NAME AND CONSTITUENCY OF MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT
Mr Gan Thiam Poh
MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC
QUESTION NO. 519
To ask the Minister for Health (a) in the past five years, how many appeals have been received from Singaporeans and permanent residents for medical subsidy for their sponsored Long-Term Visit Pass (LTVP) holders and Dependant Pass holders; (b) how many cases and percentage of appeals have been allowed; (c) how many have been allowed to use their MediSave to help pay for the medical expenses of their LTVP holders and Dependant Pass holders; and (d) whether the Ministry will consider requiring the sponsors for all LTVP holders and Dependent Pass holders to acquire medical, hospitalisation and travel insurance for them during their stay in Singapore as part of the conditions of pass approval.
Government subsidies at our public healthcare institutions are generally accorded to Singapore Citizens (SCs) and Permanent Residents (PRs). From 2012, subsidies in the inpatient setting were also extended to dependants of SCs and PRs who are Long-Term Visit Pass Plus (LTVP+) holders.
While LTVP or Dependant Pass holders are not eligible for medical subsidies, some may be covered by their sponsors’ employee medical benefits or other private medical insurance plans. SCs and PRs may also tap on their MediSave to pay for the medical expenses incurred by LTVP or Dependant Pass holders who are their immediate family members, including parents, spouses, and children. Among a total of nearly 6 million MediSave withdrawals made within the past year, more than 500,000 were made on behalf of immediate family members; however, we do not track the number of LTVP or Dependent Pass holders specifically who have benefited from this provision. MOH receives fewer than 20 financing-related appeals each year from Singapore Residents for their sponsored dependants who are LTVP holders. Separately, our public healthcare institutions also receive appeals which are handled by their medical social workers.
Healthcare insurance could serve to better protect LTVP or Dependent Pass holders from large hospitalisation bills. However, any mandatory requirement for healthcare insurance for these individuals will have to be carefully considered, as it is important to strike a balance between premium affordability and the benefits of insurance coverage. MOH will look into this further, including the approach for other long staying foreigners.
LTVP or Dependant Pass patients who are facing financial difficulties may approach the medical social workers for assistance. Our public healthcare institutions may provide some assistance using their own hospital charity fund, or offer instalment plans for payment where required, based on their medical social workers’ assessment.