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Pioneer generation to get special medical coverage

SINGAPORE — The Government will roll out a special Pioneer Generation Package, helping to foot the medical bill of older Singaporeans under the revamped national insurance scheme, MediShield Life.

The Pioneer Generation Package will ensure these elderly Singaporeans will never have to worry about healthcare in their old age, said Prime Minister Lee. Photo: Don Wong

The Pioneer Generation Package will ensure these elderly Singaporeans will never have to worry about healthcare in their old age, said Prime Minister Lee. Photo: Don Wong

SINGAPORE — The Government will roll out a special Pioneer Generation Package, helping to foot the medical bill of older Singaporeans under the revamped national insurance scheme, MediShield Life.

The move will ensure that this group of Singaporeans, described as being in their late 60s and above and who have worked hard to build a modern Singapore, will never have to worry about healthcare in their old age, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in his National Day Rally speech.

Mr Lee’s announcement follows Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam’s speech at a National Day celebration earlier this month that the Government will look at ways to alleviate the healthcare costs in “all aspects”, including hospitalisation, outpatient and nursing home bills.

In his English speech, Mr Lee said that the Government has been recognising this group of Singaporeans and has given them “something extra”, such as home care subsidies and vouchers to offset the Goods and Services Tax. They had earned less and lived with fewer social safety nets, even though they paved the way for the present generation, he added.

Speaking in Mandarin earlier, Mr Lee said that, while there are older Singaporeans who are looked after by their children, he has also during house visits met “empty nesters”, who have no one and no savings to rely on.

He noted that many of these elderly have fully paid up for their homes, which are their “retirement nest egg”, but are worried about medical bills.

“We’ve recognised them and given them something extra every time we’ve had a bonus exercise ... They are treated different and in the new healthcare arrangements, we will likewise make sure they are well taken care of,” he said.

“So we’ll have a special Pioneer Generation Package ... (to) make sure that our pioneer generation will be well covered and will not need to worry about healthcare in their old age. I think we owe it to them,” Mr Lee said.

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