Budget debate: Flexi-MediSave rules to be eased to allow seniors to withdraw up to $300 for outpatient treatment

The easing of Flexi-Medisave rules comes on the back of recent moves to make healthcare more affordable for Singaporeans. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

SINGAPORE - Annual withdrawal limits for the Flexi-MediSave scheme, which aims to help seniors pay less for healthcare out of pocket, will be raised from $200 to $300 starting June 1, 2021.

This will support elderly patients seeking outpatient treatment, said Senior Minister of State for Health Koh Poh Koon at the debate on his ministry's budget.

Introduced in 2015, the scheme allows patients aged 60 and above to tap their own or their spouse's Medisave funds to pay for outpatient expenses at polyclinics, specialist outpatient clinics and GP clinics under the Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS).

In recent years, some members of the public have called for an increase in the withdrawal limits, saying the current amount is insufficient for seniors with chronic conditions that require multiple treatments.

This call was repeated in Parliament on Friday (March 5) by two MPs - Mr Gerald Giam (Aljunied GRC) from the Workers' Party and Non-Constituency MP Hazel Poa from the Progeress Singapore Party - who asked how MediSave coverage can be expanded in the outpatient setting.

"We recognise that seniors tend to have higher healthcare expenses, especially if they have chronic conditions," Dr Koh said in announcing the changes.

The ministry's decision to relax restrictions on Flexi-MediSave use comes on the back of recent moves to make healthcare more affordable for Singaporeans.

Last year, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong - who was then Senior Minister of State for Health - announced that seniors with complex chronic conditions would be able to draw up to $700 from their MediSave accounts annually.

This was on top of the Flexi-MediSave limit, and an increase from $500 previously.

The change took effect in January this year. It applies to those with two or more conditions under the Chronic Disease Management Programme (CDMP), as well as those with one such condition, but who developed complications.

The limit has stayed at $500 for all other MediSave account holders, including those with only one CDMP condition without complications.

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