Parliament has clarified doubts on various matters including number of permanent residents (PR) who have been granted citizenships in recent years, the total amount of Medishield Life payouts and claims since it started, and the funds spent by the Government on Covid-19 facilities to date. Proportion of new citizens has remained stable even with more citizenships granted to the PRs. In the figures revealed by K Shanmugam, Minister of Law and Home Affairs, the number of PRs granted citizenship was 18,269 in 2017, 18,840 in 2018 and 19,049 in 2019. Respectively, 22,076, 22,550 and 22,714 citizenships were granted in each of the three years. This shows a steady percentage of citizenship being granted to the PRs at around 83% each year. He added that those given citizenships without becoming a PR were made up of non-resident minors who were either children of Singaporeans or children of PRs who had been granted citizenships as a family unit.
With regards to the Medishield Life payouts, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said that the numbers of claims and amount paid out to seniors above age 65 has increased by almost 50% since it was launched in November 2015. Comparing the rate for the overall population, the growth in both claims and payouts is about 30% higher. He also added that the average payout per claim has increased from S$1,580 in 2016 to S$1,620 in 2019. When asked about the yearly loss ratio of Medishield Life, which is the ratio of total premiums earned to the total claims paid out, Mr Gan provided the incurred loss ratio instead. The incurred loss ratio was 104% from 2016 to 2019, signifying that the losses incurred by Medishield Life were 4% higher than the premiums collected for the period. Zooming in on the recent pandemic, S$804 million has been spent on Covid-19 facilities to date. This cost includes cost of hotels, state properties and Singapore Expo as they were used as temporary facilities for people serving quarantine orders and to house Covid-19 patients. As to how much these costs were attributable to migrant workers and why there is a need to build more of these facilities when the cases have fallen, Mr Tan replied that since they made up the bulk of infection cases in Singapore, it is expected that they cost a “sizable” amount. In addition, Singapore must not let its guard down even though cases have been steadily declining.
Date: 15 October 2020 Source: Today Singapore