MOH has announced more details on the initiatives on healthcare affordability which were first announced by PM Lee Hsien Loong in his National Day Rally last weekend.
The key changes will be an enhancement to CHAS, as well as an extension of the use of Medisave. All the changes take effect from 1st January 2014. There are also some changes to Medishield, which I will cover in a later post.
Enhancement of Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS)
- The current qualifying age for CHAS (40 years) will be removed.
- The qualifying income criteria will also be improved :
- Blue card – “From $900 or less per capita monthly household income” raised to “$1100 or less per capita monthly household income”
- Orange card – “More than $900 but $1,500 or less per capita monthly household income” raised to “More than $1,100 but $1,800 or less per capita monthly household income”
- CHAS cardholders who go to any CHAS participating GP for their Integrated Screening Programme (ISP) screening will also enjoy subsidies for doctor’s consultation charges (up to $18.50 per visit) for their screening and also for subsequent follow-up consultations up to two times a year. The recommended screening tests under ISP are screening for obesity, diabetes, hypertension, lipid disorders, colorectal cancer and cervical cancer.
Extension of Medisave Use
- You will be allowed to use your Medisave for the outpatient treatment of five more chronic conditions under the Chronic Disease Management Programme (CDMP). Up to $400 per Medisave account per year can be used to pay for outpatient treatments of these conditions at the Specialist Outpatient Clinics (SOCs), polyclinics and Medisave-accredited GP clinics, including CHAS clinics. This brings the number of chronic conditions to fifteen. The five new conditions are:
- Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
- Parkinson’s Disease
- You can use Medisave to pay for screening tests for your newborn baby during the hospital stay for the delivery. Even for outpatient visits, up to $400 per Medisave account per year can be used for the recommended screening tests for your newborn baby. These include hearing test, G6P deficiency screening, metabolic screening and thyroid function tests.
- People in high risk groups can use up to $400 per Medisave account per year to pay for pneumococcal and influenza vaccinations at all Medisave-accredited institutions. The list of high risk groups include:
- Adults aged 65 years and older;
- Children aged 6 months to less than 5 years (i.e. 59 months);
- Adults and children who have chronic disorders of the lung or heart systems, including asthma;
- Adults and children who have required regular medical follow-up or hospitalization during the preceding year due to chronic metabolic diseases (including diabetes mellitus), renal, neurologic, liver, or blood disorders, or immunosuppression (including immunosuppression caused by medications or the Human Immunodeficiency Virus);
- Children and adolescents aged 6 months to 18 years who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy and therefore might be at risk for developing Reye syndrome after influenza infection;
- Women at all stages of pregnancy;
- Residents of nursing homes and intermediate and long term care facilities.