Changes to Medishield Life Cancer Coverage: What should I do?

With changes to the cancer coverage for Medishield Life taking effect this month, find out how you can navigate them and minimise out-of-pocket expenses.
9 September 2022

When a severe unexpected illness like cancer hits, the last thing you would want to worry about is your finances. However, you may likely lose your ability to work and income.

The silver lining is that with proper insurance planning, you can ensure that your loved ones remain supported despite a hefty medical bill. Or sustain your daily needs if you have to stop working to recuperate.

In light of the changes this month to Medishield Life and MediSave claims for cancer drug treatments, you may wish to consider whether taking on additional coverage is right for you.

Watch our video above for some tips from our financial literacy trainer, Albert!

What are the announced changes?

Effective September 2022, all Medishield Life coverage and Medisave withdrawals will be limited to the new cancer drug list. Unfortunately, this means you may not be able to claim for certain outpatient cancer treatment drugs if they are not on the approved list.

The Ministry of Health has stated that around 90 percent of cancer drug treatments used in public healthcare institutions are covered. These revised limits will help to keep public healthcare costs low by spurring the pharmaceutical industry to keep their drugs cost-effective.

From April 2023, the limits will also be extended to claims under the Integrated Shield Plans.

How Does Critical Illness Insurance help?

Critical illness insurance offers a lump sum payout to help cover the cost of cancer treatment, which can be extremely expensive. It is also important to consider whether your current health plan will cover cancer-related expenses and, if so, how much.

Am I affected by these changes?

Everyone is impacted, regardless of which class of Integrated Shield Plans you hold. The worry remains if your condition falls outside the norm and your treatment needs go beyond what is provided in the list.

Suppose you prefer the option of alternative treatment or the flexibility that your claims can cover novel, ground-breaking drug treatments that have not been included in the standard list. In that case, Critical Illness insurance will be useful to plug any gaps.

How do I calculate if I have enough Critical Illness coverage?

The coverage you need will differ for each individual depending on your healthcare needs and expectations. For late-stage critical illness, our recommended coverage is four times your annual income, so you can take the time to recuperate with peace of mind. It is 6 to 12 months of income for early-stage critical illness, along with an additional $100k to $200k for medical illness not covered under the Integrated Shield Plan. It is best to review your current Critical Illness coverage from time to time and consult an adviser to map it out.

What can I do to minimise out-of-pocket payments?

At MoneyOwl, we advocate buying as much insurance as you need while paying as little as possible.

If you or your loved ones require treatment, the first step would be to consult your doctor to ensure that any outpatient drugs prescribed fall within the cancer drug list and seek alternatives within the list if possible.

Critical Illness term insurance is a more cost-effective option to complement your shield plan. However, there are also cancer-only plans, which act as an income replacement specifically for cancer diagnosis. Cancer-only plans have lower premiums, making them more affordable. Although, with a narrower scope of coverage, they usually supplement any existing Critical Illness plans.

Regardless of the plan you choose, get quotes from multiple companies before choosing one—this will help ensure that any savings are legitimate and not just a one-time gimmick by one company trying to win over customers.

With MoneylOwl’s insurance comparison tool, you can access more than 500,000 quotes for comparison to search for the maximum coverage at the lowest cost!

What’s more, we offer 30% first-year commission rebates for qualifying plans, so you get more value out of your insurance plans.


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