance plans. It is essential for policyholders to discuss their coverage needs with their insurance agents or financial advisors to determine the most suitable plan adjustments that cater to their specific requirements.


Ensuring adequate protection for cancer treatments

Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide and has a significant impact on healthcare systems, families, and patients. The cost of cancer treatment can be substantial, with expenses for surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and other treatments. As such, having adequate cancer coverage in health insurance policies is crucial for protecting individuals and their families from potentially devastating financial burdens. It ensures that patients can access necessary treatments without being overly concerned about the cost, allowing them to focus on their recovery.

Ultimately, our goal is to ensure we have adequate protection for cancer treatments, given the high cost and potential financial burden associated with such medical care. With the changes to cancer coverage in Integrated Shield Plans, you must be proactive in understanding your coverage and making necessary adjustments to safeguard yourselves and your families from unexpected expenses. By doing so, we can focus on our recovery and well-being, knowing that our insurance policies provide the necessary support for our healthcare needs.

It is crucial for us to stay informed and proactive in managing our health insurance policies, particularly with the changes in cancer coverage.

Now is the perfect time to review your health insurance policies and ensure you have adequate cancer coverage in light of these changes. Do not leave your financial well-being and access to quality cancer care to chance. Book an appointment with me today and we will assess your current Integrated Shield Plan, discuss your healthcare needs, and determine the most suitable adjustments to safeguard you and your family from the financial burden of cancer treatments. Let's secure your future and achieve peace of mind in the face of life's uncertainties.

Junwen Chen

My mission is to educate and empower people to design their lives so that they can live in abundance.

Let me partner with you, to design and nurture your dreams and ultimate life goals.

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