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MOH will 'carefully consider' use of Medisave for home-based healthcare

But key consideration is avoiding premature depletion of Medisave savings for health-related expenses in old age, said Senior Minister of State for Health Dr Amy Khor in Parliament.

SINGAPORE: The Ministry of Health will continue to consider further flexibility in the use of Medisave - including for home-care services - but the focus is ensuring that Singaporeans have enough in the fund for hospitalisation and outpatient treatments, said Senior Minister of State Dr Amy Khor on Tuesday (Aug 5).

Responding in Parliament to a question from Jurong GRC Member of Parliament David Ong, who asked if the MOH will consider allowing the use of Medisave for home-based healthcare delivery to the elderly sick, Dr Khor said: "It is important to ensure that Singaporeans have enough Medisave for hospitalisation and outpatient treatments, which are needed more frequently as one ages. Hence, extending Medisave use to home-based services need to be selective, bearing in mind the Medisave adequacy of Singaporeans."

However, with the need for home-based medical care having grown, she noted that several measures are in place or in the pipeline to address the associated costs.

"Today, home-based intermediate and long-term care is subsidised at up to 80 per cent for eligible patients to ensure that they are affordable," he said.

"In 2010, Medisave was extended to home palliative care to help Singaporeans better afford the service. We have just announced that the lifetime limit for home palliative care will be raised from S$1,500 to S$2,500 per patient. Those with cancer and end stage organ failure will have unlimited use of their own Medisave for such care.

"Next year, MOH will be introducing Flexi-Medisave, where elderly patients will be able to use up to $200 per year for their outpatient treatment. MOH will continue to consider further flexibility for Medisave use, including other types of home care services. But we will have to do this carefully, to avoid premature depletion of Medisave and ensure sufficient Medisave savings for healthcare expenses, especially during old age."