Eligible Singaporeans received subsidies of SGD169 million last year

20170519070000, Reshmin Kaur Cheema
Singaporeans received subsidies of SGD169 million
Singaporean citizens and those from the Pioneer Generation received subsidies nearing SGD169 million in 2016. (PC: ST File)
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said subsidies totalling SGD169 million was distributed to roughly 685,000 Singaporeans in 2016, in accordance with the Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS). Currently, 1.3 million Singaporeans are eligible for these subsidies under the CHAS programme.

CHAS is a scheme that provides subsidies at more than 1,650 participating private general practitioners (GPs), and dentists for Singaporeans from lower to middle-income households and Pioneer Generation citizens. Pioneers and citizens with SGD1,800 and less per capita monthly household income are entitled to this programme.

Subsidised healthcare now easily accessible


Speaking at the CHAS Family Carnival at Bedok Town Square, Gan emphasised that “97 per cent of CHAS and Pioneer Generation cardholders islandwide have access to more than one CHAS clinic within a kilometre of their homes. This makes it convenient for them to receive subsidised care near their homes.”

He also stressed on the importance of having a regular GP as these family doctors could provide holistic patient care as they have extensive knowledge on patients’ medical and family history. Gan added that the government would continue to support GPs in caring for Singaporeans.

“While the government will continue to work with our primary care partners to provide accessible, affordable and quality healthcare for all, each of us has a part to play as well,” he said.

Government initiatives to ensure transparency of billing and CHAS subsidies


The Ministry of Health has received roughly 300 complaints – majority regarding incorrect billing or excessive fees, between 2013 and 2015. From this year onwards, all participating CHAS clinics must provide patients with itemised bills, even in instances where patients do not need to pay anything.

“We have also provided our CHAS partners with an updated set of guidelines on claims criteria and process. We hope such improvements will help to make clinic charges and CHAS subsidies clear to patients and clinics,” remarked Gan.

Other government initiatives are such as the scaling up of efforts to re-organise GPs into Primary Care Networks announced in March. Besides that, efforts to enhance the Health Promotion Board’s Screen-For-Life Programme will also commence in September to make health screenings more affordable and accessible.

Clinics making unwarranted CHAS claims under investigation


Just last week, three GP clinics in Singapore were reported to be making claims for treatments, which were not done. They stand to face suspension from CHAS, if the doctors are not able to satisfactorily explain their actions within two weeks. Two dental clinics were suspended last year by the Health Ministry for similar purposes and are under police investigation. MIMS

Read more:
Three GP clinics issued warnings for making unexplained Chas claims in Singapore
MOH Singapore received 160 overcharging complaints annually
A look at healthcare systems across Asia

Sources:
http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/health/some-685000-singaporeans-received-subsidised-chas-care-in-2016-health-ministry
http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/s-169m-in-chas-health-dental-subsidies-disbursed-in-2016-health-8845056?view=DEFAULT
http://www.tnp.sg/news/singapore/treatment-costs-more-affordable-under-community-assistant-health-scheme