Six healthcare proposals to help elderly

When it comes to paying for health care, not all seniors benefit from one-off cash help.

Rather, it is more important to ensure that health-care costs remain affordable for older Singaporeans, said Madam Halimah Yacob, chairman of the PAP Seniors Group (

Seniors have more frequent need for medical treatment due to chronic ailments.

Madam Halimah, who is also Parliamentary Speaker, cited her hawker-mother, 90, as an example.

The latter suffered from diabetes for more than 30 years and was ineligible for medical coverage.

"Previously, I've been her insurance and paid for all her medical needs," Madam Halimah said.

While one in 10 of the population was aged 65 or older in 2012, they made up more than one in four of hospital admissions.

"Health-care costs are a concern for the pioneer generation," Madam Halimah added. "We hope that any increases in health-care costs will be manageable."

That is why the lobby group presented six proposals in a paper submitted to Health Minister Gan Kim Yong yesterday.

The ideas were drawn from over 100 people's views during a dialogue last month.

The lobby group wants the Government to:

Pay a significant part of Medishield Life premiums and review the amount of subsidies when premiums increase in future

Increase benefits to better cover subsidised hospital bills. This will ease seniors' worries when they go for costly but necessary treatments.

More Medisave top-ups to help pay for deductibles

More help for specialist outpatient treatments and non-subsidised medicines.

This could help avoid the problem of seniors admitting themselves into hospitals to benefit from the government subsidies and ease the current public hospital bed crunch.

Tiered Medisave withdrawal scheme to let older Singaporeans withdraw more money for outpatient needs

More subsidies for long-term or home-based care

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