SINGAPORE - A new Medisave scheme, which helps the elderly further reduce their out-of-pocket costs for outpatient medical care, can be used in addition to other schemes for outpatient treatment, Minister of State for Health Lam Pin Min said in Parliament on Thursday.
The Flexi-Medisave scheme allows those aged 65 and above to use up to $200 of Medisave a year for outpatient medical treatment at public-sector specialist outpatient clinics, polyclinics and Community Health Assist Scheme (Chas) clinics.
It kicks in on April 1, 2015.
The scheme, details of which were announced earlier this month, is part of an effort to expand the use of the national health savings plan, so patients can use it to cover more of their medical bill.
Dr Lam said the $200 from Flexi-Medisave can also be used over and above other outpatient Medisave limits, such as the $400 annual limit for the Chronic Disease Management Programme, and the recently-implemented $300 limit for outpatient scans.
He was responding to Associate Professor Fatimah Lateef (Marine Parade GRC), who asked if claims from the scheme can be used on top of others claims such as from the Chronic Disease Management Programme which is for outpatient treatment of 15 chronic diseases and has an annual cap of $400.
He added that Flexi-Medisave can be used for consultation fees, tests, drugs and other medical services needed to diagnose or treat a medical condition.
But it cannot be used for non-medical treatments and non-essential items, such as cosmetic surgery and skincare products.
Under the scheme, husbands and wives, if aged 65 or above, can also tap on their spouse's Medisave account if they do not have enough funds in their own account.
Dr Lateef asked in a supplementary question if the Health Ministry would consider allowing elderly patients to dip into their children's accounts if both their and their spouse's accounts were depleted.
Dr Lam said the ministry would consider the suggestion in future reviews.
He added: "Even as we continue to expand the use of Medisave, I would like to encourage all Singaporeans to spend it wisely so that it is enough for their healthcare needs over a lifetime."