1. From 1 September 2022 onwards, the Ministry of Health (MOH) will implement in phases changes related to the subsidy frameworks across healthcare settings, which had been announced in March 2021. To make subsidy application more seamless, MOH will also progressively streamline the household means-test process for determining eligible subsidies across the various healthcare settings.
Implementation Dates of Revised Subsidy Frameworks
2. In March 2021, MOH announced the revised means-tested subsidy frameworks for the acute hospital (AH), community hospital (CH) and specialist outpatient clinic (SOC) settings. These are significant changes to our healthcare financing policies to provide more subsidies to patients who need greater support, and encourage patients to access care at the most appropriate healthcare setting. Please refer to Annex for the revised subsidy frameworks in the various settings.
3. The revised frameworks will be implemented in phases, namely: 1 September 2022 for drug subsidies through the Medication Assistance Fund (MAF); 1 November 2022 for inpatient care and day surgery in acute hospitals, and inpatient rehabilitation and sub-acute services in community hospitals; and 1 January 2023 for outpatient care in the specialist outpatient clinics.
4. Our earlier announcement did not cover the following change to drug subsidies under the Standard Drug List (SDL) in acute and community hospitals. Instead of the current arrangement where drugs listed on the SDL are subsidised at a standard rate of 50%, subsidies will be means-tested by per capita household income (PCHI), and range from 50% to 75%, with more subsidies for the lower-income group. These changes will be effective from 1 November 2022 as well, together with other subsidy changes in AH and CH settings.
STREAMLINING OF HOUSEHOLD MEANS TEST PROCESS
5. To bring greater convenience to patients and healthcare providers, MOH is progressively streamlining the household means-test process, by using the PCHI data that is already computed for MediShield Life premium subsidy administration. This will eliminate the need for repeated subsidy application when care is sought at different settings. Patients keen to have their means-test status reassessed may request for more information through their public healthcare institution or healthcare service provider.
6. This streamlined household means-test process has been implemented for long-term care services such as nursing homes since 1 June 2022, and will be implemented for drugs and services subsidies in the acute AH, CH, SOC and polyclinic settings alongside the aforementioned subsidy changes.
Ensuring healthcare remains affordable
7. Overall, the financing and subsidy scheme changes will help target and increase subsidies to those who need them most, while managing healthcare cost growth sustainably. Patients who still face affordability concerns at public healthcare institutions may approach medical social workers for financial assistance. No one will be denied appropriate healthcare due to an inability to pay.
MINISTRY OF HEALTH
30 AUGUST 2022