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21 Nov 2018

20th Nov 2018

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
ER DR LEE BEE WAH
MP FOR NEE SOON GRC

Question No. 2350

To ask the Minister for Health in the past two years (a) how many Singaporeans aged 62 and above have made an appeal to use their MediSave beyond the withdrawal limit; (b) how many of these appeals have been successful; (c) whether the Ministry can review and increase the withdrawal limit; and (d) whether the withdrawal limit can be lifted for those aged 80 and above.

Written Reply

1   Over the past 2 years, MOH received about 200 appeals from patients aged 62 and above to use their MediSave monies beyond the prevailing withdrawal limits. These appeals are considered on a case-by-case basis, taking into account factors such as the need for more complex treatments, unforeseen complications, and financial difficulties that make it hard for the family to pay the outstanding bill. About half of the appeals were approved.   

2   The MediSave withdrawal limits are set to be sufficient for the vast majority of subsidised healthcare expenses, after government subsidies and MediShield Life payouts.  In 2017, MediShield Life and MediSave together were able to cover about 92% of the post-subsidy bill for inpatient hospitalisation and day surgeries. For seniors aged 80 and above, more than 7 in 10 hospitalisations in subsidised wards did not require any cash payment, and more than 8 in 10 paid less than $100 in cash.

3   There are no plans at present to lift the withdrawal limit.  We do, however, recognise that the elderly have greater need for healthcare.  In recent years, we have enhanced outpatient subsidies and introduced MediShield Life, and these have improved affordability for all Singaporeans, especially the elderly.  We have also introduced targeted initiatives, such as the Pioneer Generation Package, specifically for the elderly.  As for MediSave withdrawals, we just raised the annual MediSave limit for outpatient chronic treatments from $400 to $500 in June this year.  At the same time, we lowered the minimum age under the Flexi-MediSave scheme from age 65 to 60, so that more Singaporeans can use up to another $200 of MediSave flexibly each year for outpatient care.

4   MOH will continue to monitor the affordability of subsidised care. Any further increases in MediSave withdrawal limits, whether for outpatient or inpatient care, should be considered very carefully and balanced against the longer term sustainability of MediSave accounts to serve the needs of Singaporeans. We will also continue to consider appeals for usage of MediSave above the withdrawal limits and extend MediFund to those who need additional financial assistance.





Category: Parliamentary QA