We are sorry to hear about Ms Ada Chan Siew Foen's medical condition ("Be more flexible with Medisave withdrawals"; July 1, Forum Online).
Ms Chan had asked for greater flexibility in Medisave uses for those with urgent medical needs and for withdrawal limits to be reviewed.
Medisave was first introduced to help Singaporeans with their in-patient hospital bills, especially in retirement.
Over the years, the ministry has regularly reviewed Medisave uses and have expanded it to ensure Singaporeans' medical needs are met.
While doing so, we need to be careful to strike a balance between increasing its flexibility for outpatient bills and ensuring Singaporeans do not deplete their Medisave savings - which are especially needed for their medical expenses in old age.
Therefore, we have allowed Medisave use for conditions which require costly and prolonged medical care, such as renal dialysis and cancer treatments, and have also set a higher limit of $600 a year for cancer scans vis-a-vis non-cancer scans.
For cancer treatment, MediShield can also be used for chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
When MediShield Life is implemented at the end of this year, the payouts under MediShield Life will be higher than what MediShield offers today.
If out-of-pocket burden is a concern, patients may wish to consider a referral to subsidised services.
Medisave and MediShield limits are sized to be sufficient for subsidised bills. Patients who continue to face difficulties with their medical bills despite the provision of government subsidies, MediShield claims and Medisave withdrawals, may approach the institution's medical social worker for assistance.
We wish Ms Chan a good recovery.
Lim Bee Khim (Ms)
Director, Corporate Communications
Ministry of Health