You may not be able to touch the money in your CPF Ordinary and Special Accounts till you’re older, but you know it’ll be there for you, ready to give you a bit of a hand in retirement. But what about the money in your Medisave Account? That money is there for you to use right here, right now… if you need to.
It pays to know when you’re entitled to make a claim, because your healthcare provider may not always tell you, and ignorance means paying out of your own pocket.
Also know that you can pay for the medical costs of your immediate family members as well as your own. So if you have kids, a spouse, parents or siblings, their expenses can be paid using your Medisave account.
Here’s how you can use your Medisave account savings:
You usually can’t make a Medisave claim if you show up at a hospital for outpatient treatment (unless you’re suffering from some of the specific conditions or procedures that qualify for outpatient claims) but aren’t warded.
But if you are warded, you can claim up to $250 per day for daily public hospital charges. This sum includes up to $30 for doctor’s daily attendance fees. There is a cap of $5,000 a year. Anything in excess of these caps will have to be paid for out of pocket, or by your insurer if any.
Note that Medisave claims are meant to cover stays in Class B2 and C wards at public hospitals. If you’re in a Class B1 or Class A ward at a public hospital, or in a private hospital, you’ll have to pay the difference in cost.
Stays in approved convalescent hospitals (where you recover from a long illness or surgery) can also entitle you to Medisave claims, although the caps are lower, at up to $50 per day, including a daily cap of $30 for doctor’s attendance fees. The cap is $3,000 per year and does not eat into the allocation for regular hospital stays.
Psychiatric hospital stays
You need to be warded in order to be able to make a claim of up to $150 per day at a psychiatric hospital, and up to $50 for doctor’s daily fees. The annual cap is $5,000.
Day rehab centres or day hospitals
Certain day hospitals and day rehabilitation centres enable you to make a claim despite not being warded overnight.
You can make claims for treatment at day rehabilitation centres of up to $25 per day, while you can claim up to $150 per day at approved day hospitals, including up to $30 for doctor’s fees.
The cap for day rehab is $1,500 a year, while that for day hospitals is $3,000 per year.
Treatment for certain conditions
You don’t normally get to make claims for outpatient treatment (ie. when you are not warded), unless you suffer from one of these 19 conditions, in which case you can make claims without being hospitalised:
- Lipid disorders
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Major depression
- Bipolar disorders
- Benign prostatic hyperplasia
- Parkinson’s disease
- Nephrosis or nephritis
- Rheumatoid arthritis
You can use up to $400 a year (the limit also takes into account vaccinations and screenings) to treat or manage any of the above illnesses under the Chronic Disease Management Programme.
But do note that you still need to co-pay 15% of the costs. That means that for every $400 you claim, you’ll be paying about $71.
Remember that $400 annual limit on vaccinations and outpatient treatment under the Chronic Disease Management Programme?
If you’ve still got some money left over, you can also use that $400 allowance to go for mammogram screenings, colonoscopy screenings and certain newborn outpatient screenings (you can use your Medisave account to pay for your baby’s screening).
You can claim up to $400 a year (the limit also takes into account outpatient treatment under the Chronic Disease Management Programme and screenings) to get yourself the following vaccinations:
- HPV (if you are a female between the ages of 9 and 26)
- Hepatitis B
- Measles, Mumps and Rubella
- Diphtheria, Pertussis and Tetanus
- Pneumococcal vaccinations
- Poliomyelitis (for kids)
- Haemophilus influenza type B (for kids)
Other types of outpatient treatment
So you’re going for outpatient treatment, but not to treat any of the approved conditions under the Chronic Disease Management Programme. All is not lost. You might still be able to make a claim in these circumstances (note that if you are warded, you should be able to make a claim under the hospital stay category):
- MRI scans, CT scans and other cancer diagnostics – up to $600 per year per person
- Scans to treat or diagnose a medical treatment – up to $300 per year per patient
- Assisted Conception Procedures – Lifetime cap of $15,000, and a cap of $6,000 for first cycle, $5,000 for second cycle and $4,000 for third and subsequent cycles.
- Renal dialysis treatment – up to $450 a month
- Radiotherapy for cancer – $80 per external therapy treatment, $300 / $360 per brachytherapy treatment with / without external radiotherapy, $30 per superficial x-ray, $2,800 per stereotactic radiotherapy treatment
- Radiosurgery treatment for cancer
- Chemotherapy for cancer – up to $1,200 a month per patients
- Anti-retroviral treatment for HIV patients – $550 per month per patient
- Desferral drug and blood transfusion for Thalassaemia – up to $350 per month per patients
- Hyperbaric oxygen therapy – $100 per treatment
- Intravenous antibiotic treatment – $600 per weekly cycle, up to $2,400 a year
- Long term oxygen therapy and infant continuous positive airway pressure therapy – Up to $75 per month per patients
- Immuno-suppressants after organ transplant – $300 per month per patient
- Autologous bone marrow transplant – $2,800 per year per patient
You can use your Medisave Account to defray the costs of childbirth thanks to the Medisave Maternity Package, which enables you to claim up to $450 per day in the hospital.
You also get to claim up to $900 for pre-delivery medical expenses, as well as up to $750 to $2,150 for your delivery procedure, depending on what type.
When you’re about to die
At some point, when the end is in sight, you might need hospice or home palliative care. You can withdraw up to $2,500 per day for this end-of-life care.
For those who’ve been diagnosed with terminal cancer or end stage organ failure, there is no withdrawal limit, since it looks like that’ll be your last chance to use the money.
You can also claim up to $200 per day for stays in approved hospices, which includes up to $30 for doctor’s daily fees.
Have you ever made a claim with your Medisave Account? Share your experiences in the comments.