8 schemes to reduce rising medical costs

 

Rising healthcare costs in Singapore have many of us wondering if we have enough in the bank to fund our parents’ medical bills. Thankfully, the government has equipped us with subsidies, insurance schemes and safety nets to ensure we have maximum financial support for this important expense. Unfortunately, many aren’t aware of these schemes and let them go to waste. In this post, we will highlight the various schemes to reduce the costs of in- and out-patient treatments for the elderly.

 

A. Eldershield

This is a severe disability insurance scheme designed to provide financial aid and protection for long term care, especially in old age. All Singaporeans and Permanent Residents aged 40 and above are automatically enrolled in the Eldershield plan. Annual premiums are payable in cash or by Medisave till the age of 65.

Benefits

  • Monthly payout for a period of time, depending on the plan
    • Eldershield 300 – $300/month, up to 60 months
    • Eldershield 400 – $400/month, up to 72 months
    • Covers pre-existing illnesses

Eligibility

  • Elderly unable to perform three Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)
  • Severe disabilities that existed before Eldershield enrollment will not be eligible

How to apply

  • An Eldershield welcome package will be mailed out 3 months before each individual’s 40th birthday
    • Contact Aviva, Great Eastern or NTUC income if your parents are not covered by Eldershield

Visit the Ministry of Health to learn more about Eldershield

 

B. Interim Disability Assistance Programme for the Elderly (IDAPE)

The IDAPE provides a monthly payout for elderly persons who are not eligible for Eldershield when it was launched.

Benefits

  • Monthly payout of $250 for individuals with per capita household income of $1,800 or less, up to 72 months
  • Monthly payout of $150 for individuals with per capita household income of $2,600 or less, up to 72 months

Eligibility

  • Singaporean
    • Born on/before 30 September 1932, or
    • Between 1 October 1932 and 30 September 1962 (inclusive), and with disabilities incurred after 30 September 2002
  • Elderly person unable to perform three Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)

How to apply

Visit SilverPages to learn more about IDAPE

 

C. Medical Fee Exemption Card (MEFC)

The Medical Fee Exemption Card (MFEC) will alleviate the medical costs of staying in a nursing home, chronic sick hospital and inpatient hospice. The elderly person can benefit from various free treatments at restructured hospitals, polyclinics and national specialty centres.

Benefits

  • Free treatment at restructured hospitals, polyclinics and national specialty centres
    • In- and out-patient medical consultations
    • Standard procedures such as X-ray, CT scan, blood test, etc.
    • Medications for selected drugs

Eligibility

  • Singaporean or Permanent Resident
  • Staying in an MOH-funded nursing home (or chronic sick hospital or inpatient hospice), or a private nursing home under the portable subsidy scheme and means-tested
  • Savings of $6,000 or less, and monthly income per capita of $700 or less

How to apply

  • Approach a medical social worker at the hospital or live-in centre

Visit SilverPages to learn more about the Exemption Card

 

D. Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS)

CHAS allows Pioneers to receive medical and dental care subsidies at General Practitioners (GP) and dental clinics. There are three forms of Health Assist Cards under CHAS: Blue, Orange, and the Pioneer Generation Card. The amount of subsidies and benefits vary between the cards, as indicated below.

Benefits

Blue Assist Card

  • Common illness (per visit): maximum $18.50
  • Simple chronic conditions (single): maximum $80 per visit, up to $320 per year
  • Complex chronic conditions (multiple): maximum $120 per visit, up to $480 per year
  • Dental service (per dental service): $11 to $256.50 (selected services only, depends on procedure)

Orange Assist Card

  • Common illness (per visit): no subsidy
  • Simple chronic conditions (single): maximum $50 per visit, up to $200 per year
  • Complex chronic conditions (multiple): maximum $75 per visit, up to $300 per year
  • Dental service (per dental service): $55 to $170.50 (crown, denture & root canal treatment only)

Pioneer Generation Card

  • Common illness (per visit): maximum $28.50
  • Simple chronic conditions (single): maximum $90 per visit, up to $360 per year
  • Complex chronic conditions (multiple): maximum $135 per visit, up to $540 per year
  • Dental service (per dental service): $21 to $256.50 (selected services only, depends on procedure)

Eligibility

  • Singaporean

Blue Health Assist Card

Less than $1,100 in household monthly income per capita (with income), or less than $13,000 in Annual Value (AV) of the residence (without income)

Orange Health Assist Card

$1,101 to $1,800 in household monthly income per capita (with income), or $13,000 to $21,000 in Annual Value (AV) of residence (without income)

Pioneers

Automatically eligible for CHAS subsidies, regardless of income or AV of home

How to apply

  • Each family to submit one application form to CHAS

Visit CHAS to learn more about the Community Health Assist Scheme

 

Want to know more on which schemes are best for your parents?

Consult SilverAlly at 626-515-00

E. Medisave

Medisave helps CPF members with their health care needs, especially during retirement. Anyone with a CPF account will automatically have a Medisave account. If your parents have insufficient funds, you may use your Medisave funds for their medical costs.

Benefits

  • Pays for hospitalisation and some outpatient expenses
  • Claim up to $450 per day for daily hospital charges
  • Claim up to $300 per day for daily hospital charges for surgery
  • Claim up to $7,550 for surgical operations

More benefits here

Eligibility

  • Anyone with a CPF account
  • Admitted to the hospital for at least 8 hours

How to apply

  • Visit link for withdrawal and claim forms

 

F. Flexi-Medisave

If your parents are aged 65 and above, Flexi-Medisave is an add-on feature that gives them more flexibility for use towards certain out-patient treatments.

Benefits

  • Withdrawal of up to $200 per year, for the following:
    • Outpatient treatments at approved health centres
    • Screening tests under the Integrated Screening Programme (selected chronic diseases and cancers)
    • After the limit of Medisave usage has been exceeded

Visit the Ministry of Health to learn more about Flexi-Medisave

Eligibility

  • Singaporean, aged 65 and above

 

G. Medishield Life

Medishield Life is a mandatory health insurance provided by the CPF board to pay for large hospital bills and costly outpatient treatments. In addition, it covers the elderly with pre-existing conditions, but may be subject to additional premiums*.

Benefits

  • Claim up to $700 for hospital charges, and up to $7,000 for a procedure, such as surgery or implants
  • Claim up to $3,000 for outpatient treatments
  • Lower co-insurance payable by the insured
  • Covers for pre-existing conditions*

Eligibility

  • Household monthly income of $2,600 or less
  • Annual value of residence is $21,000 or less
  • No ownership of more than one property

Visit the Ministry of Health to learn more about Medishield Life

 

H. Medifund

Medifund is an endowment fund set up by the government to help Singaporeans who are struggling with the remaining medical costs after receiving government subsidies and other means of payments, such as Medishield Life, private Integrated Shield Plans (IPs), Medisave and cash.

Benefits

Amount of assistance provided will be worked out by the Medifund Committee

Eligibility

  • Singaporean
  • Already receiving subsidies
  • Received medical treatment from Medifund-approved institutions
  • Have financial difficulty affording the medical bills after exhausting all other subsidies

How to apply

  • Approach a medical social worker at the hospital or live-in centre Visit the Ministry of Health to learn more about Medifund

 

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