Forum: Medisave withdrawal limits adequate to cover subsidised charges

A clinic with chairs spaced apart for safe distancing on July 17, 2020.
A clinic with chairs spaced apart for safe distancing on July 17, 2020.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

We thank Mr Ser Chong Jin for his letter (Cash outlay for costly eye treatment a burden, Sept 1).

Medisave is primarily intended to ensure that Singaporeans have sufficient savings for their basic healthcare needs. Medisave withdrawal limits have been carefully set to strike a balance between the affordability of current treatments and future healthcare needs, including both direct medical expenses and insurance premiums.

They are generally adequate to cover subsidised treatments.

In Mr Ser's case, we understand that he had opted for the use of Eylea, which is not subsidised and costs $1,250 per injection, for the treatment of his age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

The alternative treatment, Avastin, which has been assessed to be clinically comparable to Eylea, was offered to Mr Ser.

Avastin costs about $120 per injection before subsidy, and is fully claimable under the current Medisave withdrawal limit of $650.

Patients who require further assistance can also tap the Medication Assistance Fund to pay for Avastin if they are assessed by their doctors to fulfil the clinical indications.

We urge patients to opt for subsidised treatment. Those who are considering non-subsidised treatments are advised to take into consideration the larger out-of-pocket payment for such treatments. We invite patients to discuss their treatment options with their doctors.

Cham Dao Song

Director, Finance Policy

Ministry of Health

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 14, 2020, with the headline 'Medisave withdrawal limits adequate to cover subsidised charges'. Print Edition | Subscribe