HEALTH Minister Khaw Boon want paid just $8 after recent bypass surgery, and it was because he had signed up for the MediShield scheme and had an additional shield supplement from a private insurance company.

He wrote about the experience in a post on his blog - - yesterday.

In the post, he likened health insurance schemes, such as MediShield and ElderShield, to umbrellas that help Singaporeans weather rainy days.

According to the minister, reforms in recent years, such as increasing the MediShield payout from 56 per cent to 66 per cent of large hospital bills in 2008, have helped these insurance plans reach out to more in the population.

The number of uninsured young Singaporeans has fallen from 45 per cent in 2007 to 17 per cent last year as a result of school programmes to reach out to the young.

Some 88 per cent of Singaporeans are now protected by MediShield and of these, 58 per cent have topped up with a private shield plan for hospitalisation in Class A wards and private hospitals.

Khaw's bill for bypass: $8