Skip to main content

Advertisement

Advertisement

Budget 2019: MediSave top-ups, outpatient care subsidies under S$8b Merdeka Generation Package

SINGAPORE — Unveiling details of the much-anticipated Merdeka Generation Package on Monday (Feb 18), Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said that beneficiaries will enjoy perks including MediSave top-ups for five years, extra outpatient care subsidies, and a one-off top-up to their PAssion Silver Concession Cards.

The Government will devote S$6.1 billion in 2019's Budget to a new Merdeka Generation Fund, with interest accumulated over time covering its full projected costs.

The Government will devote S$6.1 billion in 2019's Budget to a new Merdeka Generation Fund, with interest accumulated over time covering its full projected costs.

SINGAPORE — Unveiling details of the much-anticipated Merdeka Generation Package on Monday (Feb 18), Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said that beneficiaries will enjoy perks including MediSave top-ups for five years, extra outpatient care subsidies, and a one-off top-up to their PAssion Silver Concession Cards.

The package, announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the National Day Rally last year, is estimated to cost more than S$8 billion over the lifetime of the beneficiaries.

Infographic: Samuel Woo/TODAY

In tandem with this, the Government will devote S$6.1 billion in this Budget to a new Merdeka Generation Fund, with interest accumulated over time covering its full projected costs, Mr Heng said in his Budget statement in Parliament.

Nearly 500,000 Singaporeans born in the 1950s — known collectively as the "Merdeka Generation" and who are aged between 60 and 69 this year — will benefit from the scheme. “Merdeka” means freedom in Malay.

Here is a snapshot of the five key benefits under the package:

1. ONE-OFF TOP-UP TO PASSION SILVER CARDS

All Merdeka Generation seniors will receive a one-off S$100 top-up to their PAssion Silver Concession Cards to support active lifestyles.

They may use this sum to pay for public transport, facilities and activities in community clubs, admission to public swimming pools, and more.

2. FIVE-YEAR MEDISAVE TOP-UPS

Beneficiaries will enjoy a S$200 yearly MediSave top-up for five years from 2019 to 2023, to help them amass more savings to meet their healthcare needs.

This will be on top of the Goods and Services Tax voucher top-ups for MediSave under the Central Provident Fund (CPF) that eligible seniors aged 65 and older already receive yearly.

3. MORE OUTPATIENT-CARE SUBSIDIES

Beneficiaries will receive special subsidies under the Community Health Assist Scheme (Chas) for common illnesses, chronic conditions and dental procedures.

This is irrespective of income and will include those presently without a Chas card, Mr Heng said.

The scheme subsidises visits to participating general practitioner and dental clinics, and has several tiers, including Chas Blue and Chas Orange.

Subsidy rates for Merdeka Generation beneficiaries will be higher than those for the Chas Blue tier, Mr Heng said. Right now, those in the Blue tier receive up to S$18.50 in subsidies during each visit for common illnesses, such as cough and cold, for instance.

Besides the special Chas subsidies, Merdeka Generation seniors will also shave 25 per cent off their subsidised bills at polyclinics and public specialist outpatient clinics. This is in addition to prevailing subsidies.

4. EXTRA MEDISHIELD LIFE PREMIUM SUBSIDIES

Beneficiaries will receive further subsidies on their premiums for CPF's MediShield Life, which guards against large hospital bills. These will start from 5 per cent of their annual premiums (S$31.50 to S$48.75), and rise to 10 per cent (S$113 to S$153) after they turn 75.

These subsidies are on top of the means-tested subsidies that Singaporeans from the lower- to middle-income groups already get.

5. HIGHER INCENTIVES FOR JOINING CARESHIELD LIFE

Beneficiaries who move their plans to CareShield Life — which is set to replace the national insurance scheme ElderShield — will get an extra S$1,500 incentive, on top of the S$2,500 perk announced previously.

This means Merdeka Generation seniors will receive incentives totalling S$4,000 for participating in CareShield Life, covering a significant share of their premiums. These come on top of regular means-tested premium subsidies, Mr Heng added.

HOW WILL ELIGIBLE SENIORS BE NOTIFIED

Those born in the 1950s and who became citizens by 1996 will qualify for the Merdeka Generation Package.

The Government will also extend the benefits under the package to those who were born in 1949 or before but missed out on the Pioneer Generation Package if they became citizens by 1996. The S$9 billion Pioneer Generation Package, launched in 2014, was for citizens born in 1949 or earlier.

All seniors eligible for the Merdeka Generation Package will be notified by April, and will receive their cards from June.

A SIGNIFICANT COMMITMENT

Describing the package as a “significant commitment” by the Government, Mr Heng said it was important for the government of the day to continue monitoring the patterns and costs of healthcare use and life expectancy in the next three decades or more, so that it can fulfil this commitment.

“The Merdeka Generation will enjoy many key healthcare benefits for life,” Mr Heng said.

“We hope that this will go some way in providing greater peace of mind for the Merdeka Generation and their families.”

Read more of the latest in

Advertisement

Popular

Advertisement

Stay in the know. Anytime. Anywhere.

Subscribe to get daily news updates, insights and must reads delivered straight to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, I agree for my personal data to be used to send me TODAY newsletters, promotional offers and for research and analysis.