SINGAPORE: From January next year, patients with complex chronic conditions will be eligible to withdraw up to S$700 from their MediSave account each year to help reduce their out-of-pocket expenses, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Thursday (Mar 5).
This is up from S$500 maximum currently.
The new limit applies to patients who have made MediSave claims for two or more conditions under the Chronic Disease Management Plan (CDMP). The plan covers 20 diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and stroke.
READ: Medisave withdrawal limit for chronic disease, vaccinations, health screenings to increase by S$100
"This change will allow patients to withdraw an amount of MediSave commensurate with their medical needs," MOH said.
An estimated 176,000 patients are expected to benefit from the enhancement, MOH added.
During his ministry's Committee of Supply debate, Senior Minister of State for Health Edwin Tong said: “The higher withdrawal limits increase flexibility for patients with complex chronic conditions, as they are likely to incur higher costs for their CDMP treatments.”
He added that today, CDMP covers 20 conditions, including four mental health conditions: schizophrenia, major depression, bipolar disorder and anxiety.
"We regularly review the list of CDMP conditions in consultation with clinical experts, and will include conditions such as eczema in our review," he said.
He said that his ministry has been working to increase flexibility under MediSave in a few “key ways”.
“We are expanding MediSave to cover severe disability under the upcoming MediSave for Long-Term Care scheme. With cash withdrawals, patients will also have greater flexibility to choose appropriate care options,” he said.
Patients will continue to be able to use their MediSave accounts to claim for existing approved treatments like vaccinations and screenings. Patients can continue to tap on their own and their family members’ MediSave accounts, up to the patient’s own annual withdrawal limit for the treatment, MOH said.
The enhancements are designed to strike a balance between current medical expenses and future healthcare needs, Mr Tong said.
"We will continue to review our MediSave withdrawal limits in light of our overall financing framework, to introduce greater flexibility where possible, and ensure that they are adequate for the majority of patients in subsidised settings,” Mr Tong said.