The rise in Singapore’s ageing population poses a myriad of challenges for the government and the people of Singapore. One of such challenges is the financial stress caused by medical costs. Let’s face it – when we get older, our health starts to deteriorate, and we start to need more medical attention. Of course, we can slow the process by eating right and exercising but medical bills still tend to be one of the biggest causes of concern among the elderlies.
The government has stepped in with a variety of schemes to provide more financial assistance for the elderly in Singapore. Let’s have a look at these schemes and how they can be beneficial for the elderly.
Medifund is set-up by the government to help needy Singaporeans. It is a safety net for patients who face financial difficulties with their medical bills. Singaporeans who are aged 65 and older can apply for Medifund Silver which is more beneficial to seniors.
This scheme allows seniors aged 65 and above to use an additional $200 of their Medisave per year, for outpatient medical treatments at selected specialist outpatient clinics (SOCs), GPs and polyclinics. This additional $200 can be used over the outpatient Medisave limits – such as the $400 annual limit for the Chronic Disease Management Programme, and the $300 limit for outpatient scans.
Community Health Assistance Scheme
The Community Health Assistance Scheme (CHAS) enables Singapore Citizens from lower- to middle-income households, and all pioneers (aged 65 and above in 2014) to receive subsidies for medical and dental care at participating General Practitioners (GP) and dental clinics.
Pioneer Generation Package
The Pioneer Generation Package (PGP) was introduced by the government to honour and thank our Pioneers (aged 65 and above in 2014) for their hard work and education. About 450,000 Singaporeans will benefit from the Pioneer Generation Package.
Day to Day Care
Intermediate and long-term care subsidies
Intermediate and long-term care (ILTC) services are typically required for the elderly who may be frail and need assistance with their day-to-day activities or people who need further care and treatment after being discharged from the hospital – it is not only restricted to the elderly. The government provides subsidies to offset the heavy bills of these people needing additional care.
More information can be found at the MOH site.
Enhancement of Active Seniors
Elderly people are prone to falling and injuring themselves badly in their own homes. If you or your loved one want to move around safely in your own home, you can consider installing special features in your home to prevent falls.
You may find out more information on EASE here.
Foreign Domestic Workers Levy Concession
Levy concession for a foreign domestic worker (FDW) is meant to support Singaporeans needing care. FDW employers can get a concessionary rate of $60/month if you’re 65 years old and above or if you have an aged person (65 years old and above) living with you.
Do note that after the 1st of April 2019, the qualifying age for the aged person scheme will be raised from 65 to 67 years of age.
ElderShield & CareShield Life
ElderShield is meant to assist those who become severely disabled in their lifetime and may need long-term care. It is a basic long-term care insurance scheme targeted at severe disability, especially during old age. The scheme currently provides cash payouts of $400/month for up to 6 years. More information on ElderShield can be found on the MOH website.
In 2020, ElderShield will be enhanced to become CareShield Life which features higher payouts that increase over time with no cap on payout duration, to provide better protection against the uncertainty of long-term care costs if you become severely disabled.
Interim Disability Assistance Programme for the Elderly (IDAPE)
Since ElderShield was only introduced in 2002, there could have been some citizens who were not eligible for the scheme due to them being too old or having pre-existing disabilities. The eligibility criteria are similar to ElderShield, however coverage of IDAPE and ElderShield do not overlap. You can either be eligible for one or the other.
You can find out more about IDAPE here.
Seniors’ Mobility and Enabling Fund (SMF)
The Senior’s Mobility and Enabling Fun (SMF) provides holistic support for seniors to age in gracefully by extending subsidies –
If you’re a Singaporean with a CPF account, you would already have money saved in government schemes such as Medisave, MediShield Life, Medifund and ElderShield. These schemes are meant to help pay your medical bills. Atop these schemes, we have shared with you the various other schemes available for seniors – do share this knowledge with your friends and family to try and ease any financial stress that may be caused by medical bills.