Changes in healthcare subsidies to be implemented next year

Logo of Khoo Teck Puat Hospital. (Yahoo News Singapore file photo)
Logo of Khoo Teck Puat Hospital. (Yahoo News Singapore file photo)

SINGAPORE — As healthcare costs continue to increase, the Ministry of Health (MOH) will implement more progressive subsidies next year.

Speaking during the debate on the MOH's budget for this year, Senior Minister of State for Health Koh Poh Koon said on Friday (5 March) that there will be changes to the subsidy frameworks for inpatient care at acute hospitals, specialist outpatient clinics, and community hospitals.

For admission to acute hospitals, means-testing will be done on the basis of per capita household income instead of individual income, said Dr Koh.

The subsidy range for B2 and C wards will also be unified to the range of 50 per cent to 80 per cent. Currently, B2 wards are subsidised at 50 to 65 per cent while C wards are subsidised at 65 to 80 per cent.

The subsidies for day surgeries will also be increased from 65 per cent to 70 per cent.

On specialist outpatient clinics, two new subsidy tiers will be created: 40 per cent for those with a per capita household income above $3,300 and 30 per cent for those with per capita household income above $6,500.

Currently, those with a lower income can get up to 70 per cent subsidy while high-income and median-income patients get the same 50 per cent subsidy despite their different financial means.

Private patients in the inpatient setting will also be able to opt for either subsidised or private classification at the specialist outpatient clinic for their post-discharge follow up. If they choose the subsidised route, they will no longer be able to pick their specialist as per the current practice.

Finally, subsidies will be raised to up to 80 per cent for community hospitals to align with that of acute inpatient care. The minimum subsidy will also be raised from 20 per cent to 30 per cent. About 95 per cent of community hospital patients will see an increase in subsidy, said Dr Koh.

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