Pioneers received over $700m in benefits

More than 400,000 pioneers have received over $700 million in benefits from the Pioneer Generation Package to help them with healthcare costs.

Speaking to the media, Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for Health, said about 300,000 pioneers have benefited from the Community Health Assist Scheme, which allows them to enjoy subsidies at participating general practice and dental clinics.

Meanwhile, between 250,000 and 300,000 pioneers enjoyed subsidies at subsidised specialist outpatient clinics, and the same number at polyclinics.

The $8 billion Pioneer Generation Package was rolled out two years ago to help citizens who were aged 65 and above in 2014, among other criteria. There are about 450,000 pioneers.

It was designed to help with healthcare costs.

Dr Khor, who is also Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources, and Mrs Josephine Teo, Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Transport, had led a task force to spread the word to senior citizens about how they could benefit.

Yesterday, they hosted an appreciation dinner for the task force's 22 members at the conclusion of its work.

The task force comprised civil servants, grassroots leaders, public relations experts and those from the non-profit sector.

Mrs Teo said getting the message across to pioneers effectively required the information to be tailored specially to each indivi- dual depending on his healthcare needs and existing circum- stances.

It helped to say it over and over. She said: "When it comes to communicating with seniors, repetition is important especially when things can get a bit more complex. Repetition helps pioneers to absorb and understand."

To broadcast the word as widely as possible, the task force created a Pioneer Generation Ambassador programme, sending 3,000 ambassadors across the island to visit more than 300,000 pioneers to tell them about the package.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 13, 2016, with the headline 'Pioneers received over $700m in benefits'. Print Edition | Subscribe