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Changes to medical benefits for civil servants from 2015

Public service officers on the Medisave-cum-Subsidised Outpatient scheme will receive additional employer Medisave contributions from January next year, according to the Public Service Division.  

SINGAPORE: Civil servants under the Medisave-cum-Subsidised Outpatient (MSO) scheme - about 85 per cent of the civil service force - will receive more Medisave contributions from their employers from January 2015.

In a statement on Friday (July 4), the Public Service Division (PSD) said officers on the MSO scheme will get 2 per cent of their monthly salary - capped at S$140 per month - as additional civil service employer's Medisave contributions on top of their normal statutory Medisave contributions. 

This will be on top of the 1 per cent increase in statutory Medisave contributions for all employees in 2015 which was announced in Budget 2014.

The increase announced on Friday will go into eligible civil servants' Medisave accounts and can be used to pay for MediShield or portable Medisave-approved insurance plans to cover their in-patient needs, the statement said.

Officers on the MSO scheme do not get direct in-patient medical benefits from their employer, the Government. Instead, they receive an additional 1 per cent of their monthly salary (capped at S$70 per month) on top of their normal Medisave contribution, PSD said.

FOR LOW-WAGE EARNERS

Additionally, in support of the National Wages Council's recommendations to boost low-wage employees' ability to pay for MediShield Life premiums, civil servants earning S$2,500 and below will receive a minimum additional Medisave contribution of S$50 a month, or about S$750 a year - more than 2 per cent additional Medisave contributions.

About 85 per cent of the 82,000 civil servants are on the MSO scheme, the PSD said.

The remaining 15 per cent of civil servants on the older Comprehensive Co-payment scheme (CCS) will get an additional 1 per cent employer Medisave contribution when MediShield Life starts, to help defray premium costs.

All officers will be informed on how the changes will affect them, the PSD stated. The changes will also apply to officers in statutory boards.

COMPREHENSIVE CO-PAYMENT SCHEME

Pensioners on CCS - or about 40 per cent of the 32,000 Government pensioners - will also receive an additional 1 per cent Medisave contribution when MediShield Life starts, the PSD announced. This is on top of the 1 per cent additional Medisave contribution they currently receive.

The other 60 per cent of pensioners already have older medical benefits schemes that provide better coverage than what MediShield Life will provide. However, since MediShield Life is compulsory, the Government will be footing their premiums so they will be no worse off and benefit from the universal health insurance scheme, it added.

The PSD said it will write to the pensioners with the details by October 2014.

All Singaporeans who meet the Pioneer Generation criteria, including retired civil servants, will be eligible for the Pioneer Generation Package for life. They will also be eligible for MediShield Life subsidies already announced by MOH, according to the statement.

The labour movement says its public sector unions are pleased with the outcome, which arose from several rounds of discussion with the Public Service Division.

PSD SETTING "EXCELLENT EXAMPLE": NTUC

"In the case of the low-wage workers, 1 per cent of the salary could be rather small because their income may be low. But there is now a floor of S$50 and this is estimated to be about three times more. So that's very good for the low-wage workers," said General Secretary of the Amalgamated Union of Public Employees Ma Wei Cheng. "It will, of course, help them lighten their burden if they do have to pay for their MediShield premiums. It will surely help them to a large extent."

NTUC added the PSD has set an "excellent example" in helping civil servants build up their Medisave for their long term healthcare needs. NTUC also urged the private sector to follow this lead and review its current medical benefits schemes. This is to make good use of MediShield Life, improve medical coverage and minimise duplication. 

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