National Day Rally: New healthcare package for Singaporeans born in the 1950s

A NEW healthcare package will help Singaporeans born in the 1950s with their medical expenses, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced in Sunday night’s National Day Rally. The Merdeka Generation Package will cover similar areas as the earlier Pioneer Generation Package, such as outpatient subsidies, MediSave top-ups, subsidies for MediShield Life premiums, and payouts for long-term care.

The S$8 billion Pioneer Generation Package was introduced in 2014 for those born in 1949 or earlier. More than S$1.3 billion has been spent so far, benefiting 450,000 pioneers. The new package’s benefits will not be as large as for the pioneers, but will “go some way” to relieve the healthcare worries of those born between 1950 and 1959, and show appreciation for their contributions, said Mr Lee, who is one of the 500,000 members of this "Merdeka generation". Details of the package will be announced next year.

The Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS), which covers the lower- and middle-income, will also be extended to all Singaporeans with chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension, regardless of income. Benefits will continue to be tiered according to income, with the Ministry of Health to announce further details. The scheme provides subsidies for outpatient treatment at private general practitioners and dentists.

As for public healthcare, more polyclinics will also be built: in Sembawang, Eunos, Kallang and Bukit Panjang by 2020, and in Nee Soon Central and Tampines North by 2023.