We thank Mr Andrew Seow Chwee Guan, Mr Jeff Tan Hong Liak and Mr Raymond Lo Wan Mou for their feedback and suggestions to reduce the Basic Healthcare Sum (BHS) for pensioners and pioneers ("Reduce Medisave Minimum Sum for pioneers"; July 6, "Let some withdraw part of Medisave"; Forum Online, July 10, and "Pioneers' medical bills heavily subsidised"; Forum Online, July 10).
From Jan 1 next year, the Medisave Minimum Sum will be removed and the Medisave Contribution Ceiling will be renamed the Basic Healthcare Sum.
Singaporeans will no longer need to top up their Medisave accounts before withdrawing their Central Provident Fund monies from age 55.
We agree with Mr Seow that all government pensioners should set aside enough Medisave to help them co-pay their medical bills when they retire.
As there are different medical benefit schemes for pensioners, the BHS for each of the pension schemes is carefully calibrated, according to the benefits of each scheme. The calibrated BHS ensures that all pensioners are able to accumulate enough Medisave to pay for healthcare expenses not covered by their medical benefits.
Hence, the BHS for those pensioners who enjoy more generous benefits is lower than the BHS for non-pensioners.
The additional subsidies and benefits for pioneers in subsidised outpatient clinics of public hospitals, polyclinics and private clinics under the Community Health Assist Scheme are designed to help enhance affordability of outpatient treatments.
Sufficient Medisave is still needed to cater to hospitalisation needs and the costs of selected outpatient services, like scans.
Together, the Pioneer Generation Package and the BHS help provide peace of mind for our seniors.
Lim Bee Khim (Ms)
Director, Corporate Communications
Ministry of Health