Medisave use extended to pay 5 more outpatient treatments; 2 vaccines for adults

Pharmacy area of Choa Chu Kang Polyclinic. From January, use of Medisave will be extended to pay for five more outpatient treatments and for the first time, two vaccines for adults. -- ST FILE PHOTO: JOSEPH NAIR
Pharmacy area of Choa Chu Kang Polyclinic. From January, use of Medisave will be extended to pay for five more outpatient treatments and for the first time, two vaccines for adults. -- ST FILE PHOTO: JOSEPH NAIR

From January, use of Medisave will be extended to pay for five more outpatient treatments and for the first time, two vaccines for the elderly.

More people will also be eligible for the health assist card that gives them subsidised treatments at over 800 private general practice and dental clinics.

To keep in line with growing incomes, the card will be extended to people whose per capita household income is $1,800 or less - up from the current $1,500. At the same time, the 40-year-old entry age will be removed, so all in the family can benefit.

Card holders will also enjoy subsidy when they screen for obesity, diabetes, blood pressure, cholesterol and colorectal and cervical cancers.

These changes aim to provide people with cheaper out-of-pocket outpatient costs.

Further help will come in the form of higher subsidies at specialist outpatient clinics. But details for this will only come next year.

To help all residents with big hospital bills, the national medical insurance, MediShield, will be made compulsory, and will cover people for live, rather than only till the age of 90 as it does now.

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said claims limits will be raised and the patient's share of big bills will come down.

Premiums will have to go up to pay for all this. How this will be done will be discussed in public consultations on the renamed MediShield Life starting in October.

The new conditions that Medisave will cover for outpatient treatment are osteo-arthritis, kidney disease, Parkinson's disease, anxiety disorder and prostate problems.

The new vaccinations that Medisave can pay for fully are for influenza and pneumoccocal disease.