We thank Dr Leong Choon Kit for his feedback on the need to regularly review schemes with an income criterion, such as the Community Health Assist Scheme (Chas) ("Pay rises not always cause for celebration"; March 4).
The Ministry of Health (MOH) regularly reviews the criteria for our healthcare subsidy schemes to ensure that healthcare remains affordable for all Singaporeans.
Chas enables eligible Singaporeans to enjoy subsidised care at participating general practitioner and dental clinics.
When Chas replaced the Primary Care Partnership Scheme in 2012, the income threshold of $800 in household monthly income per person was increased to $1,500.
In 2013, this was reviewed and raised to $1,800.
In 2014, the age criterion of 40 years or older was also removed, to enable Chas to benefit entire households, regardless of age.
These revisions were carefully calibrated to ensure that lower- to middle- income Singaporeans, or about half of all Singaporean households, are eligible for the scheme.
Similarly, the Ministry of Health also periodically reviews the income threshold for intermediate and long-term care subsidies.
These subsidies provide for home care services, community hospital or nursing home care.
In 2013, the income threshold of $2,200 in household monthly income per person was raised to $2,600.
For families that do not qualify for the various subsidy schemes, they may still be considered on a case-by-case basis for assistance, should they be in need.
Lim Bee Khim (Ms)
Ministry of Health