Your healthcare news library

Posts tagged ‘Medisave’

Govt to disburse $210m in Medisave top-ups for Pioneers from July

elderly-stock-pix719819
An elderly person in Singapore (File photo: Xabryna Kek/Channel NewsAsia)

SINGAPORE: Members of the Pioneer Generation will get their Medisave top-ups from July.

They would be receiving letters from the Government starting this week, informing them of the lifetime benefits that they will receive from the Pioneer Generation Package (PGP) and their eligibility.

The Medisave top-ups are the first benefit under the PGP to be implemented.

The Ministry of Finance (MOF) said about $210 million in Medisave top-ups will be disbursed to Pioneers this year.

Besides the Medisave top-ups, pioneers will also enjoy special subsidies for outpatient care.

These would include an additional 50 percent off subsidised treatments at polyclinics and Specialist Outpatient Clinics.

Pioneers will also enjoy special subsidies at general practitioner clinics under the Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS).

And those with moderate to severe functional disabilities under the Pioneer Generation Disability Assistance Scheme will get cash of $1,200 a year.

Pioneers will receive their Pioneer Generation cards by September.

They will be able to use their cards from 1 September 2014 to enjoy outpatient subsidies at CHAS clinics, polyclinics and Specialist Outpatient Clinics.

MOF said the MediShield Life premium subsidies will begin when MediShield Life is introduced in end-2015.

To be eligible for the PGP, living Singapore citizens need to meet two criteria: aged 16 years and above in 1965 and received their citizenship by 31 December 1986.

An Appeals Panel will look into appeals from those who marginally miss out on the criteria for the Pioneer Generation.

MOF said the panel will focus on those who marginally miss out on the citizenship attainment criterion, that is, to have obtained citizenship by 31 December 1986 but who have lived in Singapore since the early years and shown clear efforts to sink roots here.

via Govt to disburse $210m in Medisave top-ups for Pioneers from July – Channel NewsAsia.

Singaporeans welcome govt moves to tackle healthcare affordability


File photo of patients at a polyclinic in Singapore.

One analyst described the Budget measures as “generous, elderly-friendly and pro-poor”. But more needs to be done, said healthcare policy expert Dr Phua Kai Hong from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.

SINGAPORE: Ensuring the supply of medical services in future will be cost-effective so that it will not bring about over-consumption – this was a key observation made by a healthcare policy expert.

Dr Phua Kai Hong explained that the government will have to strike a balance between supply and demand side as well as public and private spending, as the government brings in substantial financing on the demand side.

Increased subsidies for specialist outpatient clinics for lower- and middle-income Singaporeans and more Medisave top-ups were some of the measures announced in Budget 2014 to make healthcare costs more affordable for locals, especially the elderly.

The moves earned the nods of many.

“Of course, it’ll help me, because at the moment I’m getting the health subsidies,” said Mr Robert Tan, aged 72.

“My mom is already 81, so she’s the only one who will benefit,” said Mr Liau Thian Sing, aged 45.

“If they (parents) have insufficient cash or insufficient funds, we (being their children) will actually have to help them,” said Ms Fiona Kam, 48.

One analyst described the Budget measures as “generous, elderly-friendly and pro-poor”.

But more needs to be done, said healthcare policy expert Dr Phua Kai Hong from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.

“What we are worried is the middle-class crunch, the generation that’s in between, who not only have to support their elderly parents but will also have to take care of their own healthcare needs in the future,” said Dr Phua.

“So, for this group, I think, as we go along we have to tweak the system to ensure that the Medisave top-ups will be enough.”

On the minds of many, having a more extensive list of conditions that can be covered by Medisave would be a bonus.

“Those people who are already ill, they hope so much that the list can go longer so that it will actually help them,” said Ms Fiona Kam.

The government has said that with higher Medisave contributions, it will allow elderly Singaporeans to use a portion of their Medisave more flexibly across a range of outpatient treatments.

– CNA/ir

via Singaporeans welcome govt moves to tackle healthcare affordability – Channel NewsAsia.

More surgical procedures covered under Medisave, MediShield from 2014

singapore-hospital
A hospital in Singapore (TODAY file photo)

More surgical procedures will be covered under Medisave and MediShield from January 2014, following the release of an updated Table of Surgical Procedures TOSP.

SINGAPORE: More surgical procedures will be covered under Medisave and MediShield from January 2014, following the release of an updated Table of Surgical Procedures (TOSP).

TOSP is a classification of surgical procedures based on their complexity.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) said the changes will help patients reduce their out-of-pocket cash expenses.

About 1,600 surgical procedures listed on TOSP are currently claimable under Medisave and MediShield — and the number will increase to 2,350 in January.

They will include procedures that are relatively new and have become more common, such as a surgery for abnormal heart rhythm, called Maze surgery.

Other than adding new procedures, MOH has also re-classified existing procedures to better reflect their complexity.

This means patients will not have to pay as much for less complicated surgeries.

Surgeries are categorised into 21 tables, running from Tables 1A, 1B, 1C through to Tables 7A, 7B, 7C, in order of complexity.

For example, total knee replacement is now classified under TOSP as a single procedure on Table 6B, but with the changes, it will be divided into three categories, ranked according to complexity.

The Singapore General Hospital (SGH), which sees about 2,000 knee replacements a year, said the changes will benefit their patients.

Professor Tan Ser Kiat, emeritus consultant at SGH’s Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, said: “The majority of the patients will then pay less compared to what they are paying today, because 70 per cent of the patients fall into the primary simple total knee replacement, which is table 6A.

“Today, all total knee replacements are classified as table 6B, which is one table higher than what is being proposed. The patients probably will pay somewhere in the region of 10 to 15 per cent less than what they would do today.”

Professor Tan added that patients which fall under the knee replacement revision category, which is a more complex procedure, will have to pay more than previously.

But he said this is fair, as the surgery requires more time and skill.

The changes were made in consultation with clinicians from various surgical backgrounds in both the public and private sector.

TOSP will be reviewed regularly, in order to keep up with future medical advances.

– CNA/nd

via More surgical procedures covered under Medisave, MediShield from 2014 – Channel NewsAsia.

More flexible use of Medisave for assisted conception

baby
A newborn baby. The Ministry of Health is lifting the three-cycle cap for Medisave claims for assisted conception procedures. (AFP File)

 

From October 1, couples can have greater flexibility in using Medisave to pay for treatments for their assisted conception procedures (ACP). That is because the Health Ministry will be lifting the three-cycle cap for Medisave claims for such procedures.

SINGAPORE: From October 1, couples can have greater flexibility in using Medisave to pay for treatments for their assisted conception procedures (ACP). That is because the Health Ministry will be lifting the three-cycle cap for Medisave claims for such procedures.

Currently, the Medisave withdrawal limit for ACPs is S$6,000 for the first treatment cycle, S$5,000 for the second treatment cycle, and S$4,000 for the third cycle.

The ministry said that with couples now claiming less Medisave than before per cycle due to the enhanced government co-funding for assisted reproduction technologies, it will allow couples to use Medisave for more than three cycles — with the fourth and subsequent cycles subject to a S$4,000 limit each.

However, to ensure that couples do not deplete their Medisave prematurely, the cumulative Medisave use allowed for ACP will remain at S$15,000.

Currently, Medisave can be used for ACPs at any public or private assisted reproduction (AR) centres. The Health Ministry has enhanced this over the years to support couples in having children.

Besides the use of Medisave, the ministry has also provided Singaporean couples government co-funding for assisted reproduction technologies (ART) treatment at public hospitals, which was enhanced in January 2013 as part of the Marriage and Parenthood Package.

Since then, some Singaporeans have asked for more flexibility in the use of Medisave to complement the enhanced co-funding scheme. As such, the ministry has decided to lift the three-cycle cap for Medisave claims for ACPs to provide more flexibility.

– CNA/ac

via More flexible use of Medisave for assisted conception – Channel NewsAsia.

MOH extends use of Medisave to cover more chronic diseases

geylang-polyclinic
File photo: Patients at Geylang Polyclinic (Photo: Try Sutrisno Foo)

Singapore’s health ministry will extend the use of Medisave for outpatient treatment of five more chronic conditions: osteoarthritis, benign prostatic hyperplasia, anxiety, Parkinson’s disease and nephritis/nephrosis.

SINGAPORE: Singapore’s health ministry will extend the use of Medisave for outpatient treatment of five more chronic conditions.

The five chronic conditions are osteoarthritis (degenerative joint diseases), benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlargement of the prostate gland), anxiety, Parkinson’s disease and nephritis/nephrosis (chronic kidney disease).

Treatment of these chronic conditions can also be subsidised up to S$480 per year under the Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS).

This will help patients with these chronic conditions reduce their cash payment.

Chronic conditions currently covered under Medisave include diabetes mellitus, hypertension, lipid disorders, stroke, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, major depression, schizophrenia, dementia and bipolar disorder.

CHAS cardholders will also enjoy subsidies for the recommended screening tests under the Integrated Screening Programme (ISP).

They will also be able to enjoy subsidies for consultation with a general practitioner (GP) for the screening, and to review the screening test results.

The recommended screening tests under the ISP are screening for obesity, diabetes, hypertension, lipid disorders, colorectal cancer and cervical cancer.

As part of an ongoing review, the use of Medisave will also be extended for certain vaccinations and outpatient screenings, up to the prevailing withdrawal limit of S$400 per Medisave account per year.

The pneumococcal and influenza vaccinations are for high-risk groups such as the very young, elderly, persons with chronic medical conditions and those with poor immune function.

Also included are recommended neonatal screening tests for newborns.

All the changes will take effect from 1 January 2014.

Charges at specialist outpatient clinics in public hospitals will also be lowered as subsidies will be enhanced for the lower- and middle-income groups.

Details will be announced in the first quarter of 2014.

The qualifying age for CHAS at 40 years and above will be removed from 1 January 2014.

This means that all Singaporeans in lower- and middle-income households can access subsidised medical and dental care at over 800 private clinics.

The health and finance ministries will also consider how the elderly can be supported for their MediShield Life premiums through the Pioneer Generation package.

The health ministry will also review how premiums can be better spread over one’s lifetime to help moderate premium increases after retirement.

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

– CNA/xq

via MOH extends use of Medisave to cover more chronic diseases – Channel NewsAsia.

GPC submits suggestions for more affordable healthcare

a-surgeon-performs-a-sex
A surgeon performs an operation on an unseen patient. (AFP/File)

The Government Parliamentary Committee (GPC) for Health has submitted several recommendations to the government to make healthcare more affordable. It wants to review and rationalise existing medical health schemes and framework.

SINGAPORE: The Government Parliamentary Committee (GPC) for Health has submitted four recommendations to the government to make healthcare more affordable.

One is the right siting of care within the continuum of care.

The GPC said feedback from social workers indicates that they see regular cases of clients who choose to voluntarily admit themselves or extend their stay in hospital so that they can use their Medisave for treatment.

It said Medisave curbs that over-encourage the use of acute healthcare system should be reduced and minimised.

It also wants the current ElderShield payout to be revised.

The GPC said the current payout is not enough for Singaporeans to even cover nursing home fees.

The second recommendation is managing rising healthcare costs.

The GPC said the standard drug list should be expanded and regularly reviewed.

This will benefit the public as the cost of medication will be lowered and out-of-pocket cost minimised.

Enhancing the 3M framework is another recommendation.

The GPC said the scope of Medisave usage should be enhanced.

Medisave should be allowed to be used for health screening, essential dental procedures, physiotherapy and occupational therapy up to a certain cap to prevent excessive usage.

Medisave withdrawal limits should be regularly reviewed to ensure that the out-of-pocket expenditure for Singaporeans remains manageable.

It wants to make sure that Medisave is not depleted prematurely as people use it to support family members.

The GPC also wants the government to strengthen and expand the MediShield coverage to community and social care costs and remove the age ceiling on MediShield.

Finally the GPC said existing medical assistance schemes and frameworks should be reviewed and rationalised.

It wants the age criterion of Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) removed, the Chronic Disease Management Programme (CDMP) expanded and the Medisave limits on usage under CDMP raised.

The GPC also wants existing financial support schemes and their application processes reviewed and simplified to ensure accessibility to those who need them.

GPC chairman Lam Pin Min has submitted the recommendations to the Ministry of Health for its consideration.

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said the GPC’s report is a thoughtful one, reflecting the concerns of many Singaporeans.

He agreed with the key thrusts such as care integration, managing healthcare costs, enhancing the healthcare financing framework and reviewing and rationalising existing medical assistance schemes.

Mr Gan said the ministry is studying the suggestions, adding that many of the current policy reviews are aligned to the recommendations.

– CNA/xq/ir

via GPC submits suggestions for more affordable healthcare – Channel NewsAsia.

CPF & Medisave minimum sums, Medisave contribution ceiling to be raised


(File photo)

SINGAPORE: From 1 July this year, the CPF minimum sum, Medisave minimum sum and Medisave contribution ceiling will be raised.

CPF members who turn 55 between 1 July 2013 and 30 June 2014 will need to set aside a minimum sum of S$148,000 in their Retirement Account.

The minimum sum for 2012 was S$139,000.

The minimum sum has been adjusted over the years to account for inflation, longer life expectancies and Singaporeans’ rising expectations of their quality of life.

The minimum sum is targeted to reach S$120,000 in 2015.

The Medisave minimum sum will also be raised from S$38,500, to S$40,500 from 1 July 2013.

The Medisave minimum sum is the amount that a person turning 55 needs to set aside in his old age for his own or his dependants’ healthcare expenses and basic MediShield and ElderShield premiums.

Members will be able to withdraw their Medisave savings in excess of the minimum sum at or after the age of 55.

The maximum balance a member may have in his Medisave Account, known as the Medisave contribution ceiling, is set at S$5,000 above the Medisave minimum sum, and this would be increased correspondingly from S$43,500 to S$45,500.

Any Medisave contribution in excess of the current Medisave contribution ceiling will be transferred to the member’s Special Account if he is below age 55 or to his Retirement Account if he is above age 55 and has a minimum sum shortfall.

The CPF Board said regular Medisave minimum sum adjustments are necessary to help Singaporeans meet their long-term healthcare needs.

– CNA/xq

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/cpf-medisave-minimum-sums-medisave-contr/666194.html

Coverage for MediShield, Medisave may be extended further: Health Minister

Medisave, MediShield may be used for outpatient treatments & home-based hospice care, says Health Minister Gan Kim Yong in a two-hour wide-ranging dialogue with over 100 participants.

Medisave, MediShield may be used for outpatient treatments & home-based hospice care, says Health Minister Gan Kim Yong in a two-hour wide-ranging dialogue with over 100 participants.

SINGAPORE: Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said his ministry is “seriously considering” the idea of expanding the coverage of the MediShield – a national health insurance scheme – to go beyond just hospitalisation treatments.

Speaking at a post-budget dialogue session on Sunday, he said the ministry may also free up the use of Medisave – a national medical savings scheme – to include home-based hospice care.

Over 100 participants engaged the Health Minister in the two-hour wide-ranging dialogue.

Some wanted to know what more is being done to ramp up capacity in the healthcare sector.

But affordability was a key concern, with calls to expand the coverage of current financing schemes such as Medisave and MediShield.

Mr Gan said his ministry is aware that there are some outpatient treatments which can be costly and where insurance coverage under the MediShield may be useful.

So he’s studying how the scheme can be expanded further.

The key is in striking a balance, so that premiums remain affordable.

Mr Gan said: “One area is say for example – chronic diseases. So whether we want to cover that, is something that we need to discuss, we need to explore and we need to also think through very carefully, because if we include too many items, the premiums will also go up for insurance. So we need to strike a balance between providing coverage as well as the cost of insurance.”

The ministry will also study ways to help Singaporeans pay for the insurance premiums.

As for the use of Medisave, Mr Gan said extending it to cover home-based hospice care is one possibility.

But he said authorities need to be mindful about the many competing demands.

“There was request for extension to screenings, extension to hospice care and so on. These are all reasonable desires but at the end we still need to prioritise them, because after all Medisave balances are still limited, there’s a finite pool and we want to make best use of the finite pool of savings that Singaporeans have,” Mr Gan said.

The need to attract more locals into the healthcare sector was another concern and there were suggestions for salaries to be raised. Mr Gan assured that salaries will be kept competitive and that another round of review is likely to take place this year or next year.

As for capacity, Mr Gan said the ministry is also working with private hospitals to tap on their capacity to cater to subsidised patients.

– CNA/ck – http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/1262078/1/.html

MOH to review Medisave to cover more medical conditions

Khoo Teck Puat Hospital

Khoo Teck Puat Hospital

 

SINGAPORE: The Health Ministry (MOH) said it will review its 3M model – which includes Medisave, MediShield and Medifund – to make it more effective and relevant to the needs of Singaporeans.

It is looking to liberalise Medisave so that it can be used for more medical conditions while encouraging Singaporeans to save.

Speaking on Friday at the Our Singapore Conversation on Healthcare, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said more details will be shared at this year’s Committee of Supply debate.

This exchange is part of the ongoing Singapore Conversation which aims to encourage a ground-up participation from various stakeholders so that the government can benefit from a regular rethink of where it stands.

Affordable yet quality healthcare, providing a better understanding of the various healthcare schemes and better support for the elderly were some of the concerns raised at the Our Singapore Conversation for healthcare attended by various healthcare professionals.

One of the issues that were discussed at the dialogue session was on how to improve the care delivered to the elderly.

Participants said that caregiver training has to be beefed up and also our living environment has to be made more elderly friendly in order to cater to the demands of our rising ageing population.

Health minister Gan Kim Yong said: “I think we have done quite a lot in the tertiary sector in the inpatient care. But in the outpatient, some of the medicine especially for chronic diseases can be costly so they are concerned and hope that we can do more to help them. They are also looking at how we can give them better coverage in terms of insurance because then there is a greater sense of assurance that the cost will be covered to some extent.”

Mr Gan added: “They also understand there is a need to continue to have some form of co-payment and deductible so there is some form of individual responsibility even as we increase the insurance. They also appreciate the trade-offs, the balance because as you increase the coverage, there is also a need for more premiums and contributions to the insurance. They hope the government can contribute and help in this respect.”

Some doctors also called for one point of contact for patients and caregivers to approach about their healthcare needs.

This will allow them to be taken care of in a more holistic manner.

Dr Ian Leong, a geriatrician at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, said: “At this point in time, there are really many services and they are all in some ways fairly similar. But there are important differences and they can only handle a particular kind of healthcare need. Because of that, it becomes very confusing for a particular person who to approach and whether that service fits their needs entirely.”

Others also called for more flexibility within healthcare institutions to make it easier for patients to obtain subsidies.

CNA/fa

No S’porean will be deprived of medical treatment: Dr Amy Khor

Dr Amy Khor (file picture)

Dr Amy Khor (file picture)

 

SINGAPORE: Minister of State for Health and Manpower, Dr Amy Khor said no Singaporean will be deprived of medical treatment just because they cannot afford to pay for their healthcare.

Speaking at the Punggol East by-election rally for the People’s Action Party, Dr Khor stressed this is possible with the combination of heavy government subsidies on its health policies – Medisave and Medifund.

Addressing the issue of rising healthcare costs, Dr Khor acknowledged the government’s healthcare financing is not perfect, but the system has served Singaporeans well.

She said the Health Ministry will continue to review the healthcare financing policies to ensure healthcare remains affordable and accessible to every Singaporean.

Dr Khor also responded to proposals from the opposition for unrestricted use of Medisave.

She said: “Medisave is a patient’s hard earned savings so we should not lightly propose unrestricted use of Medisave from age 75. This could lead to premature depletion of Medisave as our life expectancy gets longer. So it’s better that the government steps in to help with Medifund and other assistance programmes if the elderly have problems with their medical bills.”

CNA/xq

Tag Cloud