Falling ill in Singapore is expensive, or at least that’s what everyone says. But thanks to Medisave, you might feel the pinch (a tiny bit) less.
Every month, a portion of your salary gets paid into your CPF accounts—your Ordinary Account, Special Account and Medisave Account. Employees earning at least $750 a month have to contribute 8% of their salary to their Medisave account until age 35, after which the contribution rate is 9% until age 45, 10% till age 50 and then 10.5% above 50.
Once you hit the Basic Healthcare Sum ($52,000 right now) in your Medisave Account, any excess money goes into your Special Account or Retirement Account.
That’s actually a fairly enormous portion of your salary. Here are seven ways you can actually use that money.
1. Pay for health insurance
Medical insurance is a must for any Singaporean who can afford it. When insurance agents talk about Integrated Shield Plans, they are referring to insurance policies that you can pay for in part using Medisave.
A portion of your insurance will be paid for using your Medisave account. This is automatically deducted yearly and requires no action on your part. The remaining portion will be paid by you out of pocket.
If you don’t already have your own medical insurance policy, compare plans for free using MoneySmart’s health insurance wizard.
2. Certain vaccinations
Beginning in November 2017, Singaporean adults will be able to use Medisave to pay for certain vaccinations.
Some of the vaccinations on the list include influenza, HPV and Hepatitis B.
Some of them, like Measles, Mumps and Rubella, are compulsory for Singaporean children. But there are still some adults who have not been immunised due to spending their childhoods outside of Singapore.
A maximum of $400 worth of Medisave savings per year can be used for vaccinations.
3. Health screening
Instead of waiting till you get hospitalised to use your Medisave funds, you can use them to pay for health screenings so you can catch a serious illness before it gets out of hand.
You can use your Medisave savings or those of an immediate family member on mammograms (if you’re a women above 50) or colonoscopy screenings (if you’re a person over 50).
4. Chronic disease management
You don’t have to be hospitalised to make a Medisave claim if you are suffering from one of 19 chronic diseases including diabetes, hypertension, asthma, epilepsy, osteoporosis or parkinson’s disease.
You can use up to $400 a year (subject to 15% co-payment) to pay for outpatient treatment related to any of the approved diseases.
Of course, if you are hospitalised, you will be able to make Medisave claims in addition to the $400 cap under the usual rules governing hospitalisation.
As a general rule, you can only use your Medisave to pay for medical treatment if you have been hospitalised. The same rule usually applies if you want to make a claim with an Integrated Shield Plan.
However, note that Medisave may not cover every cent, as there are caps on most claims categories. You are allowed up to $450 (or $300 for approved day surgeries) a day for daily hospital charges and a maximum of $50 (or $30 for approved day surgeries) for doctor’s attendance fees. There are also caps on how much you can claim for surgeries.
For this reason, if you do not have an Integrated Shield Plan or other health insurance policy, you should stick to public hospitals, as private hospital visits are likely to involve hefty out-of-pocket expenditure.
6. Hospitalisation at certain overseas hospitals
Want to make those hard-earned dollars work harder for you? Medisave can be used to pay for hospitalisation and day surgery at certain approved overseas (ie. Malaysia) hospitals.
But that doesn’t mean you can just hop over the Causeway whenever you feel like it. You must first get a referral through one of the Medisave-accredited referral centres—either HMI Referral Centre at Balestier Clinic and Health Screenig Centre or the Parkway Medisave Referral Centre at Parkway East Hospital.
You should however note that the usual claim limits still apply.
7. Psychiatric treatment
Medisave can be used for outpatient treatment for selected chronic conditions including schizophrenia, major depression, bipolar disorder and anxiety.
You can use up to $400 per year (subject to 15% co-payment) for this purpose.
You are also entitled to claim up to $150 a day for daily psychiatric hospital charges. This sum includes a maximum of $50 for doctor’s attendance fees, and the amount is capped at $5,000 a year.
Have you ever used your Medisave funds to pay for something? Share your experiences in the comments!