Forum: Many ways in which caregivers can receive support

We thank Mr Vincent Ong Hock Meng for his views (More substantial support needed for the sandwich generation, July 2).

The Government strongly supports all Singaporeans. We give more to seniors and children, which also helps the generation in between who are supporting their families.

Means-tested subsidies of up to 80 per cent of the costs of treatment help keep healthcare affordable.

MediShield Life, a basic universal insurance scheme, further relieves the burden of large hospitalisation bills and costly outpatient treatments. MediSave helps Singaporeans set aside part of their income for their medical expenses. Finally, MediFund provides a safety net for those facing financial difficulty.

Together, government subsidies, MediShield Life, MediSave and MediFund ensure no Singaporean is denied access to medical care due to inability to pay.

The Community Health Assist Scheme (Chas) also helps to defray Singaporeans' healthcare costs at private general practitioner clinics. All Singaporeans with selected chronic conditions can benefit from Chas regardless of their income.

Pioneer Generation and Merdeka Generation seniors are also eligible for additional subsidies at Chas clinics, polyclinics and public specialist outpatient clinics, higher MediShield Life premium subsidies and MediSave top-ups.

Under the Caregiver Support Action Plan, caregivers can receive support in respite services, workplace support, care navigation and financial support, including training.

As announced in the recent White Paper for Singapore Women's Development, the Home Caregiving Grant will be enhanced from $200 per month to up to $400 per month for lower-income persons to further reduce caregiving costs.

To support caregivers in balancing work and family commitments, the Government and tripartite partners will continue to support employers in providing flexible work arrangements (FWAs). The Ministry of Manpower will be introducing a new set of tripartite guidelines on FWAs by 2024. These tripartite guidelines will require employers to consider FWA requests from employees fairly and properly.

The capacity of eldercare services has also expanded over the years, with generous means-tested subsidies of up to 80 per cent for centre- and home-based eldercare services, as well as grants, and payouts from national insurance schemes like CareShield Life and ElderShield. These provide caregivers respite and further defray the cost of caregiving.

For children, education is heavily subsidised in Singapore. There is financial support at every stage of their education, and we congratulate Mr Ong for raising three sons, who are now going through university.

Karen Tan

Group Director (Communications and Engagement Group)

Ministry of Health

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