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Health Ministry shares details on key policy shifts to alleviate medical costs (29 Aug 2013)

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong shared details on the initiatives on healthcare affordability which were first announced by PM Lee Hsien Loong in his National Day Rally last weekend. They include:

1. Cheaper Outpatient Care: Outpatient costs will be made more affordable by expanding Government subsidies and Medisave use, to reduce cash outlay for patients.

  • Removal of the qualifying age for the Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS)
  • Better coverage for chronic diseases: Use of Medisave and CHAS subsidies in the outpatient treatment of five more chronic conditions, namely osteoarthritis (degenerative joint diseases), Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (enlargement of the prostate gland), Anxiety, Parkinson’s disease, and Nephritis/Nephrosis (chronic kidney disease).
  • More subsidies for recommended screenings
  • Charges at Specialist Outpatient Clinics in public hospitals will be lowered by enhancing subsidies for lower- and middle-income groups.

2. MediShield enhancements are also being considered, to provide Singaporeans with greater peace of mind and assurance against large bills. The scheme will be renamed MediShield Life, and provide:

  • Enhanced benefits to better cover large bills: Higher claim limits and lower co-insurance borne by patients for large bills
  • Life-long, universal coverage: Maximum coverage age of 90 years will be lifted, and cover will be extended to all Singaporeans, including those who are currently not insured.


MOH will hold a public consultation in the fourth quarter of 2013 to seek feedback on the proposed shifts for MediShield Life.

For more information, check out the
press release.

 
   

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Prime Minister's National Day Rally: Key Healthcare Announcements (18 Aug 2013)

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong delivered his annual National Day Rally on Sunday, 18th August 2013.

In his Rally, PM Lee outlined the changes that the Ministry of Health (MOH) will be making to improve our healthcare financing system, to give Singaporeans more assurance and peace of mind. The changes focus on providing more affordable outpatient care, and more help with large hospital bills.

On outpatient care: The age criteria for the Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) will be removed to enable younger Singaporeans from lower- to middle-income households to pay less to see a GP. Subsidies at Specialist Outpatient Clinics will also be increased for lower- and middle-income patients. MOH will also study further liberalising Medisave use, while ensuring that Singaporeans continue to have enough Medisave for their retirement needs.

On help with large hospital bills: Singaporeans can look forward to greater assurance for healthcare bills with a revamped MediShield. Called MediShield Life, it will offer universal coverage for all Singaporeans for life, and give better protection against very large bills. Premiums will have to increase for these benefits, with the Government helping those who cannot afford them. For seniors, a Pioneer Generation Package will be introduced to help seniors pay for their premiums to keep them insured. As these are major shifts, MOH will consult the public on them.

Singaporeans must continue to prepare for the future, by keeping healthy and saving ahead. The best way to manage healthcare costs is to remain healthy: Living a healthy lifestyle, keeping active, and having a balanced diet.

MOH will be announcing more details on these initiatives soon, so do check back in soon!

Related links:

If you missed PM's live speech, find out more about the key themes here.