Friday 19 September 2014

Pioneers can apply to be subsidised patients at SOCs

By Lim Bee Khim, Director, Corporate Communications, Ministry of Health, TODAY Voices, 18 Sep 2014

We refer to the recent letters on some Singaporeans’ experiences with the rollout of the Pioneer Generation Package healthcare benefits. We are sorry that some members of our pioneer generation did not receive the appropriate advice at our public health-care institutions.

We have contacted those concerned to make the clarifications and facilitated the submission of applications from those seeking to switch from private to subsidised patient status.

Since Sept 1, lower- to middle-income Singaporeans may apply for means testing to benefit from higher subsidies of 60 or 70 per cent at subsidised specialist outpatient clinics (SOCs). Pioneer Singaporeans who are patients at such SOCs will receive 50 per cent off on top of this. From Jan 1, pioneers will receive a further half off the bill for subsidised drugs at subsidised SOCs and polyclinics.

Only subsidised patients are eligible for these subsidies; private patients, including those who are pioneers, are not.

Pioneers who are private patients and who wish to enjoy these subsidies can apply to switch to the subsidised SOC.

They can obtain an application form from the SOC when they go for their appointment, or request it to be sent to them. The form is the same as that used for applying for Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) cards as the information needed is the same.

Pioneers who are not patients at the public hospitals’ subsidised SOCs, but wish to seek care there, should first consult a primary care doctor at the polyclinic or a CHAS general practitioner. If needed, the doctor will refer them to an SOC as a subsidised patient.

We have reinforced awareness of the process at the front lines of our public healthcare institutions and for our hotlines. We will redouble efforts to work with our front-line colleagues to welcome our pioneers.

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