New Flexi-Medisave scheme allows elderly to reduce outpatient expenses

SINGAPORE - Singapore's elderly will soon be able to further reduce their out-of-pocket costs for outpatient medical care.

Come April 1, Singaporeans aged 65 and above will be able to use up to $200 of their Medisave a year for outpatient treatments at public sector specialist outpatient clinics, polyclinics and general practitioners under the Community Health Assist Scheme (Chas). 

Spouses, if above 65, can also tap on their partner's Medisave account for these outpatient treatments if they do not have enough funds in their own accounts, over and above their partner's $200 limit. 

Each patient can use up to $200 of Medisave a year for outpatient treatment at the specified places.

This new  Flexi-Medisave scheme was announced by Health Minister Gan Kim Yong at a Community Health Assist Scheme Carnival in Tampines on Sunday. 

"The elderly is a special group. They have either retired, or for those who work, earn less but incur higher healthcare costs," he said.

Flexi-Medisave can supplement other outpatient uses of Medisave. This includes a $300 limit for outpatient scans implemented on Jan 1 and a $400 limit for things like outpatient treatment of chronic diseases. 

If the elderly has hit his Medisave limit for outpatient scans for example, they can use Flexi-Medisave to pay for the remaining amount.

The new scheme, however, does not cover uses like the purchase of medical devices, ambulance fees and dental treatment.

New maps of Tampines' community health services were also launched at the event, to let residents better know where these services are located. 

These maps will be piloted in Tampines, then extended to other areas in Singapore if feasible.

Education Minister and Tampines GRC MP  Heng Swee Keat also launched the Healthy Pathway@ Tampines, a walkway underneath the Tampines MRT. 

Residents can register for a Healthy Pathway tag and if they tap these tags along a designated lampposts and accumulate points to get things like supermarket vouchers.