Healthcare, social assistance available to S'poreans in need

We wish to clarify that Ms Tam Chek Ming continues to enjoy significant healthcare subsidies in our public healthcare institutions for her regular treatments, and enjoys lifelong protection with MediShield Life (Subsidies stopped for patient who raised $900K; July 29).

No Singaporean will be denied medical treatment because of their inability to pay.

All Singaporeans can enjoy significant government subsidies and MediShield Life coverage, and can use their Medisave to help pay for basic medical services.

Singaporeans who continue to need help with the remainder of their medical bills can tap Medifund.

To ensure that Medifund resources are allocated to patients in genuine need, Medifund applications are considered on a case by case basis by a Medifund Committee made up of independent volunteers who are actively involved in community social work, and familiar with the needs and problems faced by lower-income Singaporeans.

The committee makes a careful and compassionate assessment of the financial, social and health circumstances of the patient, taking into account less visible sources of income such as rental income, other forms of social assistance, and donations.

Periodic reviews are conducted to tailor the financial assistance to patients' circumstances.

In May this year, Ms Tam was assessed to have sufficient funds to meet her immediate medical and living needs, and the Medifund Committee decided to prioritise the funds for other Singaporeans with more immediate needs.

Prior to that, Ms Tam was provided with Medifund support from 2015.

Likewise for ComCare assistance, applications are assessed holistically.

Financial assistance is provided to those whose incomes and savings are insufficient to cover their basic living expenses.

Where the individuals or families applying for ComCare assistance have complex needs beyond financial issues, we also work with various organisations and community partners, such as Family Service Centres, Workforce Singapore and the Employment and Employability Institute, to provide support in other areas including education, healthcare, housing and employment needs.

We wish Ms Tam well as she continues her treatment. She can re-apply for financial assistance, should her financial circumstances change in the future.

Lee May Lin (Ms)
Director, Communications and Engagement Group
Ministry of Health

Kong Kum Peck (Ms)
Director, ComCare and Social Support Division
Ministry of Social and Family Development

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 02, 2017, with the headline 'Healthcare, social assistance available to S'poreans in need'. Print Edition | Subscribe