Medifund assistance to mitigate health woes of needy Singaporeans

Medifund has been created by the Singaporean government to assist needy Singapore citizens who are unable to afford their medical bills. Photo courtesy: Health Xchange

For providing help to the needy patients in Singapore, Medifund (Medical Endowment Fund) assistance amounting to S$155.2 million was released in the financial year 2015 so that they can pay their medical bills. However, this amount was less as compared to the figures of 2014 when an amount of S$ 159.3 million was released. This was revealed in the Medical Endowment Fund Annual report for the financial year 2015-16.

The  report observed that recent outpatient subsidy enhancements for the lower- and middle-income and Pioneer Generation (PG) patients, as well as changes in Medisave coverage, have improved the overall affordability of healthcare and contributed to the lower Medifund assistance.

Medifund was created by the Singapore government on 1 April 1993. Its objective is to assist needy Singapore citizens who are unable to afford their medical bills, despite Government subsidies and having made use of their MediShield Life and Medisave.

Needy Singaporeans who receive subsidised treatment and have difficulties paying their medical bills can apply for Medifund assistance. The quantum of assistance given is tailored to individual circumstances.

Over the years, Medifund has been enhanced to ensure that needy Singapore Citizens receive the help needed. Medifund Silver and Medifund Junior were introduced to better target assistance at the elderly and children respectively from needy families. Medifund has also been extended to cover more healthcare services in recent years.In financial year 2015, 99.9 per cent of the Medifund applications received were approved. The number of applications approved for Medifund and Medifund Silver assistance grew 9 per cent from 1,006,168 in FY2014 to 1,096,628 in FY2015.

The average amount of Medifund assistance provided was $1,529 per inpatient treatment and $77 per outpatient treatment.  At end of FY2015, the respective capital sums for Medifund and Medifund Silver stood at $2.78 billion and $1.22 billion.

Medifund assistance for care in public hospitals and institutions totalled to $129.2 million in FY2015, compared to $135.7 million in FY2014, while that in Intermediate and Long-Term Care (ILTC) increased from $23.6 million to $26.0 million in the same period.

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