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     FrontPage Edition: Wed 23 January 2008

 Psychiatric treatment heavily subsidised


Question No: 444 Question By: Mdm Halimah Yacob

Question No:  444  
Question By:  Mdm Halimah Yacob
To ask the Minister for Health as one out of six Singaporeans are reported to suffer from some form of mental illness, whether the Ministry will consider reviewing the current exclusion of mental illness from MediShield’s list of treatments and medical expenses.
Reply from MOH
Currently, MediShield does not cover the treatment for mental illness and accordingly its premiums do not price in such a liability.
The financial burden of treating the mentally ill has therefore fallen largely on the Government and psychiatric treatment is heavily subsidized.
More than 90% of patients treated in the Institute of Mental Health belong to Class B2/C where the average bill per day was about $30. This is largely affordable for most families, through the use of Medisave.
For those who cannot afford the treatment because of prolonged hospitalization, Medifund will come in to assist the patients. Last year, Medifund disbursed $10.5 million to assist them.
We are not closed to the idea of using insurance to help fund the treatment of the mental illness. We will study how this is being done in some countries and whether there is general support for such an idea.

Source: News 21 Jan 2008

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