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     FrontPage Edition: Fri 1 September 2006

Medisave withdrawal limit for day surgery  to go up from 1 December 2006


Medisave Withdrawal Limit Refinement For Day Surgery

Early Improvements from Raising Inpatient Medisave Withdrawal Limit
Medisave was introduced in 1984 to help Singaporeans pay for their hospitalization expenses.
Over the last two decades, it has helped Singaporeans build up significant savings for their healthcare costs, especially in old age when medical expenses are expected to increase.
As Medisave is designed primarily to help lower-income Singaporeans pay for their Class B2 and C hospitalizations, the various Medisave claim limits have been pegged to Class B2/C rates. This has served us well for many years.
Today, more than 90% of Class B2/C bills can be fully covered by the Medisave withdrawal limits.
In April this year, the Ministry of Health (MOH) raised the daily Medisave inpatient claim limit from $300 to $400. This was a major policy refinement to help the middle income group with healthy Medisave balances pay for their expenses in higher class wards.
This policy refinement has brought benefits to such patients. For the first 2 months since the change (April to May 2006), for Government Class A and private hospitals, Medisave has on average covered 58% of the total bill, compared with 46% coverage the same period last year (April to May 2005).
For Government Class B1 wards, the average bill coverage has increased to 67%, up from 60% previously.
While this refinement was aimed at helping middle-income Singaporeans in Class A/B1 or private hospitals, it has also brought benefits to patients in Class B2 and C wards, reducing their cash payments as they can use more of their Medisave to pay for the hospital bills.
Day Surgery Withdrawal Limit to be Raised from 1 December 2006
Over the years, medical innovation has allowed medical treatments that were previously inpatient-based (i.e. the patient had to be first hospitalized overnight) to be safely delivered as day surgeries.
MOH promotes this development as it saves the patients money. Patients who can be treated through day surgery do not need to be hospitalized and will pay less in terms of total costs. This also helps to free up valuable bed space for other patients who need to be hospitalized.
Day surgery bills comprise:
(a) a surgical fee; and
(b) a non-surgical component. Surgical fees depend on the complexity of the operation.
Consequential to the increase in the Medisave inpatient daily claim limit from $300 to $400, MOH has decided to raise the day surgery non-surgical component from the current $150 to $200. This will take effect from 1 December 2006.
This adjustment will enable Medisave to fully cover the non-surgical component of 82% of all subsidized day surgery patients and 46% of private day surgery patients.
The corresponding figures currently are 76% of subsidized day surgery patients and 30% of private patients. The refinement will therefore be a significant improvement from the current situation.

Source: Press Release 25 Aug 2006

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