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Singapore Budget 2014: Subsidies for Singaporeans to offset higher MediShield Life premiums

Published on Feb 21, 2014 4:52 PM
 
Patients waiting at the pharmacy of Tampines Polyclinic. Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam assured lower and middle-income groups on Friday that their Medishield premiums will remain affordable. -- ST FILE PHOTO: ASHLEIGH SIM

While insurance premiums will rise as universal health care is introduced for all Singaporeans, Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam assured lower and middle-income groups that their MediShield premiums will remain affordable.

Speaking in Parliament on Friday, he said that the Government will ensure this in two ways. First, it will give this group significant permanent subsidies so that their premiums can be fully covered by their regular Medisave contributions.

Second, it will give out subsidies for the first few years of transition into MediShield Life to "ease" the move. These subsidies, which will offset premium increases, will also go to the higher-income, he added.

In addition, he announced that subsidies for specialist outpatient clinics for lower and middle-income Singaporeans will go up from the current 50 per cent.

For those with household incomes per capita of $1,100 monthly and below, their subsidies for specialist outpatient care will rise to 70 per cent, while those with household incomes per capita of between $1,101 and $1,800 monthly will enjoy a 60 per cent subsidy.

An estimated 400,000 patients will benefit, and it will cost the Government $123 million extra per year.

For more news and analysis on Singapore Budget 2014, click here for ST's Big Story coverage.