SINGAPORE: Parents will now have more cash in hand as a result of the enhanced Baby Bonus scheme.
Parents will receive S$6,000 each for their first and second newborn. This is an increase of S$2,000 per birth over the current Baby Bonus Cash Gift.
For their third and fourth child, they will now receive S$8,000 per child, compared to S$6,000 previously.
The cash gift will be disbursed earlier within 12 months’ of the child’s birth instead of the current four instalments over 18 months.
The three instalments will be disbursed as followed: 50 per cent at birth; 25 per cent when the child is six months old; and 25 per cent when the child is 12 months old.
Every newborn will have a CPF Medisave account with a grant of S$3,000 to support healthcare costs.
The enhanced Baby Bonus and Medisave will apply to all Singapore citizen children born on or after 26 August 2012.
Parents can use the grant to pay for their children’s Medishield premiums.
It can also be used to defray expenses such as hospitalisation, selected vaccinations and outpatient expenses.
The grant will be paid in two stages. The first S$1,500 will be deposited after the registration of birth, and the remaining $1,500 will be paid in the subsequent year if the child continues to be enrolled in MediShield or a Medisave—approved Integrated Shield Plan.
Medishield will also be extended to cover congenital and neonatal conditions for children born from March 1 this year.
With the extension, all infants born on or after March 1 this year and who are Singapore Citizens at birth will be automatically covered under MediShield from birth, without having to be assessed for pre—existing conditions, so long as their parents do not opt them out.
The coverage will be extended to all eligible newborns following the registration of birth.
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said this will put some parents’ mind at ease.
Mr Gan said: "Together with the extension of Medishield to cover congenital conditions, this will go a long way to assure our parents and give them a much greater sense of assurance as well as peace of mind with regard to the medical costs of their children."
There will be more financial help for those having difficulty conceiving.
Currently, the government co—funds up to 50 per cent of Assisted Reproduction Technology treatments with a cap of S$3,000 per cycle involving fresh embryos.
This will now increase to 75 per cent with a higher cap of S$6,300 per treatment cycle.
Funding will also be extended to those involving frozen embryos with a cap of S$1,200 per treatment cycle.
Couples with more than one child will also be eligible for co—funding.
The enhancements will apply to couples who have started or are scheduled to start their treatments from this year.
However, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Grace Fu said this does not mean there should a greater reliance on assisted reproduction technology.
Ms Fu said: "One of the most commonly held misconception is that technology will help solve a lot of the problem which is actually not true. So while we are coming up with greater more co—funding for assisted reproduction technology packages, the success rate is still not very high.
"I think we have to send a message that it is much better to think about marriage and parenthood when you are younger and you can always try to balance work and life at the same time and don’t just focus entirely on work for too long."
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