There will be a change in medical subsidies in Singapore. With effect from next year, foreigners will no longer be subsidised medically, while permanent residences will have theirs reduced by 5% from the beginning of next year, 1st January 2008, followed by a second cut by another 5% in July 2008.

This is a move by the government to channel more funds into medical care for Singaporeans, who are fast approaching into an ageing population – where the percentage of the elderly is much higher than that of the younger generation. The danger in this is that we will end up with a top heavy population, where the younger ones will have to work harder to support the older ones. This may potentially results in high costs for medical care for the elderly.

While no previous literature was found on why foreigners were given medical subsidies in the first place, it is believed that it was provided in order to attract and retain foreign talents in Singapore, where it’s hoped that they will eventually take up permanent residency and subsequently, citizenship in Singapore.

However, there’s still the issue of means testing which Singaporeans have to go through before subsidies can be given to them. The extent of this being carried out now is not exactly known yet. At least not from here.

FROM Jan 1 next year, foreigners will no longer get subsidies for treatment at public hospitals.

Subsidies will also be cut by 5 percentage points for permanent residents.

These subsidies for PRs will be further cut by an additional five percentage points in July 2008.

A day’s stay in a B2- or C-class ward, for example, will now cost them $150 to $200, instead of $25 to $50.

The move is to ensure that the limited subsidy money from the Government goes to citizens, said the Health Ministry.

The cuts will save the Government an estimated $36 million a year, which will be ploughed back into health-care subsidies for a greying population.

Article obtained from straitstimes.com on 6th December 2007



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