We thank Mr Robin Yiu for his letters (Chronically ill, cash-strapped seniors need extra Medisave help, May 7; and Consider raising Flexi-Medisave limit, May 2).
Medisave works in tandem with other measures such as government subsidies and MediShield Life to keep healthcare affordable for Singaporeans. Older Singaporeans can also benefit from targeted initiatives such as the Pioneer Generation package, which includes additional subsidies for outpatient treatments at specialist outpatient clinics and polyclinics.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) regularly reviews the Medisave withdrawal limits to keep co-payment affordable for patients.
Last year, we raised the annual Medisave withdrawal limit for chronic medical conditions, vaccinations and health screenings from $400 to $500 per year. We also lowered the age limit for Flexi-Medisave from age 65 to 60 so that more Singaporeans can benefit.
Taken together, older Singaporeans can utilise up to $500 per year for chronic medical conditions, vaccinations and health screenings, as well as an additional $200 per year under Flexi-Medisave at public hospitals' specialist outpatient clinics, polyclinics and general practitioner clinics under the Community Health Assist Scheme (Chas).
MOH will continue to review our schemes to keep pace with the healthcare needs of Singaporeans. We will be extending Chas subsidies to all Singaporeans with selected chronic conditions with the introduction of Chas Green, and enhancing subsidies for Chas Blue and Orange cardholders at Chas clinics.
Medisave is intended to help patients with their co-payment not only for current healthcare needs but also for future ones, such as inpatient treatment or health insurance premiums. This is important as healthcare needs are typically higher as we get older. Any increases in Medisave withdrawal limits would have to take into account the adequacy of the Medisave balances for future needs.
Singaporeans who need further financial assistance can apply for Medifund at public healthcare institutions.
No Singaporean will be denied access to basic healthcare due to an inability to pay.
Lim Siok Peng
Director, Corporate Communications
Ministry of Health