Newborns to get bigger Medisave grants and Baby Bonus

A resident pushing a baby stroller.
A resident pushing a baby stroller.PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

All babies born from Jan 1 this year will get a more generous Baby Bonus package and larger Medisave grants, the details of which were announced yesterday.

This is to help offset the cost of raising a child here, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong during last night's National Day Rally speech.

"I hear mothers telling me that milk powder is expensive," Mr Lee said. "Well, if that is so, this will be a little bit of assistance."

Sharing the "promising" number of babies born last year - some 33,200 - he added that the move is also meant to encourage young Singaporeans to keep up the good work in having babies.

Said Mr Lee: "I think this is a good time to give our families-and-babies efforts an extra push."

Effective from Jan 1 this year, the expanded Baby Bonus scheme will cover all the children in a family, rather than just the first four.

Said Mr Lee: "This will provide... more support to parents with larger families, and also reflects our attitude that every child is valued in Singapore."

Each newborn will also get more money credited into his or her Medisave account to cover the higher MediShield Life premiums when the scheme starts in November, until they reach age 21.

Currently, annual premiums for the basic MediShield are $50 for those under 21.

After transitional subsidies for the compulsory health insurance scheme are phased out in 2019, this group will have to pay between $98 and $130 a year.

The bigger Medisave Grant for Newborns will also go towards defraying other healthcare expenses for children, such as recommended vaccinations.

Housewife Sarah Yeo, who gave birth to her first child a month ago, welcomed the improved Baby Bonus package.

"Having a kid is not cheap," said the 29-year-old.

"It will help to reduce our financial burden, and we won't be so tied down by money considerations."

She added: "This is especially so because I'm not working, and my husband is the only one supporting the family."

• Additional reporting by Choo Yun Ting

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 24, 2015, with the headline 'Newborns to get bigger Medisave grants and Baby Bonus'. Print Edition | Subscribe