Medifund payout up 16% to $90m

SINGAPORE - Medifund supported more needy patients in the 2011 financial year and paid out more money as well.

The endowment fund, set up in 1993 to help Singaporeans who cannot pay their medical bills, disbursed more than $90 million in aid between April 2011 and the end of March last year.

This was 16 per cent more than in the previous 12 months (FY2010).

There were 518,000 successful applications in FY2011, an increase of 8 per cent from FY2010.

Of these, more than 93 per cent had their entire outstanding subsidised bill paid by the fund, the Ministry of Health said on Saturday.

On average, inpatients received $1,295 and outpatients $103 each time they sought aid.

The elderly received $28 million of Medifund assistance, a 20 per cent increase from the previous year.

For this financial year (FY2012), poor patients being cared for at home, rather than in an institution, are also eligible for Medifund help.

Children needing financial help for medical bills will have $10 million to call on from next month from a fund specially set up for them, called Medifund Junior.

In the last five years, the Government has pumped in about $1.6 billion into Medifund and Medifund Silver (which is for the elderly) and the capital sum now stands at $3 billion.

The Government "will continue to strengthen the social safety net to make sure no needy Singapore citizen is denied healthcare due to the inability to pay", the ministry said.

Get The New Paper for more stories.