Channel NewsAsia
Updated: 01/24/2013 05:24 | By Channel NewsAsia

Medisave is important savings for elderly, be careful with lifting restrictions:Health Minister

Medisave is important savings for elderly, be careful with lifting restrictions:Health Minister


Medisave is important savings for elderly, be careful with lifting restrictions:Health Minister

SINGAPORE: Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said elderly Singaporeans may face greater financial difficulties down the road if they are allowed to use up their Medisave fund without restrictions.

Mr Gan was responding to Workers’ Party (WP) candidate for the Punggol East by—election Lee Li Lian’s suggestion to allow those above 75 to use their Medisave without restrictions.

He said those facing financial difficulties for their healthcare needs can seek help through schemes, such as the Medifund Silver, which is targeted at those 65 and above.

He said hospitals have been given a lot of flexibility in terms of eligibility criteria so that they can reach out to more elderly who need help.

He added elderly Singaporeans will always receive the necessary healthcare services without worrying about affordability.

Mr Gan was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a clan association’s investiture ceremony.

Mr Gan said: "We have to be very careful when we want to remove restrictions on the use of Medisave, especially when we want to remove all the restrictions because we have to be mindful that these are very important savings of the elderly, and they will continue to need the savings as they grow older."

Mr Gan also mentioned other ways the government has been helping the elderly cope with healthcare costs — such as the one—time Medisave top—up of up to S$400 and raising the maximum age coverage to 90 for MediShield.

Mr Gan’s comments come a day after WP secretary general Low Thia Khiang said at the party’s rally, that the government should do more to help the elderly.

— CNA/xq

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