Singapore (PRWEB) January 28, 2013
According to a recent report by Channelnews Asia, the Singapore government has recently confirmed plans to roll out a one-off Medisave top-up of up to S$400 for every Singaporean in March of this year. The announcement was made by Health Minister Gan Kim Yong in his written response to a query from Nominated Member of Parliament Mary Liew.
According to Mr. Gan, the move is intended to ease concerns of affordability and help offset recent increases in MediShield or Integrated Shield Plan premiums. In general, the top-ups aim to improve Singaporeans’ Medisave adequacy, help citizens cope with rising premium deductions, and assist vulnerable groups with their healthcare expenses.
Mr. James Nuben, Head of Taxation at Singapore company incorporation consultancy Asiabiz Services commends the move, stating, “The Medisave assistance reinforces the government’s commitment to help residents cope with the rising cost of living. For mid-range wage earners, regardless of age, an additional Medisave top-up will go a long way to fund healthcare expenses.”
In addition to the scheduled top-ups, the government plans to implement a number of enhancements to the MediShield program, the city-state’s elective healthcare insurance scheme on top of the basic Medisave plan, which will take effect from 1 March 2013.
For example, among other changes, the MediShield policy limit will be raised from S$50,000 to S$70,000. Further, lifetime limits will be increased to S$300,000 from the current S$200,000. In addition, the government seeks to review MediShield costs and coverage such that more elderly Singaporeans can be insured under the scheme.
Over and above the one-off Medisave top-up in March, qualified elderly Singaporeans are also entitled to regular Medisave top-ups of up to $450 per year through the GST Voucher for Medisave. The regular annual top-ups, which took effect in 2012, were implemented to help seniors with various healthcare costs. Moreover, M.r Gan affirmed that the Republic’s healthcare budget will be doubled from S$4 billion in 2011 to S$8 billion in 2016, as announced in last year’s national fiscal budget.
Commenting further, Mr. Nuben remarked, “The steps taken by Singapore are comparable, to a certain extent, to America’s attempts to improve its healthcare system, in that it aims to insure more people and reduce medical costs. Although the regulatory changes are different, both initiatives share a common goal, and that is to make healthcare more affordable to the general population.”
“In the local context, an improved healthcare platform is particularly significant at a time when domestic firms are struggling with a tight manpower market. Given current staffing constraints, entrepreneurs and those seeking Singapore company registration are encouraged to tap younger and ageing citizens as well as women re-entering the market to bridge labor gaps, among other measures. It is therefore imperative to increase efforts to provide better and more affordable healthcare, as this will ultimately translate to a healthier workforce with potentially more years of productivity. In this context and beyond, health indeed is wealth,” he said in conclusion.
About Asiabiz Services
Asiabiz Services is a Singapore-based consultancy that offers business solutions for both local and foreign professionals, investors and entrepreneurs. Our areas of expertise include open a Singapore company, incorporation, offshore company setup, accounting, taxation and other related corporate services. Asiabiz Services also provides Singapore work visa and immigration services for foreign professionals wishing to relocate to Singapore.
120 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068589
Phone: +65 6303 4614