Singapore: Parliament: Merdeka Generation to start getting benefits from Jul 19

  • The bulk of benefits under the Merdeka Generation Package will be rolled out in two tranches, in Jul 19 and Nov 19, Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor announced on 6 Mar 19.
  • From Jul 19, an estimated 500,000 Singaporeans who were born in the 1950s will get the first SGD200 top-up to their Medisave accounts. They will get this SGD200 top-up every year until 2023. Additional MediShield Life premium subsidies will also take effect, starting from 5% of their annual premiums and increasing to 10% after they turn 75.
  • Although system changes to automatically apply the additional subsidies will be ready only towards the end of 2019, the subsidies will be backdated to 1 Jul 19, Dr Khor told Parliament during the debate on the Health Ministry’s budget, and those whose policy renewal dates fall between 1 Jul 19 and 31 Oct 19 will first pay the full premiums, and get the extra subsidies as a refund.
  • The second tranche of benefits to kick in on 1 Nov 19 includes more subsidies for outpatient care: An additional 25% off subsidised bills at polyclinics and public specialist outpatient clinics.
  • Other steps include allowing all citizens with chronic illnesses to tap the Community Health Assist Scheme (Chas) for subsidies from 1 Nov 19. A new Chas Green tier will be introduced to enable better-off Singaporeans to do this.
  • Meanwhile, Merdeka Generation seniors can also get a SGD100 top-up to their PAssion Silver cards from Jul 19. They have until the end of 2020 to redeem the credits, which do not expire.
  • Broad details of the Merdeka package were announced by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat in his address on the Budget, which set aside SGD6.1bn that eligible seniors will tap over a lifetime.
  • Merdeka Generation cardholders will also get subsidies at Chas general practitioner and dental clinics from 1 Nov 19 of up to SGD23.50 a visit for common illnesses, up to SGD520 a year for complex conditions, and between SGD16 and SGD261.50 per dental procedure. Eligible seniors will get annual health screenings under the Screen for Life scheme at just SGD2.
  • The last benefit to kick in will be when long-term care insurance scheme CareShield Life is available for existing cohorts in 2021. An additional SGD1,500 incentive will be extended to Merdeka Generation seniors who sign up, on top of the SGD2,500 previously announced.
  • The total incentive of SGD4,000, which will be available only until 2023, will offset their annual premiums for 10 years, Dr Khor noted.
  • By Apr 19, Merdeka Generation members will get letters on the package, added Dr Khor, who co-chairs a task force with Senior Minister of State Sim Ann that seeks to ensure seniors know about the package and how they can tap it.

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