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PAP.SG calls for increased Medisave withdrawals for the elderly

The PAP Seniors Group says now that MediShield Life is "in place", it is hoping for a tiered Medisave withdrawal scheme for senior citizens.

SINGAPORE: The People's Action Party's interest group to champion ageing issues welcomed the MediShield Life Review Committee's recommendations announced on Thursday (June 5), but called for the Government to consider allowing senior citizens to withdraw more Medisave funds for outpatient needs now that MediShield Life is "in place".

In a statement today, the PAP (PAP.SG) Committee Chairwoman, Madam Halimah Yacob, said MediShield Life is a "bold" policy move that will bring much needed security and greater assurance, especially for senior citizens facing recurrent and rising healthcare costs.

She added: "We acknowledge that these bigger benefits must come with higher premiums; therefore, we value the Committee's efforts in striking a careful balance to ensure that MediShield Life remains affordable and can sustain Singaporeans into the future."

She also called on the Government to consider a tiered Medisave withdrawal scheme for the elderly, so they can tap on more of the funds for outpatient needs compared to younger Singaporeans.
  
Here is the PAP.SG statement in full:

"We welcome the MLRC's recommendations on MediShield Life which will provide all Singaporeans with basic health insurance coverage for life, a bold policy move that will bring much needed security and greater assurance especially for our seniors facing recurrent and rising healthcare costs.

We are heartened that the views of the PAP.SG's were heard and convinced the Committee to recommend for patients to co-pay less in terms of cash in return for significantly more coverage over large hospital bills. We acknowledge that these bigger benefits must come with higher premiums; therefore, we value the Committee's efforts in striking a careful balance to ensure that MediShield Life remains affordable and can sustain Singaporeans into the future. In this regard, we welcome the equity of this scheme to safeguard the interests of the majority of Singaporeans from the lower and middle-income households, to qualify them for the subsidies as well as that of younger Singaporeans, who will be able to afford premiums set within Singaporeans' yearly Medisave contributions. With the transitional subsidies, all Singaporeans regardless of their age or background will benefit and this will give time for everyone to adjust to the new scheme.

ON PIONEER GENERATION 

The PAP.SG applauds all subsidies for MediShield Life Premiums and Medisave Top-ups that will uplift many of our pioneers, some of whom cannot even afford MediShield today. With the additional support, they will enjoy far more benefits but will pay less than what they are paying today for MediShield. We welcome the Government's action in co-sharing the risks with Singaporeans; to ensure even those who can never be insured in the past or are not currently insured will now be insured. This will really give peace of mind to Singaporeans and their families who have pre-existing illnesses or who are born with congenital defects, who have been excluded all these while.

We are glad that the PAP.SG's recommendations were taken in made in February this year, and benefits extended to Pioneers will be assured for their entire future years, which is a clear testament of the sincerity by this Government to honour our Pioneers. 

Now that the MediShield Life is in place, we would like to urge the Government to consider our call for a tiered withdrawal scheme for Medisave where older Singaporeans, depending on their age, are allowed to withdraw more compared to younger Singaporeans for outpatient needs.

This will help our seniors with sufficient Medisave balances as they will not have to pay cash when they visit the outpatient clinics which is a drain on them. We also urge the Government to continue its efforts to contain the overall increase in our healthcare costs as medical inflation has consistently outstripped Singapore's general inflation and we are concerned that the development of new procedures and medical technology will further push healthcare costs upwards. 

In conclusion, we strongly welcome this very significant shift in our national health insurance system. It will reshape our healthcare landscape dramatically to make it even more inclusive and give greater peace of mind to Singaporeans."

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