Facts about the newly enhanced MediShield Life and how to avoid high healthcare costs

Keeping up with MediShield Life changes helps you manage your finances better should you need medical treatment.

Enhancements to Singapore’s basic health insurance scheme to cover more and larger hospital bills are aimed at tackling rising healthcare costs and an ageing society. Get up to speed with the recent MediShield Life changes, and how to further shield yourself against medical expenses.


Did you know that medical bills rank among the top five reasons why people in Singapore go into debt?1

Rising healthcare costs might have something to do with it. Singapore’s 2018 healthcare cost inflation hit 10%, 10 times the economic inflation rate2. And it’s a troubling trend.

With our rapidly greying population, it’s not surprising that many Singaporeans would be concerned about increasing hospital bills – specifically, how to manage these unavoidable bills without financial stress (which itself could affect mental health and further drive up medical costs!).

Thankfully, we have the national MediShield Life scheme, a basic health insurance plan that helps all citizens and permanent residents pay for large hospital bills. MediShield Life provides coverage for

  • B2 and C wards as well as surgery charges in public hospitals
  • selected costly outpatient treatments such as chemotherapy for cancer and kidney dialysis

Coverage is automatic from birth and for life, regardless of age and pre-existing conditions. However, there are limits on the claim amount.

For full details on MediShield Life, please refer to the Ministry of Health website here

Is it enough to cover your healthcare costs?

Here are examples of large claims paid by us from 2018 to 2020 that show how hospital and medical bills can rack up for patients.

Illness/ Condition Age Hospital Type Length of Stay Amount Incurred Amount Paid by us^
Breast cancer 54 Private hospital 397 days S$ 985,840 S$ 982,224
Heart failure 54 Private hospital 17 days S$ 664,817 S$ 639,660
Acute leukaemia 31 Private hospital 124 days S$ 627,825 S$ 627,825
^The amount paid by us includes the amount paid from Singlife Health Plus and from MediShield Life.

Because MediShield Life is a basic health insurance plan that comes with claim limits and mandatory out-of-pocket expenses, it’s wise to strengthen your financial safety net to be better guarded against unexpected large hospital bills.

How Integrated Shield Plans (IP) help

Integrated Shield Plans (IP) are additional coverage offered by private insurers that are attached to your MediShield Life cover. With this private cover, you’d have access to more benefits such as the freedom to choose your medical specialist from Singlife’s panel of medical specialists, coverage for pre- and post-hospitalisation expenses as well as lower out-of-pocket expenses and so on.

MediShield Life + Integrated Shield Plan vs MediShield Life only

This visual sums up key differences in your healthcare experience if you have an IP and if you don’t.

How Singlife’s IP, Singlife Shield, gives greater coverage

Singlife’s IP, called Singlife Shield, gives you access to greater healthcare options, providing you with greater comfort and assurance so you can focus on your wellbeing when you’re ill.

When it comes to getting adequate medical coverage, think about the kind of comfort and healthcare options, and level of financial protection you’d want to have when you’re ill. Of course, consider affordability, too. With the right plan, you can always focus on your wellbeing first, not hefty medical bills, and indeed, avoid medical debt.  


1. Source: The Straits Times© Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Extracted with permission. “5 reasons that people in Singapore get into debt”, 29 October 2014.
2. Source: The Straits Times© Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Extracted with permission. “Singapore 2018 healthcare cost inflation hits 10%, 10 times the economic inflation rate”: Mercer report, 10 June 2019.
 3. Source: https://www.moh.gov.sg/news-highlights/details/government-accepts-medishield-life-council-s-recommendations-and-commits-2.2-billion-for-premium-subsidies-and-support/

Want greater protection from medical bills?

Go a step further by adding the Singlife Health Plus rider to reduce your out-of-pocket expenses. 

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