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Healthier SG: How Can Singaporeans Benefit By Enrolling With A Family Doctor?

No need to doctor-hop

For many Singaporeans, our healthcare system is about going to the doctor only when we are sick or getting a referral via a polyclinic for cheaper public healthcare. Many of us doctor-hop: going to our company’s panel doctor to get our medical certificates and then to the polyclinic, when we are no longer covered by company insurance, for the cheaper consultations and medications for chronic illnesses. Yet, having a regular family doctor tends to lead to better health outcomes and fewer visits to the hospitals and emergency departments.

With Healthier SG, the Ministry of Health is transforming how Singapore’s healthcare work in a radical manner by getting Singaporeans to enrol with a family doctor and tying subsidies, grants and service fees to this doctor-patient relationship.

So, how can Singaporeans benefit by enrolling with a family doctor under Healthier SG?

Read Also: Complete Guide To Healthcare Financing In Singapore

Healthier SG Aims To Change Patient-Doctor Interactions To A Long-Term Relationship

Instead of seeing the doctor only when we need it or doctor-hopping, Singapore residents will enroll with a family doctor under Healthier SG. These family doctors will then guide and support us in our healthcare needs. This is a shift toward preventative care, instead of the current curative care.

Healthier SG will be rolled out in phases from 2H2023. Singapore residents aged 60 and above will be first invited to enroll with a family doctor in mid-2023, followed by those aged 40 to 59 in the following two years.

We will have a choice in which doctor we want to enroll with, and we can make changes if we change our minds in the future. We can make one supported change of enrolled clinic in a year. During the initial enrolment period, MOH will support up to four changes. We are also not restricted to only our enrolled clinic – we can still visit other clinics if our enrolled clinic is closed or if we want a second opinion.

First Onboarding Health Consultation Will Be Fully Paid For By The Government

Once we are successfully enrolled, we can schedule our first onboarding health consultation. This is fully paid for by the Government. However, if we choose to change our enrolled clinic, we will have to pay for the subsequent onboarding health consultations on our own.

During the onboarding health consultation, our family doctor will assess our medical history, health needs and concerns. If we have no chronic conditions, the doctor may advise us on preventive measures as part of our health plan. This may include health screenings and vaccinations. Our annual check-in with the family doctor will be subsidised.

If we have chronic conditions, our family doctor will manage our follow-up care. This may typically require 2 to 4 consultations annually. We can tap on the prevailing subsidies such as CHAS for these consultations. Additionally, by going to our enrolled family doctor for treatment of chronic conditions, we are also eligible for additional Healthier SG benefits.

Read Also: Complete Guide To The Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS)

Nationally Recommended Vaccinations And Screenings For Enrolled Singapore Citizens Will Be Fully Subsided

Vaccinations and health screenings are an important part of preventive care.

Currently, under the National Child Immunisation Schedule, Singaporean children are fully subsidised for the nationally recommended vaccinations administered at CHAS GP clinics and polyclinics. Under Healthier SG, these fully subsidised vaccinations can be administered by our enrolled family doctor. For parents who dread the long queues at the polyclinics, this can be a huge relief.

For adults, there is also the National Adult Immunisation Schedule. Currently, these nationally recommended vaccinations are partially subsidised by the government, and we can use our MediSave to make the co-payments. These vaccinations will be fully subsidised when we go to our family doctor under Healthier SG.

For those of us who suffer from the annual cold, this would mean the end of our annual suffering as influenza is one of the nationally recommended vaccines.

Read Also: Cost Guide To Popular Vaccinations In Singapore

Additionally, the recommended health screenings will be also fully covered under Healthier SG: Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidaemia as well as breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer.

Currently, Screen For Life provides subsidised screenings for 4 chronic illnesses and 3 cancers: diabetes, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, obesity, cervical cancer (for females), breast cancer (for females) and colon cancer. Under SFL, Singaporeans only have to pay up to $5 at approved CHAS clinics.

Read Also: Health Screening In Singapore: What Is Screen For Life And The Subsidised Health Screenings Singaporeans Can Receive

No Need To Co-Pay In Cash When Using MediSave For Chronic Conditions

For those of us with chronic conditions, we are able to use our MediSave under the Chronic Disease Management Programme (CDMP). Eligible chronic treatments are claimable with a 15% cash co-payment. For example, if treatment cost $100, the patient would have to fork out $15 in cash and the rest would be claimable from MediSave.

Under Healthier SG, we will have more flexibility in using our MediSave when we visit our enrolled family doctor. We will be able to use our MediSave fully without any cash outlay as the need to co-pay in cash will be removed when enrolled residents use their MediSave under the CDMP at their family doctor.

[Update: From 1 February 2024, enrolled residents with chronic conditions under the CDMP can also use their MediSave to fully pay for their treatment at the enrolled clinic, up to the MediSave 500/700 withdrawal limit. There is no longer a need to make the 15% co-payment of the bill in cash.

Read Also: 9 Ways You Can Use Your MediSave To Pay For Your Healthcare Expenses

Medication Prices For Chronic Drugs Will Be Comparable To Polyclinics

For those of us who are worried about medication prices when we enroll with a family doctor, MOH will be making drug prices at participating private family doctor clinics more comparable to those at polyclinics through a combination of enhanced drug subsidies and drug price limits.

MOH will introduce a new subsidy tier to CHAS for common chronic drugs. CHAS, Pioneer Generation or Merdeka Generation cardholders will be able to obtain these drugs at the private family doctor clinic which they have enrolled with.

More Health Points To Encourage Active Living

As part of one’s overall health plan, Healthier SG also includes active lifestyle changes. To help encourage people to live an active lifestyle, Healthier SG will leverage the existing Healthy365 (H365) app and health point system of the National Steps Challenge and Eat, Drink, Shop Healthy Challenge by the Health Promotion Board (HPB).

To incentivize Singaporeans to onboard the Healthier SG, a free initial health plan consultation will be provided at enrolled clinic. Additionally, you will also receive 3,000 Healthpoints (worth $20) through the Healthy 365 app. Furthermore, you may also enjoy fully subsidised nationally-recommended vaccinations and screenings at your enrolled clinic.

Read Also: 6 Fitness Bands (Xiaomi, FitBit, Applewatch and Garmi) To Monitor Your Fitness Activities And Win Prizes

Receive More Subsidies For Common Chronic Medications Under The Healthier SG Chronic Tier

Starting 1 February 2024, all Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS), Pioneer Generation (PG) and Medeka Generation (MG) cardholders would be able to receive Healthier SG Chronic Tier subsidies of up to 87.5% for selected chronic medications, with no dollar cap at their enrolled clinic. They will also receive up to $360 in subsidies per year for other components of their care, such as consultation, lab tests, and other medications. This is expected to benefit those whose bill may exceed the current CHAS annual subsidy limit of $500.

The table below shows the subsidies different cardholders will receive under the Healthier Chronic Tier vs CHAS Chronic Tier:

Source: MOH – Annex A

Though you can only use one of the subsidy framework at each visit to the enrolled clinic, you can alternate between the two subsidy frameworks depending on any changes to your medication needs. Do note that the remaining balance in the annual dollar subsidy will be pro-rated when you switch between the subsidy frameworks to account for the difference in annual limits.

This article was first published on 6 October 2022 and has been updated to reflect the latest changes.

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