Singapore has an ageing population. As more people turn sixty and retire or look for post retirement opportunities, healthcare will become the singularly biggest challenge for the country. The ageing and the aged population would require better healthcare facilities and more importantly affordable diagnoses and treatments. Acknowledging the foreseeable challenges, the Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong has announced several initiatives to prepare the country for a better and more resourceful future. PM Loong announced polyclinics, healthcare packages and subsidies during National Day Rally.
The prime minister highlighted the increasing cost of living and that it would inevitably impact the cost of healthcare. He assured Singaporeans that new healthcare programmes were being planned and undertaken to ensure the aged citizens get the kind of support they need without finding it unaffordable. PM Lee Hoong stressed on three initiatives that he has formulated to make it easy for the ageing population. These are greater healthcare benefits, improved healthcare facilities and Merdeka generation package.
To provide greater healthcare benefits, the Community Health Assist Scheme or CHAS in Singapore would now cover all citizens with chronic diseases or medical conditions. This would be facilitated regardless of the income of the citizens. The CHAS initiative was initially and still is aimed to provide subsidized outpatient treatments to Singaporeans who have low or midlevel income. The revised scheme will now take care of medical bills of citizens suffering from chronic ailments. This includes diabetes. Around one in every nine citizens in the country has diabetes right now. The younger generation would not be left out and there would be better financial support through CareShield Life. The scheme is universal for those who were born in 1980 or thereafter. The scheme will account for six hundred dollars per month and last throughout the lifetime of those covered. This initiative is also designed to be an impetus for the younger generations to think of their older selves and to plan accordingly as soon as possible.
As per the plans shared pertaining to improving healthcare facilities, the focus is on boosting access to quality primary care. Access to polyclinics is limited right now. The Ministry of Health is tasked with developing new polyclinics and to upgrade existing ones so they can offer state of the art diagnoses and treatments. Some of the upgraded or new polyclinics are expected to have a senior daycare centre with rehabilitation and in some cases resident care facilities so the elderly does not have to make repeated trips to and from the hospital. The polyclinics are also being planned in a manner to reduce the problem of accessibility in sheer terms of distance and the cost of healthcare at these places would also be considerably more affordable than how it is now.
The Merdeka generation package is for those who were born from 1950 through 1959, the Malay for independence generation. All citizens born during this time are inching towards sixty in the next few months or already older than sixty. They are retired or would retire anytime now. This Merdeka Generation Package would take care of medical expenses by the virtue of outpatient subsidies, national savings scheme MediSave and national insurance scheme MediShield catering only to healthcare expenditure.
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