2nd Nov 2020
Mr Christopher De Souza
MP for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC
Question No. 181
To ask the Minister for Health whether the Ministry will consider allowing more flexibility for the elderly to use MediSave for dental procedures not involving surgeries such as the making of dentures or root planning to treat advanced gum disease.
1. MediSave is primarily intended to help Singaporeans afford the co-payment for their more costly medical expenses after subsidies and MediShield Life, such as hospitalisations, day surgeries, and selected outpatient treatments. In recent years, we have introduced greater flexibility in MediSave use for the elderly, such as by raising the withdrawal limits for those with complex chronic conditions, and lowering the age threshold of the Flexi-MediSave scheme, allowing more elderly to benefit. However, each extension in the use of MediSave must be carefully balanced against the need to keep contribution rates reasonable for all Singaporeans.
2. MediSave can currently be used to pay for dental day surgical treatments, which generally incur higher out-of-pocket costs. This ensures that MediSave can be used on a targeted basis to offset the largest bills. At the same time, a range of measures are available to improve the affordability of non-surgical dental treatments. Singaporeans can benefit from subsidised dental treatments at our public healthcare institutions, including 10 polyclinics, and may be referred to the National Dental Centre Singapore and National University Centre for Oral Health Singapore for complex treatment if they require specialist care. At dental clinics which are part of the Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS), eligible Singaporeans may also tap on CHAS dental subsidies for selected procedures, including the making of dentures. These healthcare financing schemes work in tandem to ensure that necessary treatments are affordable to all Singaporeans.
3. Nevertheless, elderly patients who cannot afford their dental treatment after subsidies can approach medical social workers for MediFund and other financial assistance. No Singaporean will be denied access to necessary and appropriate healthcare because of an inability to pay.