Govt unveils new incentives in Marriage & Parenthood package
Children born from 26 August last year, will have a Medisave account.
They will also benefit from the enhanced Baby bonus scheme.
The baby bonus will also be disbursed more quickly over a year, compared to the previous 18 months.
Couples seeking treatments to conceive, will also get more financial help.
Parents will now have more cash in hand as a result of the enhanced Baby Bonus scheme.
Currently, they receive $4,000 each for their first and second newborn. \
The amount will be raised to $6,000 each.
For their third and fourth, they'll now receive $8,000 per child, compared to $6,000 previously.
The cash gift will be disbursed in three instalments over 12 months compared to 4 instalments over 18 months previously.
50 percent- when the child is born, another 25 percent when the child is 6 months old, and the rest when the child turns one.
To help defray medical costs, each newborn have a Medisave Account with a grant of $3,000.
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 after the birth is registered and the second in the subsequent year.
Medishield will also be extended to cover congenital and neonatal conditions for children born from 1 March this year.
And Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said this will put some parents' mind at ease.
"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."
More financial help too for those having difficulty conceiving.
Currently, the government co-funds up to 50 percent of Assisted Reproduction Technology treatments- with a cap of $3,000 per cycle involving fresh embryos.
This will now go up to 75 percent with a higher cap of $6,300 per treatment cycle.
Funding will also be extended to those involving frozen embryos with a cap of $1,200 per treatment cycle.
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.
"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, actually the success rate is still not very high so 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."
And parents with children in primary school will get two days of child care leave every year.
To qualify, the child should be between 7 and 12 years of age from 1 May 2013.
-By Hetty Musfirah
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