Photo of Chee Hong Tat from Facebook

Responding to PAP MP Lee Bee Wah’s query on limitations of certain medical procedures, Minister of State for Health Chee Hong Tat said that Singaporeans are not allowed to use their Medisave without permission from the government.

MP Lee Bee Wah posed a question in Parliament on Friday (Mar 10):

“I have a resident who is 77 years old, has $100,000 in his Medisave and he has used up $600, which is the cap for CT scan for the abdomen, pelvis and bone. Now he needs $1,000 for prostate MRI, and apparently his request was rejected. How many people had reached the withdrawal limits and requested to be allowed to take more out.”

To which Minister Chee Hong Tat said that Singaporeans who have used up the category limit for a certain medical procedure (e.g. CT scan) would need to appeal to the government to use their Medisave:

“MOH receives about 200 such appeals a year, and about half are allowed to do so. The decision is made on a case-by-case basis, such as complex treatment needed due to unforeseen complications, or if the family is facing financial difficulties caused by unemployment or retrenchment… I will monitor the affordability of subsidised care and to regularly review Medisave withdrawal limits.”

MP Lee Bee Wah then question if the poor with medical assistance card ever used up their entitlement:

“How many Community Health Assist Scheme (Chas) blue-card holders had used up their entitlement over the past three years, and if the ministry would consider raising the annual subsidy cap from the current $480.”

Minister Chee Hong Tat that verified that 11,000 Chas card holders used up their full entitlement for one year, but did not explain whether if further help is given to help them pay for further medical fees.