SINGAPORE - A total of $159.1 million from the Medical Endowment Fund (Medifund) was used to help needy Singaporeans with their medical bills in the financial year ended March 31, $2.6 million more than in the previous year.
More than 1.2 million successful applications were made, the Ministry of Health said on Wednesday (Dec 30).
Medifund helps needy Singaporean patients who are unable to afford their medical bills after government subsidies, insurance and MediSave. More targeted assistance for the elderly and children are provided through Medifund Silver and Junior respectively.
The increase in the amount used came even as the number of approved Medifund applications dipped by 1.9 per cent, following a fall in the total number of applications compared with FY 2018.
A total of $36.2 million was provided to patients in intermediate and long-term care facilities, up from $32.3 million in FY2018. These are facilities which provide services for those who need further care after being discharged from an acute hospital, as well as seniors who may be frail and need someone to watch over them or to help them with their daily needs. They include nursing homes and hospices.
However, the amount provided to patients in public hospitals and institutions dropped from $124.2 million to $122.8 million.
The average amount of Medifund assistance provided was about $900 per inpatient treatment, and about $90 per outpatient treatment.
At the end of FY2019, about $4.64 billion remained in Medifund, a slight dip from around $4.65 billion in FY2018.
The Health Ministry said: "Medifund ensures that no Singaporean will be denied basic medical care due to inability to pay."