SINGAPORE - More than 100,000 people have received their Community Health Assist Scheme (Chas) green card as of mid-October this year, said Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor on Friday (Nov 1).
She was speaking to reporters at Sims Drive Medical Clinic about the benefits of the new Chas green card, which provides healthcare subsidies for selected chronic conditions to all Singaporeans regardless of their income. The benefits will kick in from Friday.
Those with a per capita household income of more than $2,000, or whose annual home value exceeds $21,000 - for those with no income - come under the Chas green tier.
The Chas orange tier is for those whose per capita household income falls between $1,201 and $2,000, while those whose per capita household income is below $1,200 belong to the Chas blue tier.
Green cardholders can benefit from up to $160 of subsidies per year to manage chronic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
Additionally, the annual subsidy limit for complex chronic illnesses for Chas blue and orange cardholders will be raised by up to $20 per year from Friday.
Chas orange cardholders can also benefit from subsidies for common illnesses of up to $10 per visit.
Singaporeans can still submit their Chas application online at https://www.chas.sg/Apply. Since the launch of the online portal in September, the Health Ministry has received more than 110,000 online applications for all tiers, said Dr Khor.
From Friday, members of the Merdeka Generation (MG) will also receive additional subsidies for outpatient care.
The Merdeka Generation Package, which covers Singaporeans born in the 1950s, gives them enhanced Chas subsidies regardless of income, Medisave top-ups and additional MediShield Life premium subsidies.
This second round of benefits for MG members includes an additional 25 per cent off their subsidised bills when they visit polyclinics and public Specialist Outpatient Clinics.
At all general practitioner and dental clinics in the Chas scheme, MG seniors will now enjoy subsidies of up to $23.50 per visit for common illnesses such as colds, $520 in annual subsidies for chronic illnesses, and up to $261.50 per procedure for selected dental procedures.
Dr Lim Chien Chuan, a general practitioner at Sims Drive Medical Clinic, said the Chas benefits for Merdeka Generation seniors are timely.
He added that about half the patients who visit his clinic are MG seniors.
Said Dr Lim: "This particular group of patients are facing greater uncertainty. This is the period of time when they are entering retirement, so they have less disposable income.
"On top of that, they have to spend more on healthcare because of chronic diseases like diabetes and high cholesterol. So I think these Merdeka Generation Package Chas benefits are timely help for them."
Ms Annie Goh, 65, who has multiple chronic conditions including diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol, has been visiting the Sims Drive Medical Clinic every month since 2007 to keep her conditions under control with medication. The monthly visit costs her $230, which will be reduced to $100 with the help of the subsidies.
The MG senior pointed out that it will be good to have a higher annual subsidy limit for chronic conditions, which stands at $520 per year now, as these illnesses have to be managed for the long term.
"Because we're not getting better. We can just keep the chronic condition under control so that it doesn't get worse. If you use the subsidy up to $520, that's it. So maybe there could be more."
Eligible MG seniors can also undergo screenings recommended under the Screen for Life programme, at a reduced rate of $2, down from the current $5.
For long-term care needs, MG seniors will also receive an additional CareShield Life participation incentive of $1,500 if they sign up for the programme between 2021 and 2023. This is on top of the $2,500 incentive for other Singapore citizens born in 1979 or earlier.
To get the subsidised rates, MG seniors must present their NRIC and physical or electronic MG card at Chas-listed clinics. For visits to polyclinics and public Specialist Outpatient Clinics, MG seniors will need to present only their NRIC card.