From The Straits Times    |

Credit: Getty Images

You may enjoy the occasional splurge as a reward for working hard but one of the biggest and most regular expenses you undertake as an adult is actually healthcare-related.

These can add up to a pretty amount, especially if you or family members have been diagnosed with chronic conditions that require long-term medical care and medication. 

Chronic conditions are prevalent among those aged 40 and above but can also begin in your 20s and 30s due to lifestyle factors or genetic risks. 

Likewise as the elderly age, they may also experience changes to their immune systems, heart health and blood vessels. 

In Singapore, the most common chronic diseases include diabetes, high blood pressure or hypertension, and high cholesterol. 

In the National Population Health Survey done in 2022, studies found that the prevalence of high blood cholesterol in women stands at 27.9 per cent. This means for every 10 women, about three suffer from high blood cholesterol. 

The majority of chronic patients do not exceed their Community Health Assist Scheme (Chas) annual subsidy limits and can continue to receive subsidies for chronic care under Chas. 

But if you have multiple chronic conditions and complications, you may worry about long-term medication and treatment expenses.

To help those with high medication needs ease their financial burden, the Healthier SG Chronic Tier was launched on Feb 1 this year. 

It targets patients with high chronic medication needs, whose bills have exceeded the Chas subsidy limits, and provides enhanced subsidies on selected chronic medications and chronic care. This helps to ensure that treatments for chronic conditions remain affordable and accessible for all Singaporeans.

Help gets even better now

With more subsidies for selected chronic medications, those enrolled under the Healthier SG Chronic Tier can enjoy time with their loved ones without worry of financial strain. Credit: Getty Images

Healthier SG Chronic Tier is an add-on to the Healthier SG initiative launched in July last year. The latter encourages Singapore residents to choose a dedicated medical practitioner to manage their health and marks a shift to a healthcare model based on prevention, instead of reactively caring for those who are already sick. 

If you enrol in Healthier SG, you will enjoy a fully subsidised first health plan discussion, during which the doctor will customise a health plan that can include diet changes, an exercise regimen and regular health screenings.

You can seek advice from your assigned general practitioner (GP) to determine whether you are eligible for Healthier SG Chronic Tier and find out more about the benefits that are customised for your health outlook.

Under this subsidy framework, Chas, Pioneer Generation and Merdeka Generation cardholders with higher medication needs can receive an enhanced subsidy for selected chronic medications at their enrolled Healthier SG GP clinics. 

Choosing the right tier

You can use either Healthier SG Chronic Tier or Chas Chronic Tier during each clinic visit to apply the subsidy tier that would best benefit you based on your medication needs. 

Pro-ration of the annual dollar subsidy balance will apply accordingly. 

Under the Healthier SG Chronic Tier subsidy framework, individuals can access certain chronic medications at prices comparable to polyclinics, significantly reducing out-of-pocket expenses. These include:

  • Subsidies of up to 87.5 per cent on selected chronic medications; no dollar cap at enrolled GP clinic.
  • Selected chronic medications at prices comparable to polyclinics at their enrolled Healthier SG GP clinics. These medications are those commonly used to manage conditions under the Chronic Disease Management Programme (CDMP). Some examples include metformin for diabetes and atorvastatin for high cholesterol.
  • Subsidies of up to $135 per visit and $360 a year for other care components such as consultations, lab tests and other medications.
  • Using MediSave to pay for full treatment at enrolled Healthier SG GP clinics, up to the withdrawal limit. There will no longer be the 15 per cent cash co-payment under this tier.

How Healthier SG Chronic Tier can help

Mrs Tan, who is a Chas Blue cardholder, is enrolled in the Healthier SG initiative with her GP clinic. She currently has two chronic conditions ​​​​​– hypertension and high cholesterol.

Her chronic medication needs comprise a large proportion of her medical bill and will likely exceed the annual limits under the existing Chas Chronic Tier.

On a recent visit to her enrolled GP clinic, she was prescribed chronic medications Empaglifozin, Losartan, Metformin and Atorvastatin, all of which are in the Healthier SG Medication List.

Here is her latest bill. 

Below is the breakdown of the subsidies under the new Healthier SG Chronic Tier and the Chas Chronic Tier. 

For all Singaporeans

By making selected and commonly prescribed chronic medications affordable across Healthier SG GP clinics, Healthier SG Chronic Tier supports a sustainable healthcare system for Singapore’s ageing population. 

The Healthier SG Chronic Tier also helps to support the broader family structure as individuals can now seek out the best medical care for themselves and their elderly parents. 

In doing so, you can stay fit and healthy for longer and enjoy the little luxuries in life with your loved ones. 

Consult your family doctor on your suitability to utilise the Healthier SG Chronic Tier.

Click here to learn more about the Healthier SG Chronic Tier and enrol in Healthier SG today!

Brought to you by the Ministry of Health