3000 overseas Singaporeans applied for MediShield Life suspension, 70% approved


In October 2016, The Ministry of Health (MOH) accepted the MediShield Life Council’s recommendations to grant suspensions of premiums for eligible overseas Singaporeans who live abroad permanently.

Over the past year, about 3,000 Singaporeans residing overseas have applied to suspend their payments for MediShield Life premiums, according to MOH statistics. It added that there are 213,400 Singaporeans residing abroad, as at the end of September 2017.

The Ministry told reporters today that about 70 per cent of of all applications were approved, while another 26 per cent of applications were rejected because they did not fulfill the required criteria for applying.

The remaining 4 per cent of applications are still under review.

Compulsory MediShield Life replaced MediShield from November 2015. Medishield Life, as compared to Medishield, offers higher claim limits for hospital bills and includes claim allowances some outpatient treatments. It also covers more pre-existing medical conditions.

MediShield Life, however, requires all Singapore citizens and permanent residents – including those permanently living overseas – to pay annual premiums.

Since the compulsory change was implemented in late 2015, some 2000 people signed an online petition for MOH to suspend premiums of certain citizens under special considerations.

The next year, MOH granted suspensions of premiums for those who have a valid permanent resident permit in the country they are living in and those who have lived abroad for at least five years, with no more than 140 days spent back in Singapore during this period.

These citizens must be able to afford healthcare in their country of residence and declare that they do not need to rely on MediShield Life in Singapore. They must also have completed their full-time National Service, if required.

Besides this, they can only apply for suspension of premiums if they have not benefited from MediShield or MediShield Life payouts in the five years prior to the start of the suspension.

Interestingly, there are still some Singaporeans residing overseas who wish to be covered by MediShield Life, even though they have no plans to come back.

40-year-old Ms Cai Pei Qi, who is self-employed and emigrated to South Korea eleven years ago, told the Chinese daily: 

“If I’m critically ill, I wish to seek medical treatment in a familiar environment. My family is in Singapore, and they can take care of me. Although I have friends in Korea, they can’t take the heavy responsibility of looking after me.”

It must be noted that citizens who have been granted suspension of premiums or no longer meet the eligibility requirements of the suspension will face an additional charge of 4 per cent of interest rate per annum, if they choose to seek medical treatment in Singapore.


  1. Interestingly foundead a very well written letter to CPF BOARD

    Dear CPF Board,

    You are the appointed agency to manage my retirement fund, which comes from my monthly contribution from the day I started working. I had no options to self manage my fund, or to appoint better fund manager. In short, I was forced to work with you. Nonetheless, I thank you for the hard work all these years to provide me an impressive 2.5% interest on my contribution. I ought to be grateful that my money is still there. If not, don’t tell me about it. Don’t drop hints either. That is a bad habit you have acquired over the years and I am highlighting it today as my feedback.

    When we first began, we agreed for a complete withdrawal when I get to 55 years old. That would be more than 3 decades from my first contribution. It was an absolute peach to you. Even the worst local bank would offer me more than 2.5% for a crappy structural deposit on a 10 year term, capital guaranteed. If I use them, I would be able to do an early withdrawal my funds before maturity, albeit with a penalty charge. You could certainly do better than 2.5% for a complete lock in for no withdrawal option for 3 decades. Never mind about the yield. We are friends and it hurts our relationship if we get too calculative. That is why it is unacceptable for you to charge me an interest for any loan I take from my own money. We should give and take but unfortunately, you are the only one enjoying the taking till now.

    Things turned a nasty corner when you begin to think it is rightful for you to dictate my retirement age and how to live my life. We agreed on a complete withdrawal at 55 years old at the beginning of our contract. You revised it, because you told me you cared for me. So you suggested 60, then 63 and now you are urging me to stretch my non-withdrawal to 65 years old, by giving me a bonus of $1,200 for a 2 year extension. that would amount to a total of more than 40 years of keeping my money with you. Oh, is that how things work around here? I would have offered you $12,000, to withdraw my money 20 years earlier. I would if I could, if you have the money to return me in the first place.

    I must apologise for my lack of faith in you but that has been lost ever since you told me I would not be withdrawing my retirement fund at whatever age you decided, and the goal post is still shifting as we speak. Instead you told me I will receive only pay-outs like an unemployed working receiving handouts from Centrelink in Australia. The key difference is, the Australian Government pays the unemployed from tax receivables and the money I left with you, come from my pocket. Despite that, you think you have the right to hold a bulk of my money in which you called Minimum Sum, and even tell me I will receive no payouts if I fail to accumulate enough money beyond your Minimum Sum. Thus, I cannot help but wonder if the Minimum Sum is created to keep me alive or to keep you afloat.

    Over the last 15 years, you have dropped too many hints to suggest things are not exactly in a pink of health within. I do not want to interfere with your affairs but do not make me pay for your mistakes. I entrusted my money in you because I had not been given a choice. It is more than a privilege for you, an entitlement in fact. Do not abuse it. This is not a warning, just a simple advice from a friend.


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