SINGAPORE — Singapore residents can receive 3,000 health points upon enrolling under the Healthier SG national programme and completing their first health consultation.
These health points will be deposited onto the Healthy 365 app, and can be exchanged for $20 worth of TransitLink credits or vouchers from merchants such as NTUC FairPrice.
This was announced by Health Minister Ong Ye Kung in Parliament on Friday (3 March), during his ministry's Committee of Supply debate.
Health points can also be earned by users when they participate in activities conducted by community organisations. Ong said that more of such activities will be held near homes.
Pre-enrolment for the voluntary Healthier SG programme will start in May for those aged 40 and above and are currently seeing a Healthier SG-registered general practitioner (GP) regularly. The clinics will encourage their regular patients with chronic conditions to pre-enrol onsite.
However, the Healthier SG benefits - which include free health screenings and vaccinations for Singapore citizens - will start only in July, when text messages for enrolment will also be sent out.
Patients with chronic illnesses to receive more financial aid
Ong also announced more financial support for Singaporeans with chronic illnesses, under the Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS).
These patients will be able to receive subsidies of up to 87.5 per cent for an approved selection of medications, with no dollar cap. As such, prices of medications at GP clinics under Healthier SG will be comparable to those available at polyclinics.
Patients under the chronic tier will also receive adjusted dollar-based subsidies of up to $360 per year for other chronic care components, such as consultation and laboratory tests.
There are 23 chronic diseases that are covered under the subsidies, including diabetes, hypertension and major depression.
Removal of cash co-payment with Medisave for chronic treatment
Ong added that cash co-payment when using MediSave for chronic treatment will be removed. Patients can use MediSave to fully pay their bills, up to the withdrawal limit. This will be effective from early next year.
As such, residents who have any diseases under Chronic Disease Management Programme (CDMP) will no longer have to co-pay 15 per cent of their medical bills in cash and can use MediSave to pay in full for treatments.
The MediSave usage will still be subject to the withdrawal limit of up to $700 per patient each year for chronic patients, and up to $500 per patient yearly for non-chronic patients.
10 new polyclinics to open from 2023 to 2030
In effort to meet rising healthcare needs, 10 new polyclinics will open in Singapore by 2030.
Two polyclinics, one in Sembawang and another in Tampines North, are scheduled to open this year. Four more polyclinics, located in Kaki Bukit, Khatib, Serangoon and Tengah, are scheduled to be completed by 2026.
An additional four in Bidadari, Bishan, Taman Jurong and Yew Tee are scheduled to be completed by 2030. This will bring the number of polyclinics up from 23 to 32.
Six existing polyclinics in Bukit Merah, Clementi, Jurong, Outram, Pasir Ris and Queenstown are also scheduled to be redeveloped by 2030. The Bukit Merah and Outram polyclinics will be combine into one after the redevelopment.
"We need to have adequate hospital capacity. But we should not overbuild or worse, think that the solution to future challenges of healthcare lies only in infrastructure and number of beds. Ultimately, with an ageing population, we need to become healthier," said Ong.
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