HEALTHCARE | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Singapore extends CHAS subsidies for chronic conditions

The subsidies will be extended to cover all Singaporeans regardless of income.

Building on prime minister Lee Hsien Loong’s announcement of the extension of the Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) in 2018, finance minister Heng Swee Keat announced that CHAS will be extended to cover all Singaporeans for chronic conditions, regardless of income.

The subsidies for orange cardholders (lower- to middle-income Singaporeans) will be extended to chronic conditions as well. Generally, the subsidies for complex chronic conditions will be increased.

DBS Group Research analyst Rachel Tan commented, “We believe this bodes well for participating CHAS GP and dental clinics with the higher subsidies, especially the extension of subsidies to cover chronic conditions to all Singaporeans, regardless of income. Though the impact could be limited, GP and dental clinic chains in the listed space that could benefit from this.”

Tan noted that Raffles Medical, Singapore Medical Group, Healthway Medical Group, and Q&M Dental Group could benefit. “Health Management International, which recently invested in StarMed facility (an ambulatory care centre) and Plus Medical Holdings (a chain of primary care clinics in Singapore), could benefit from the increase in subsidies,” she added.

Also read: Government subsidy upgrades could bolster Raffles Medical  

The Singapore government did not only extend the coverage of CHAS subsidies but also provided additional subsidies for all Merdeka Generation seniors (regardless of income) for outpatient care for life, including special CHAS subsidies (higher than CHAS Blue subsidies) for common illnesses, chronic conditions and dental procedures.

MG seniors will also get 25% off their subsidised bills (on top of the prevailing subsidies available) at polyclinics and public Specialist Outpatient Clinics. CHAS subsidies were previously only available to the Pioneer Generation and lower- to middle-income Singaporeans, Tan noted.

“On a strategic perspective, aside from reducing the burden on public polyclinics and medical centres, we believe this could indicate the government’s intention to progressively pass on more treatment (especially day treatment and long-term care treatment) on to the GP clinics' network to reduce its healthcare burden and expenditure in the long term,” Tan said. 

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