SINGAPORE - The Health Ministry will loosen restrictions on the use of Medisave for outpatient treatments, said Senior Minister of State for Health Chee Hong Tat during the debate on his ministry's budget on Wednesday (March 7) .
This includes raising the annual withdrawal limit for chronic medical conditions, vaccinations, and health screenings from $400 to $500.
In addition, the age limit for Flexi-Medisave - a scheme to help seniors offset the costs of outpatient treatment - will be lowered from 65 to 60. This will benefit 260,000 Singaporeans aged between 60 and 64, Mr Chee said.
Both these changes will take effect from June this year. They are part of a broader Health Ministry push to focus on prevention and strengthen primary care, which refers to polyclinics and general practitioners (GPs).
Mr Chee also announced the expansion of the Chronic Disease Management Programme, which will now cover pre-diabetes and ischaemic heart disease. It will also subsidise certain medical supplies - such as lancets and test strips - for diabetics.
Earlier during the debate, Dr Chia Shi Lu (Tanjong Pagar GRC) had called for the expansion of this programme.
"I have always felt that this is an excellent programme and feel that it should be expanded wherever possible," said Dr Chia, who heads the Government Parliamentary Committee for Health.
He added that including more conditions beyond the existing 19 ones will reduce the cash outlay needed and encourage patients to be more compliant with treatment. Conditions that are already covered include high blood pressure.