Mr Koh Kian Beng, 56, will enjoy more relief from his medical bills because of the revised income eligibility criteria for the various healthcare subsidy schemes announced by the Health Ministry yesterday.
As a Community Health Assist Scheme (Chas) Orange cardholder now, Mr Koh receives up to $50 in subsidy for each visit to his general practitioner to keep his hypertension in check. That amount will be increased to $80 when he becomes a Blue card holder under the revised criteria by October.
The card will also entitle him to a higher yearly subsidy limit for his monthly visits.
Those with Blue cards can claim up to $320 a year for selected simple chronic conditions, while those with Orange cards get up to $200 a year.
Mr Koh, who has been receiving treatment for hypertension for more than 10 years, said the changes will help to offset some of his medical costs.
"I am the sole breadwinner, so (the subsidies) will help," said Mr Koh, who works as an administrative officer to support his wife and twin daughters, who are in Primary 5.
Currently, the monthly per capita household income has to be below $1,100 to qualify for a Blue card. This will be changed to $1,200 by October.
Chas - which offers subsidised care at private general practitioners and dental clinics - will see more than 30,000 existing cardholders benefiting from the revisions.
MADAM SUMINI NAJIMAN, who holds an Orange Chas card. From November, she will get a subsidy of up to $10 for every visit to the doctor for a common illness.
For others, like Madam Sumini Najiman, 56, the changes would mean that she could choose to go to a private clinic for coughs and colds.
"I don't go to private clinics because I'm scared it would be expensive," said Madam Sumini, who usually visits the polyclinic in Toa Payoh when she is feeling under the weather.
"But I have to wait for very long (at the polyclinic). My husband also doesn't like (to go to) polyclinics because the queue is so long."
From November, Chas Orange cardholders such as Madam Sumini will be eligible for a subsidy of up to $10 each time they visit the doctor for a common illness.
Previously, this benefit was only extended to Chas Blue cardholders.
Those whose monthly household income is above $2,000 a head can apply for the new Chas Green card.
With this card, they can expect to receive a subsidy of up to $28 for each visit for a selected number of simple chronic conditions, up to a maximum of $112 a year.
The subsidy is up to $40 for each visit for complex chronic conditions, up to a maximum of $160 a year.
Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.
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