Previously, we looked at the objectives of the CPF system and had an overview of the main CPF accounts. In this article, the very important issue of healthcare financing using Medisave and other related schemes is looked at in detail.
Medisave contributions makes up between 7% to 9.5% of wages, slightly lesser if you are a government employee because of supplementary insurance and healthcare benefits. So, what can you use your Medisave savings for? There are three major ways.
1. Medisave for Healthcare Costs
This money can be used primarily to pay for hospitalisation expenses of yourself or your dependants (parents, spouse, children, siblings). It can also be used for pre-emptive colonoscopy and mammograms screenings and a range of approved treatments and procedures such as chemotherapy/radiotherapy treatments, childbirth costs and treatment of Chronic Disease Management Programme (CDMP) diseases.
List of CDMP Diseases for Medisave:
- Diabetes mellitus
- Lipid disorders
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Major depression
- Bipolar disorder
2. Medisave for Insurance
The second category of uses for Medisave funds is for purchasing medical insurance. You can use them to buy either the CPF-run MediShield or approved medical insurance off the private market under the Private Medical Insurance Scheme (PMIS).
MediShield helps cover expenses for hospitalisation and catastrophic illnesses on a co-payment and deductible basis with the following exceptions. In other words, you still need to foot a portion of the bill (either cash of Medisave) as opposed to MediShield paying for everything within the insured amount.
For insurance under approved private insurers, you typically get some sort of financial protection in addition to having healthcare costs covered. For more information, you can look at the list of approved insurers and schemes offered.
There is also another insurance scheme called ElderShield for members above the age of 40. ElderShield is tailored for older folks to provide to cover long-term care costs.
3. Medisave for Withdrawal
You are required to keep the Medisave Minimum Sum of $38,500 in your Medisave account before you can withdraw money or transfer from Medisave when you reach the retirement age.
Should your Medisave account and MediShield/insurance payouts be insufficient for covering your healthcare costs, you would be required to top up the remaining in cash. For Singaporeans who have difficulties paying for their medical bills, they can apply for Medifund. Medifund is an endowment fund that helps needy Singaporeans cover their medical bills. To apply, one has to be a Singapore citizen, be receiving subsidised treatment in a Medifund-approved institution, and have difficulty covering the medical bills even with Medisave and insurance. Applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the Medifund Committee. You can look at the Medifund FAQ for more details.
We hope this article gave you a big-picture view of how Medisave and related schemes can help you in tackling your healthcare costs. If you found this article useful, your friends probably will too! So feel free to share it, like it, and comment on it. Here’s wishing you and your loved ones a healthy 2013!
Royalty-free photo from Getty Images. Used with appreciation.
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