This article was updated on 04 March 2019 to incorporate announcements made at Budget 2019.
Many of the announcements at this year’s National Day Rally surrounding housing were only to take effect decades from now. Fortunately, the change to Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) was both concrete and due to take effect in the near future. PM Lee announced that CHAS will be expanded to include all Singaporeans with chronic conditions, regardless of income.
Here is your guide to what is CHAS, who’s eligible, and the benefits that Singaporeans with chronic conditions can look forward to enjoying.
What Is CHAS?
Introduced in 2012, CHAS subsidises lower and middle income Singaporeans’ when they visit participating general practitioners (GPs), private dentists and Specialist Outpatient Clinics (SOCs) at public hospitals. This was meant to help Singaporeans manage the cost of outpatient medical expenses and reduce the load on public hospitals and polyclinics.
In 2014, enhanced benefits were provided to all members of the Pioneer Generation using the CHAS framework.
In 2018, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced the expansion of CHAS to cover all Singaporeans with chronic conditions, regardless of income. This was further reiterated and elaborated upon by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat during his Budget Statement 2019.
Today, CHAS benefits are enjoyed by 1.3 million Singaporeans at 1,000 private GP clinics and 700 dental clinics islandwide.
Eligibility For CHAS
To qualify for CHAS, applicants must be Singapore Citizens and meet the following criteria:
For households with income: the household monthly income per person must be $1,800 and below. Household monthly income per person is the total gross household monthly income divided by total number of family members living together. Gross monthly income refers to your basic income, overtime pay, allowances, cash awards, commissions and bonuses. You can calculate your household monthly income per person here.
For households with no income: the Annual Value (AV) of home must be $21,000 and below. The AV of your home is the estimated annual rent if it is rented out. It is assessed by IRAS. For reference, an AV of $21,000 covers all HDB flats and some lower-value private properties.
Members of the Pioneer Generation and Singaporeans with chronic conditions will automatically enjoy CHAS benefits, regardless of their income or their home’s AV.
Singapore Citizens have a Public Assistance (PA) card do not need to apply for CHAS, as they can already receive full CHAS subsidies by showing the PA card.
Benefits For CHAS Cardholders
Those who are eligible for CHAS will hold either a Blue or Orange card, depending on household income or Annual Value of their property. Singapore Citizens who are on Public Assistance (PA) will also receive full subsidies for treatment of conditions covered under the Blue CHAS tier.
CHAS cards are typically valid for two years, after which they need to be renewed. Pioneers holding a Pioneer Generation card receive the greatest subsidies regardless of income or property value, and their card is valid for life.
Here is the list of conditions and procedures that you’ll enjoy CHAS subsidies for:
And here are the subsidies CHAS cardholders and Pioneer Generation members will enjoy:
In Budget 2019, it was announced that CHAS Orange cardholders (who originally only received subsidies for chronic conditions) will also get subsidies for common illnesses.
You can login to the CHAS website to check the amount of subsidies you have left for the year or enquire at participating CHAS clinics.
Where Can CHAS Cards Be Used?
All participating CHAS GPs and dental clinics will display the CHAS stickers. These clinics are made up of:
CHAS GP and Dental clinics: The cards can be used at 1,600 participating CHAS GP and dental clinics. You can use this clinic locator to locate the nearest clinic around your vicinity.
Community Health Centres (CHCs): CHAS cards can also be used at CHCs to receive subsidised rates for healthcare services which complement the clinical care offered by CHAS GPs for chronic conditions. Services at CHCs include Diabetic Retinal Photography (DRP), Diabetic Foot Screening (DFS), nurse counselling, dietetics and physiotherapy.
Primary Care Network (PCN) / Specialist Outpatient clinics: PCN refers to a network of General Practitioners (GPs) supported by nurses and care coordinators who provide holistic, coordinated care for patients with chronic conditions like diabetes, hypertension and hyperlipidaemia. You can also enjoy CHAS subsidies at Specialist Outpatient Clinics when referred by your GP.
To enjoy subsidies for your treatment at the CHAS clinic, you will need to produce your CHAS card, Pioneer Generation card, Public Assistance card and NRIC during your visit, preferably at the point of registration. CHAS cardholders below 15 years old will need to present their CHAS card with a student ID or birth certificate.
How Do I Get My Very Own CHAS Card?
To apply to receive CHAS, you can download the CHAS application form or get it at any community centre, Community Development Council, public hospital or polyclinic. Family members living in the same address (as per their NRIC) will only need to submit one application form.
After completing the signed form, enclose it with supporting documents and mail it to P.O. Box 680, Bukit Merah Central Post Office, Singapore 911536. Applications will take around 15 working days to process.
Once successful, all eligible family members will receive their own CHAS Blue or Orange card (depending on the tier your household qualifies for) and a welcome pack with information on how to use the card and a list of participating CHAS clinics.
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