What the health-care changes mean for a low-income Singapore family

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong used the example of Mr and Mrs Tan, a middle-aged couple who are both working and supporting two school-going children, and Mr Tan's elderly parents. Grandpa Tan suffers from chronic back pain.

Father and mother with two kids

As Blue Health Assist card holders, the couple enjoy free screenings and subsidies for follow-up consultations at their neighbourhood Community Health Assist Scheme GP.

The children can now also enjoy the same CHAS benefits as their parents and grandparents.

Potential savings: More than $200 each year, assuming one follow-up consultation for each adult, and four visits to the GP for each child.

Higher subsidies will help with Grandpa Tan's visits to his orthopaedic specialist in a public hospital, medication and tests such as an MRI scan.

Potential savings: Annual subsidised bill reduced by 40 per cent from $460 to $280. Bill will be further halved to $140, as he is a member of the pioneer generation. He can use his Medisave to further reduce the co-payment for an MRI. This cuts his out-of-pocket costs from $140 to about $35.

Grandpa and grandma

If Grandma Tan becomes disabled and requires long-term home care, she gets monthly payments of $300 from insurance, if covered by ElderShield. With the pioneer generation Disability Assistance Scheme, she will receive an additional $1,200 per year.

Overall savings for the family: More than $500 in additional subsidies a year, and close to $2,000 if one member requires long-term care.

More flexible Medisave use will further reduce the family's cash outlay. With MediShield Life and premium subsidies, the family would enjoy even more savings, together with enhanced coverage under MediShield Life.

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