140,000 people automatically qualify for Chas scheme

: Mr Tan Soon Chye (right), a Bedok resident, receiving a new pair of spectacles at the People's Association (PA) year-end party on 29 December 2013. He is also a Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) card holder. CHAS subsidises treatment for chronic ailments at private neighbourhood clinics. From 2014, the scheme will be open to every family member in a household with a monthly per capita income of $1,800 or less.

The latest changes include expanding the scheme to all family members in households where per capita income is $1,800. Previously, only those aged 40 and above could qualify for the scheme.

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Here is the full press release from the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC):

Since Jan 1, with the enhancements to the Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS), about 140,000 family members who auto-qualify following the age floor removal have already received their CHAS Health Assist card.

This brings the total number of CHAS beneficiaries to over 520,000 today. In the past year, CHAS beneficiaries have received more than $25 million in subsidies for their medical and dental care.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, presented the CHAS Health Assist card to 11 families in Taman Jurong Constituency who are first time applicants for CHAS under the enhanced scheme.

As part of the Taman Jurong Constituency's Annual Lunar New Year Celebrations, DPM Tharman, who is Advisor to Jurong GRC Grassroots Organisations, also presented "Hong Baos" to the seniors residing in Taman Jurong, recognising the contribution from them in nation building during the early years of Singapore's independence.

The CHAS enhancements provide an opportunity for the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC), who administers the Scheme, to reach out to new segments of the population.

AIC will continue with its community outreach efforts to promote the scheme and encourage eligible Singaporeans to apply for the Health Assist Card. Today's CHAS Family Carnival jointly organised by AIC and Taman Jurong Grassroots Organisations seeks to do that.

More than 2,500 residents are expected at the Carnival, during which they can interact with MediaCorp artiste, Chen Li Ping who is the "face" for the CHAS marketing and publicity campaign, and learn about CHAS.

Participants can approach the AIC Booth at the Carnival to find out more information about CHAS or to apply for the Health Assist card. Other fringe activities include henna tattooing, face painting and multi racial performances by interest groups of Taman Jurong.

CEO of AIC, Dr Jason Cheah said, "We are grateful for the support from partners and grassroots leaders from all the constituencies such as Taman Jurong, who have been actively promoting CHAS to their residents.

"We hope that Singaporeans will use the Health Assist card whenever they visit their family doctor to enjoy the medical and dental subsidies nearer to their home."

Currently, there are over 970 participating CHAS clinics island-wide, with four CHAS GP clinics and one dental clinic located in Taman Jurong.