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Healthcare Financing in Singaporeans

Many people hold on to the fact that their health is one of their greatest sources of wealth. There is so much truth to this since without good health, it will be impossible for you to continue managing your business or performing well in your job. Unless you are healthy in every way, your potentials are limited – and this includes your capability to increase your wealth and thrive in life.

In an expensive city such as Singapore, you cannot possibly allow yourself to be sick. Just imagine how a major illness can set you back financially. Taking a leave from work for several days, weeks, or even months will certainly put a strain on your finances, and it is even worse if you are the breadwinner of the family. With you sick in the hospital, how can your loved ones make ends meet without money coming in?

This is the harsh reality among Singaporeans who suffer from illnesses and unable to go to work. There are those who do not even have sufficient funds for emergency purposes, and they are left with a hefty hospital bill that needs to be paid immediately. Without money in the bank saved for such an emergency, they have no choice but to go to a money lender and take out a loan since their credit may be too low for them to even qualify for a bank loan. Now, with debts to pay, a failing health, and insufficient income each month, these all sound like a recipe for a disaster.

Healthcare in Singapore

Singapore is indeed a progressive country, and it is also known for its exceptional healthcare system. Researchers have found out that the country spent a total of $3,290 on healthcare per capita back in 2014, which was significantly lower than the US at $9,216 per capita. This is why Singaporeans are fortunate to have an efficient and world-class healthcare system that offers the best value for their money in terms of the services they receive.

It may be worth looking into the different components that all come together in ensuring the finest healthcare Singapore has to offer. As it is made of a multi-layered and complex system, Singapore’s healthcare is the collaborative effort of the government, the insurance industry, private employers, and every individual in the nation.

Let us learn more about the different healthcare schemes that make the country’s healthcare system among the best in the world.

1. Subsidies

Subsidies are provided by the government as based on the means-testing that cover the payment for healthcare. At the same time, this helps support the needs of Singaporeans when it comes to receiving a high level of healthcare no matter what their income may be. For instance, patients who make under $3,200 can receive as much as 80 percent in subsidies from the Singapore government during their stay at a Class C ward. This is applicable in a public or government hospital, which is quite a good amount of financial support.

In addition, subsidies are set in place to provide ample coverage for hospitalisation, primary care, day surgery, and treatment obtained at outpatient specialist clinics. There are also subsidies for intermediate and extensive healthcare such as nursing homes, day rehabilitation centre programmes, and home care. This is indeed a great help for people who require long-term help with their medical condition, which could easily cost them thousands of dollars.

2. Medisave

Singaporeans are entitled to a Medisave, which is an individual health savings plan that is mandatory and set in place under the CPF or Central Provident Fund. With this health savings scheme, Singaporeans can grow their savings for their medical needs in the future. Aside from covering their personal medical needs, Medisave can also support the needs of immediate family members. They also have the option to pay the premium cost for the Medishield.

The starting rate of contribution for the Medisave is at 8 percent. However, as person ages, it increases to 10.5 percent. The reason for the increase is due to the higher and more complex potential healthcare expenditures once a person enters old age. Keep in mind, though, the the use of Medisave funds has some limits, so it is important to be aware of this fact to avoid any hassle.

Then, there is the Medisave Grant for Newborns, and this caters to Singaporean babies in the country. At birth, babies are instantly CPF members, which means there is ample money to cover their premiums the Medisave beginning age 0 to 21. What’s more, this grant is beneficial as it can support various expenses on healthcare such as approved outpatient treatments, hospitalisation, and vaccinations from infancy to childhood.

3. MediShield Life

A compulsory and national basic health insurance for Singaporeans, the Medishield Life is designed to cover massive hospital bills accumulated from extensive medical treatment and procedures. The funds can cover outpatient treatments that ring up large bills including chemotherapy for cancer and dialysis. MediShield is regarded as “basic” health insurance because it only can be used to cover the payment for subsidised treatments performed in public hospitals.

Beginning birth, every Singaporean is already covered by the MediShield. There is also coverage for people who suffer from pre-existing conditions whether these are mild or serious by nature. The premiums for the MediShield Life may be paid in full from the Medisave. Moreover, the MediShield can be used for the mitigation of financial risks in the case of catastrophic illnesses, as well as for risk pooling.

Another thing worth noting is that Singaporeans may decide to supplement their basic coverage from MediShield with additional private insurance policies. The Integrated Shield insurance plans are easily accessible to Singaporeans with an existing MediShield scheme.

4. Medifund

For Singaporeans patients who are unable to pay for their medical expenses even after using their Medisave funds, private insurance, MediShield Life, and government subsidies may rely on the Medifund. This is an endowment fund by the government that serves as a safety net for these patients who lack the finances necessary to cover their hospital and treatment costs.

5. Pioner Generation Package and CHAS

The CHAS or the Community Health Assist Scheme is geared towards the needs of low to middle income Singaporean families. This includes varied amounts of subsidies offered at participating dental clinics and private GP clinics. In addition to this, Singaporeans may qualify for extra benefits from the Pioneer Generation Package.

6. Private Insurance

For patients who require additional financial support for their medical expenses, private insurance offers assistance when it comes to increasing their coverage needs. They also are eligible to claim insurance whenever they receive treatment in various private hospitals and clinics in the country. There are also varied coverage and types available to every Singaporean.

7. Corporate Healthcare Insurance and Benefits

Your employer can provide you with a group or corporate health insurance. This is a part of the perks of being employed, which offers some coverage to employees. The only limitation about this type of healthcare scheme is it ends once you are no longer employed in the company.

8. Preventative Healthcare

There is a new special healthcare plan provided to Singaporeans 41 years and above, as announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. According to this scheme, qualified individuals may receive medical checkups at a low fee of $5 – a huge discount, considering the regular price of $100. This is a way to support their health and prevent medical conditions from getting worse as soon as possible.

Indeed, Singaporeans have several options available when it comes to their healthcare financing needs. But at the same time, it helps to exert an effort to maintain one’s health and well-being to avoid hassles in the future that can impact their job and finances. After all, having good health is truly a way to inch closer to wealth as it impacts your performance in every endeavor you engage in.

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