Over $78m in Medifund aid given to needy in 2010

PHOTO: Over $78m in Medifund aid given to needy in 2010

SINGAPORE - The government gave out more than S$78 million in Medifund assistance to needy patients in the financial year ending March 2011.

This is S$14 million more than the amount of aid given out in 2009 or a 22 per cent increase, reported the Ministry of Health (MOH) in the 2010 Medical Endowment Fund Annual Report on Monday.

The aid benefitted patients in the acute sector the most, as nearly 87 per cent or S$68.2 million of funds were disbursed to them.

Those in the intermediate and long-term sectors received S$10.5 million in aid.

Medifund also benefitted more needy elderly patients as they received S$23.2 million, a 22.8 per cent increase compared to 2009.

Introduced by the government in April 1993, the Medifund scheme caters to those who are unable to afford their medical bills, despite government subsidies of Medisave and MediShield.

Successful applications also increased by 22 per cent to more than 480,000 in 2010.

9 in 10 successful applicants received full assistance - that is, 100 per cent assistance for the outstanding subsidised bill.

On average, those who received inpatient care received S$1,321 in Medifund and Medifund Silver assistance per application, while those on outpatient care received S$94 per application.

The Medifund Silver scheme was launched in Nov 2007 to provide assistance to needy elderly patients aged 65 and above in restructured hospitals and institutions. It was extended to intermediate and long-term care facilities funded by voluntary welfare organisations in 2008.