We thank Mr Robin Yiu for his letter (Review Flexi-Medisave withdrawal limit too, Oct 8).
Medisave helps Singaporeans to set aside sufficient savings for their basic healthcare needs in old age, with a focus on larger healthcare expenses and insurance premiums.
Medisave withdrawal limits are thus carefully set to strike a balance between the affordability of current treatments and future healthcare needs.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) regularly reviews Medisave withdrawal limits and we have introduced several enhancements in recent years to better address Singaporeans' healthcare needs.
For example, MOH introduced Flexi-Medisave in 2015 to reduce out-of-pocket costs for older Singaporeans at polyclinics, general practitioner clinics on the Community Health Assist Scheme (Chas), and public specialist outpatient clinics (SOCs).
To allow more of the elderly to benefit from this scheme, we lowered the age threshold from 65 to 60 years old in 2018.
Current Medisave withdrawal limits are generally adequate to cover subsidised treatments, and fewer than two in 10 eligible Singaporeans fully utilise their annual limit of $200 under Flexi-Medisave.
We understand that patients with chronic conditions may need more help to pay for their treatment.
Under Medisave500, they can withdraw up to $500 per year to pay for their treatments under the Chronic Disease Management Programme, and this can be used in conjunction with Flexi-Medisave.
Next year, we will be raising the withdrawal limit to $700 with the new Medisave700, to provide more targeted support for those with complex chronic conditions.
Medisave complements other forms of healthcare financing support so that Singaporeans can continue to access affordable healthcare services.
These include the recent introduction of the new Chas green card to provide subsidies for chronic disease management at Chas GP clinics to all Singaporeans regardless of income, and increase in the amount of annual chronic subsidies for complex chronic conditions for Chas orange and blue cardholders.
Pioneer and Merdeka Generation card holders also enjoy special subsidies at Chas clinics and public SOCs.
Those who are unable to afford the costs of treatment after subsidies, MediShield Life and Medisave, may approach the medical social workers at our public healthcare institutions for assistance.
No Singaporean will be denied access to appropriate healthcare due to an inability to pay.
Cham Dao Song
Ministry of Health