5 things about the Community Health Assist Scheme or Chas

Mr Tan Soon Chye (right), a Bedok resident, receiving a new pair of spectacles at the People's Association (PA) year-end party on Dec 29, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
Mr Tan Soon Chye (right), a Bedok resident, receiving a new pair of spectacles at the People's Association (PA) year-end party on Dec 29, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

The pioneer generation will receive more help with their outpatient healthcare needs than low-income Singaporeans now get under the Community Health Assist Scheme or Chas, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said on Saturday.

They will start to enjoy the benefits from Sept 1. We look at 5 things to know about Chas:

What is Chas?

The Community Health Assist Scheme (Chas) subsidises care at private general practitioners and dental clinics. It also subsidises screenings for some conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure and colorectal cancer.

The scheme aims to encourage Singaporeans to turn to their family physicians first, instead of going straight to hospitals.

As of December 2013, more than 400,000 people were on the scheme.

Who qualifies for Chas?

The scheme is intended to help lower- and middle-income Singaporeans, who have to meet certain income or housing value criteria. To qualify for the scheme, applicants must have per capita income of $1,800 and below. For households with no income, the annual value of their homes must not exceed $21,000.

Previously, only those who were at least 40 years old in such households could benefit from the scheme. The age floor was scrapped in January this year to benefit more people.

From September, all pioneers will be placed on Chas, regardless of income or housing type. Some 450,000 Singaporeans aged 65 and above this year and who became citizens before 1987 if they were not born here will benefit from the scheme. Those who already have a Chas card will get additional subsidies.

How do I know which clinics are under Chas?

There are more than 1,000 GP and dental clinics taking part in the scheme. For the full list, go to: www.chas.sg

What are the types of illnesses covered under Chas?

Conditions covered by Chas include common illnesses like cold and cough.

It also covers treatment for the 15 chronic conditions currently listed under the Chronic Disease Management Programme. The 15 conditions are diabetes, hypertension, lipid disorders, stroke, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, major depression, schizophrenia, dementia, bipolar disorder, osteoarthritis, benign prostatic hyperplasia, anxiety, Parkinson’s disease and nephritis/nephrosis.

(From left) Mr Mohamed Din Rahmat with his wife, Ms Zainon Ibrahim; grandchild Aqil Noor Azhar; and children Siti Farhana; and Siti Radhiah with their 'Health Assist' cards, given to them under the Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS). The cards allow them to have rebates for their medical fees. -- BH FILE PHOTO: M.O. SALLEH

Are there different subsidy tiers under Chas?

Yes, there are three tiers: Chas Blue, Orange and Pioneer Generation.

Among the three groups, the Pioneer Generation will receive the most subsidies. Here's a breakdown of the subsidies for the different tiers:

Source: Ministry of Health