Every month, a chunk of your salary disappears into the depths of your MediSave account. As much as it hurts to see what’s left of your “take-home pay”, you get the consolation that you can use MediSave to pay for your medical bills…
… or can you?
Well, yes, but Medisave can only be used for certain medical costs and only up to certain limits. So don’t cancel your health insurance just yet!
Here’s a guide to when you can and can’t use MediSave, as well as the MediSave limits that apply in each case.
Summary: When can you use MediSave to pay?
MediSave is a national medical savings scheme. As any working person would know, a portion of your income gets paid into your MediSave account, which sits alongside your other CPF accounts like the Ordinary Account and Special Account.
MediSave funds can be tapped upon to pay for certain types of healthcare costs, namely:
- Hospitalisation & surgery
- Non-acute hospital stays
- Outpatient treatments
- Chronic disease management
- Health screenings
- Having a baby
- Senior care
- MediShield + Integrated Shield premiums
- CareShield + Supplement premiums
The catch is that there are strict limits on how much you can use. In addition, the government has painstakingly defined what exactly you can and cannot use your MediSave funds on in each category.
1. MediSave limits for hospitalisation & surgery
Sorry, but you cannot use your MediSave to pay for that GP visit you made in order to get an MC. If you get hospitalised or have to undergo day surgery, however, you will be able to use MediSave to pay.
Two types of MediSave limits apply: (a) daily hospital limits (which only apply to hospital charges excluding surgery) and (b) surgical limits (only apply to surgery). So if you get hospitalised and undergo surgery, you can claim up to two different limits.
(a) MediSave limits for hospital charges
|Type of hospital stay||MediSave limits for hospital charges|
|Inpatient episodes||$450 per day|
|Inpatient psychiatric episodes||$150 per day. Maximum of $5,000 a year|
|Approved day surgeries||$300 per day|
(b) MediSave limits for surgery
The MediSave limits for surgery depend on the type of operation you’re undergoing. First, you check this list here to see which table your operation falls under (look under the fourth column). Then, match the table with the surgical limits below:
|Table of operations||MediSave limits for surgery|
|1A / 1B / 1C||$250 / $350 /$450|
|2A / 2B / 2C||$600 /$750 /$950|
|3A / 3B / 3C||$1,250 /$1,550 /$1,850|
|4A / 4B / 4C||$2,150 /$2,600 /$2,850|
|5A / 5B / 5C||$3,150 /$3,550 /$3,950|
|6A / 6B / 6C||$4,650 /$5,150 /$5,650|
|7A / 7B / 7C||$6,200 /$6,900 /$7,550|
2. MediSave limits for non-acute hospital stays
Non-acute hospitals, such as community hospitals, perform a support function. They offer patients longer-term care or therapy after treatment.
If you have to stay in a non-acute hospital, you can also use MediSave to pay for the hospital charges, up to certain limits:
|Non-acute hospital type||MediSave non-acute hospital limits|
|Approved community hospitals||$250 per day. Maximum of $5,000 a year|
|Approved convalescent hospitals||$50 per day. Maximum of $3,000 a year|
|Approved day hospitals||$150 per day. Maximum of $3,000 a year|
3. MediSave limits for outpatient treatment
So, what happens if you have a costly medical condition such as cancer, where the post-hospitalisation treatment can cost a bomb?
You might be able to use MediSave for the following types of outpatient (i.e. outside of hospital) treatment:
|Outpatient treatment||MediSave outpatient limits|
|Renal dialysis treatment||$450 a month|
|Outpatient radiotherapy for cancer patients||$80 per treatment for external therapy
$300 per treatment for brachytherapy with external radiotherapy
$360 per treatment for brachytherapy without external radiotherapy
$30 per treatment for superficial x-ray
$2,800 per treatment for stereotactic radiotherapy
|Radiosurgery treatment for cancer patients (Gamma Knife or Novalis shaped beam)||$7,500 per treatment|
|Chemotherapy for cancer patients (includes analgesic medication and suppressive treatments)||$1,200 per month per patient|
|MRI scans, CT scans and other diagnostics for cancer patients||$600 per year per patient|
|Scans for diagnosis or treatment of a medical condition||$300 per year per patient|
|Anti-retroviral treatment for HIV patients||$550 per month per patient|
|Hyberbaric oxygen therapy||$100 per treatment cycle|
|Intravenous antibiotic treatment||$600 per weekly cycle. Up to $2,400 a year|
|Long term oxygen therapy and infant continuous positive airway pressure therapy||$150 per month per patient|
|Immuno-suppressants for patients after organ transplants||$300 per month per patient|
|Long-term parenteral nutrition||$200 per month|
|Autologous bone marrow transplant for multiple myeloma treatment||$2,800 per year per patient|
|Desferrioxamine drug and blood transfusion for thalessaemia||$550 per year per patient|
4. MediSave limits for chronic disease management
The MediSave500 scheme allows you to use up to $500 per year for outpatient treatments (subject to 15% co-payment by the patient) for certain chronic diseases.
It applies to the following conditions under the Chronic Disease Management Programme (CDMP):
- Lipid disorders
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Major depression
- Bipolar disorders
- Benign prostatic hyperplasia
- Parkinson’s disease
- Nephrosis / nephritis
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Ischaemic heart disease
You might qualify for the MediSave700 scheme, which raises your yearly withdrawal limit to $700 a year, if you:
- Have 2 or more of the above conditions concurrently (i.e. you have gone for medical visits for at least 2 conditions within a year)
- Have 1 chronic medical condition with complications
The MediSave500 or MediSave700 limits are shared amongst treatment for the above conditions and approved vaccinations and health screenings, which are covered below.
5. MediSave limits for health screenings
Other than chronic disease management, the MediSave 500 / MediSave 700 scheme also allows you to use MediSave on selected health screenings and vaccinations. You don’t need to have a chronic medical condition to use it.
Here are the MediSave-eligible health screenings:
- Mammogram screenings (for women aged 50 and above) — deducted from MediSave 500 / 700
- Selected screening tests for newborns — deducted from MediSave 500 / 700
- Colonoscopy screening (only where recommended) — separate from MediSave 500 / 700; subject to $300 limit
As you can see, most health screenings (including your general comprehensive check-up) have to be paid out of pocket and you can’t use MediSave.
That said, health screenings are an important part of managing healthcare costs, since early intervention is often cheaper than treating a diseased in advanced stages. Read our guide for tips on how to keep your health screening costs down.
6. MediSave limits for vaccinations
MediSave 500 / MediSave 700 can be used for vaccines under the National Childhood Immunisation Schedule and National Adult Immunisation Schedule.
Childhood vaccinations (under the National Childhood Immunisation Schedule):
- Pneumococcal vaccinations (for kids below 5)
- HPV (for females aged 9 to 26)
- Hepatitis B
- Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR)
- Tuberculosis (BCG)
- Diphtheria, Pertussis and Tetanus (DTaP/Tdap)
- Haemophilus Influenza Type B (Hib)
Adult vaccinations (for target populations under the National Adult Immunisation Schedule):
- Influenza (also recommended for certain groups of children)
- Pneumococcal vaccinations
- HPV (for females aged 9 to 26)
- Hepatitis B
- Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR)
- Diphtheria, Pertussis & Tetanus (DTaP/Tdap)
7. MediSave limits for baby-related expenses
Having a baby is expensive in Singapore, but your MediSave savings can defray some of the costs. You can use MediSave to pay for (a) assisted conception and (b) delivery costs.
(a) Assisted Conception Procedures (ACP)
For those undergoing inpatient or outpatient Assisted Conception Procedures (ACP), you pay use the following amounts from your and/or your spouse’s MediSave account:
|ACP cycle||MediSave withdrawal limit|
|3rd and subsequent||44,000|
(b) MediSave Maternity Package
The MediSave Maternity Package lets you use your MediSave when delivering a baby:
|MediSave Matenity Package||MediSave withdrawal limit|
|Daily hospital limit||$450 per day|
|Pre-delivery medical expenses||$900|
8. Additional MediSave limits for seniors
Under the Flexi-MediSave scheme, patients aged 60 and above can use up to $200 per patient per year for outpatient medical treatment, approved vaccination and screenings. You can also use your spouse’s MediSave savings if he or she is also over 60.
Here’s where seniors can use Flexi-MediSave:
- Specialist Outpatient Clinics at public hospitals and national specialty centres
- Participating Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) Medical GP clinics
If you’re over 60, your $200 Flexi-MediSave allowance is in addition to other limits like MediSave500 or MediSave700.
9. MediSave limits for health insurance premiums
All Singaporeans are auto-enrolled in the national health insurance scheme, MediShield Life, the premiums for which are fully payable with MediSave.
If you want to supplement your MediShield Life with additional private insurance coverage — known as Integrated Shield Plans or IPs — you can use MediSave to pay the private insurance premiums up to these Additional Withdrawal Limits:
|Age||Additional Withdrawal Limit for private insurance component of IPs|
|40 and under||$300|
|41 to 70||$600|
|71 and above||$900|
IPs are available from 7 insurers, listed here:
- Max. Annual Coverage Limit
- Pre-Hospitalisation Benefit
- 180 days
- Post-Hospitalisation Benefit
- 365 days
10. MediSave limits for CareShield Life
The other scheme that’s fully payable with MediSave is CareShield Life, which is a disability income insurance. It pays out an allowance if you become disabled — a scenario that’s increasingly plausible with long life expectancies.
But, being a national scheme, it’s very basic. Just like with MediShield, you can supplement your CareShield Life with additional coverage from a private insurer.
CareShield Supplement premiums can be paid using MediSave, up to a limit of $600 per calendar year per person insured.
So many limits — what should we do?
Because MediSave has limits, it’s not the ideal solution for managing our healthcare costs. You can’t predict what types of healthcare expenses you’ll incur, so you may or may not end up having to pay a significant sum out of pocket.
And when you’re unwell, the last thing you’ll want to do is have to pick one treatment over another depending on whether it’s MediSave-eligible.
So while you’re still healthy, the smartest way you can use MediSave is pay for insurance premiums, especially health insurance.
An Integrated Shield Plan allows you to claim the bulk of medical costs at the level of healthcare you desire, and not have to worry about depleting your MediSave savings. That said, take note that a portion of your IP premiums may need to be paid in cash.
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