24th Feb 2021
Ms Foo Mee Har
MP for West Coast GRC
Question No. 710
To ask the Minister of Health (a) what is the basis used in the setting of MediSave withdrawal limits; and (b) whether it tracks (i) increasing medical costs for seniors and (ii) coverage of MediSave for seniors with chronic illnesses.
1. MediSave withdrawal limits are set to keep basic subsidised healthcare affordable for all Singaporeans, after taking into account government subsidies and MediShield Life payouts where applicable. They are also intended to strike a balance between helping Singaporeans afford the co-payment for their current treatments and ensuring that they have sufficient savings for future healthcare needs.
2. We recognise that seniors tend to have higher healthcare expenses, especially if they have chronic conditions. We have expanded the use of MediSave over the years to better support them. This includes raising the annual withdrawal limit for the Chronic Disease Management Programme (CDMP) from $400 to $500 in 2018 to enhance affordability for chronic disease patients, and more recently, raising the limit to $700 from 1 Jan 2021 for those with complex chronic conditions. This is on top of additional subsidies for chronic conditions for our Pioneer Generation and Merdeka Generation seniors at Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) clinics. Fewer than 2 in 10 seniors reached the $500 annual limit under the CDMP in 2019, and the raised $700 withdrawal limit will cover the annual bills of more patients with chronic conditions.
3. On top of this, seniors may tap on the Flexi-MediSave scheme to pay for their outpatient expenses at public sector Specialist Outpatient Clinics, Polyclinics and CHAS clinics. We also lowered the age limit for Flexi-MediSave from 65 to 60 in 2018, to allow younger seniors to benefit. In 2019, fewer than 2 in 10 seniors eligible to use Flexi-MediSave reached the $200 annual limit.
4. Lastly, for seniors who encounter severe disability, MediSave Care was introduced on 1 Oct 2020 and allows cash withdrawals of up to $200 per month to be made from their own or their spouse’s MediSave account to pay for varying types of long-term care expenses.
5. We will continue to review our healthcare financing schemes regularly to ensure that they remain relevant and adequate for Singaporeans’ needs.