4 myths about CPF healthcare schemes debunked

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12 June 2023

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When it comes to healthcare, it’s important to rely on facts rather than hearsay. Let’s look at some common myths about CPF healthcare schemes, and the truth behind these myths.

1) MediShield Life is the new MediSave

This is untrue.


MediSave is a national savings scheme that helps individuals set aside a portion of their income in their MediSave Account (MA) to meet their future personal or approved dependants’ hospitalisation, day surgery and certain outpatient expenses. 


On the other hand, MediShield Life is a national basic healthcare insurance scheme that protects all Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents against large hospitalisation bills for life, regardless of age or health condition. CPF members can use MediSave to pay for their MediShield Life premiums, as well as the deductible and co-insurance portions of their healthcare bills that are not covered by their insurance policy, up to prevailing MediSave limits. 


You can visit our MediSave page and MediShield Life page to learn more about them!

2) Not paying MediShield Life premiums will result in jail time

This is untrue.


You will not be arrested if you are unable to pay your MediShield Life premiums. In fact, the Government provides various forms of support to help members who are unable to meet their premium payments. Some of the support available include: 

Premium subsidies for the lower- to middle-income 

  • Available to families with household monthly income per person of $2,800 and below, and living in residences with an Annual Value of $25,000 and below
  • Not applicable to those who own more than one property

Pioneer Generation subsidies and MediSave top-ups for the Pioneer Generation

  • Pioneers receive special Pioneer Generation Subsidies of between 40-60% depending on age, regardless of their household monthly income or Annual Value of their home
  • Pioneers also receive $250 to $900 a year in MediSave top-ups for life (depending on your year of birth)

Merdeka Generation subsidies and MediSave top-ups for the Merdeka Generation

  • Merdeka Generation seniors receive additional Merdeka Generation Subsidies of 5% of their annual MediShield Life premiums, increasing to 10% after they turn 75 years old, regardless of their household monthly income or the Annual Value of their home
  • Merdeka Generation members will also receive $200 a year in MediSave top-ups for five years from 2019 to 2023

Additional Premium Support (APS) for those who can’t afford the premiums even after premium subsidies, MediSave and have limited family support

  • May include low-income single elderly without family support and low-income families with multiple dependants
  • Eligibility for APS is based on (but not limited to) the applicants’ and his immediate family members’ financial means

3) You can only use MediSave and MediShield Life at polyclinics and public hospitals

This is untrue.


You can use your MediSave and MediShield Life at all public healthcare institutions, as well as approved private hospitals and medical institutions. You can refer to the full list of approved institutions here.


However, do note that MediShield Life benefits are designed based on Class B2/C ward bills, so as to keep premiums affordable. If you choose to use Class A/B1 wards or private hospitals where bills are much higher, MediShield Life will cover a smaller portion of the bill. This is to ensure comparable payouts for subsidised and private patients.


In addition, older members can also use more of their MediSave Account savings, under Flexi-MediSave, for outpatient medical treatments, as well as approved vaccinations and screenings. Patients aged 60 and above can use up to $300 a year from their own or their spouse’s MediSave at Specialist Outpatient Clinics (SOCs), polyclinics and Medical General Practitioner clinics that are participating in the Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS).

4) If you have an Integrated Shield Plan (IP) with a private insurer, you are paying double premiums: for your IP and your MediShield Life.

This is untrue.


You are not paying double premiums for your MediShield Life and IP. There is no duplication in coverage if you purchase an IP through a private insurer.


An IP comprises two parts:

  • The MediShield Life component
  • An optional private insurance component


If you have an IP, you will be able to receive MediShield Life premium subsidies if you meet the eligibility criteria. However, in this case, you will not be eligible for Additional Premium Support (APS) as APS is targeted at those with financial difficulties.


The premiums paid to private insurers include a portion that will be paid to CPF Board for your MediShield Life premiums. If you are an IP policyholder, you will find that your private insurer is your single point of contact for this matter. These insurers will act on behalf of the CPF Board to collect premiums and pay out claims for the MediShield Life component of your IP.


If you do decide at any point to discontinue your IP, all Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents will continue to be covered under MediShield Life.

Where your health is concerned, there can be no room for misinformation. It’s important to know how you are covered and what forms of support are available to you, so you can be at ease when seeking treatment. With the right  information, you are now better informed of the schemes in place to help you get the healthcare you need, without compromising your retirement savings!

All information provided are accurate as of the date of publication.