SINGAPORE: Healthcare subsidies, money for healthy activities and public transport – these are some of the benefits eligible older Singaporeans can look forward to as part of the Merdeka Generation Package.
First announced during Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s National Day Rally last year, the package is meant to express appreciation for the Merdeka Generation and help them with healthcare costs as well as to keep active and healthy.
Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat on Monday (Feb 18) shared more details about this in his Budget 2019 speech.
READ: Budget 2019 - Merdeka Generation Package worth more than S$8 billion to include subsidies for outpatient care
The package will benefit close to 500,000 Singaporeans. These include:
- Those born in the 1950s
- Those born in 1949 or earlier but who missed out on the Pioneer Generation Package
All beneficiaries must have obtained their citizenship by 1996.
HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?
The package is estimated to cost more than S$8 billion – in current dollars - over recipients’ lifetimes. A total of S$6.1 billion will be set aside for a new Merdeka Generation Fund. With interest accumulated over time, this will cover the full projected costs of the package, said the Finance Minister in his speech.
WHEN WILL THIS BE ROLLED OUT?
All eligible seniors will be notified by April 2019, and will receive their Merdeka Generation cards from June this year. A more detailed timeline and further information will be provided at the Committee of Supply Budget debate.
Here’s what’s on offer:
1. S$100 TOP-UP TO PASSION SILVER CARDS
Seniors will get a one-time S$100 top-up to their PAssion Silver cards. This can be used to pay for activities and facilities at community clubs, entry to public swimming pools and public transport, among other things.
2. MEDISAVE TOP-UPS
Starting this year, Merdeka Generation seniors will get a MediSave top-up of S$200 every year for five years until 2023, to help them save more for healthcare needs.
3. ADDITIONAL OUTPATIENT CARE SUBSIDIES, FOR LIFE
Special Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) subsidies will be available for package recipients, geared towards common illnesses, chronic conditions and dental procedures. All Merdeka Generation seniors will receive these regardless of income, including those without a CHAS card at the moment.
They will also get an additional 25 per cent off subsidised bills at polyclinics and public specialist outpatient clinics.
4. ADDITIONAL MEDISHIELD LIFE PREMIUM SUBSIDIES
Also for life.
These subsidies will start from 5 per cent of MediShield Life premiums and increase to 10 per cent after seniors hit the age of 75.
This translates to a discount of between S$31.50 and S$918, depending on the premium amount.
5. ANOTHER “PARTICIPATION INCENTIVE” TO JOIN CARESHIELD LIFE
Seniors who join CareShield Life will get an extra S$1,500 (when the scheme becomes available for existing cohorts in 2021).
READ: Six things you should know about CareShield Life, the enhanced ElderShield scheme
This is on top of a previously announced S$2,500 sum, meaning that all Merdeka Generation seniors who join the scheme will end up getting S$4,000 of participation incentives.