6 May 2009
Upgrade to its hospitalisation and surgical plan to cost $2.8 million and will help needy families cope with downturn; Initiative takes on greater significance amidst spreading global flu pandemic
Singapore, 6 May 2009 – NTUC Income announced today that it will offer all children in Singapore a one-year free upgrade from MediShield to its hospitalisation and surgical plan, Standard Incomeshield Plan B. This offer is available to all Singapore citizens and permanent residents aged 16 and below, who do not hold any private Shield plan by NTUC Income or other insurers.
Standard Incomeshield Plan B offers benefits not found in MediShield, such as congenital abnormality benefit, unlimited lifetime coverage and unlimited lifetime claim limit. It also has an annual claim limit of $100,000, which is twice that of MediShield.
This decision comes amidst a growing concern to help needy families affected by the economic downturn. Further, in periods like the present, where there is an imminent flu pandemic, a health insurance policy like Incomeshield provides cover against a gamut of ailments and defrays the hospitalization expenses incurred on medical treatments. In addition, Incomeshield will cover costs resulting from quarantine in hospitals or government designated centres even in pandemic situations.
This free upgrade to Incomeshield for children is expected to cost NTUC Income about $2.8 million. NTUC Income’s Chief Executive, Tan Suee Chieh, described the move as a follow-on initiative to help needy Singaporeans cope with the downturn, on the back of the Incomeshield Assistance Scheme. The year-long $6 million scheme was launched last December to help low-income and elderly Singaporeans with their Incomeshield premiums.
"As a social enterprise, NTUC Income remains committed to its social purpose to make essential insurance affordable, accessible and sustainable for all Singaporeans, especially in these tough times. The free Incomeshield upgrade reflects this commitment, by making it easier for parents to take up comprehensive medical cover for their children against unexpected large hospital bills," he said.
Parents who wish to upgrade their children’s MediShield plan may do so between 11 May and 30 September at any of NTUC Income’s nine branches island-wide, or contact any insurance adviser representing NTUC Income. Those whose children are on MediShield will continue paying the $33 yearly premium, and NTUC Income will absorb the $19 it costs to upgrade to Standard Incomeshield Plan B, which costs $52 a year. Children without MediShield will be automatically covered under the scheme, when their parents sign them up for any Incomeshield plan.
Since 1 December 2007, all newborn Singaporeans have been offered MediShield coverage on an opt-out basis, with the coverage extended to children of Permanent Residents born in Singapore. Currently, children aged between one and six who are Singaporeans or Permanent Residents are provided with MediShield coverage when they enter primary school. Those aged between 7 and 20 who are studying in national schools would have been offered MediShield coverage between October 2008 and April 2009.
To encourage parents to sign up their children for the free Incomeshield upgrade, NTUC Income will be launching an awareness campaign through the mass media and by working with schools and childcare centres.
In conjunction with the 2009 May Day celebrations, and as a show of solidarity with the Labour Movement and an acknowledgement of its roots as a homegrown social enterprise, NTUC Income will announce the details of a more generous upgrade scheme only for children of NTUC Members.