There’s a common belief in Singapore that if you are poor, then you had better not fall ill. Because there’s a myth that if you are ill and poor, you won’t be able to pay your medical fees and the doctors won’t treat you.
Nope. Not true. Regardless of how poor you are in Singapore, you will never be denied medical treatment. And, if you really can’t pay for the medical treatment, there is MediFund.
Here are five quick facts about MediFund:
1. What is MediFund?
MediFund is an endowment fund set up by the Government. As an endowment fund, interest income generated from the capital sum are allocated to approved healthcare institutions , for them to assist with the medical bill payments of needy patients.
This provides a safety net for patients who face financial difficulties with their remaining bills after receiving Government subsidies and drawing on other means of payment including MediShield Life, MediSave and cash.
2. Who’s eligible?
Anyone who meet the following criteria will be eligible for MediFund:
- be a Singapore citizen;
- be a subsidised patient;
- have received or require treatment from a MediFund-approved institution ; and
- be having difficulties paying for your healthcare bills after Government subsidies and other means including MediShield Life, MediSave, and cash .
All applications to use MediFund will be assessed holistically, taking into consideration the financial, health and social circumstances of you and your family.
3. What do you get?
Every MediFund-approved institution has an independent MediFund Committee to consider and approve applications, and decide on the appropriate quantum of assistance to provide. The actual amount of assistance you receive depends on you and your family members’ financial, health and social circumstances, as well as the size of the medical bill incurred.
4. How do you apply?
You or your family can approach the Medical Social Workers at the MediFund-approved institution at which you had treatment. In addition to MediFund, they will also be able to explore other possible financing means with you.
5. Has anyone been helped by MediFund?
Needy Singaporeans received close to S$150 million in assistance from MediFund for the financial year from Apr 1, 2017 to Mar 31, 2018.
The funds were given to about 1.18 million successful applications.
On average, the amount of MediFund assistance provided was S$953 per in-patient treatment and S$85 per out-patient treatment. More financial help was given to those who needed long-term care, from S$25.1 million in FY2016 to S$29.8 million last year.
There is help
Some would say that it’s a real hassle to get financial assistance from MediFund for their medical expenses. Yes. There are quite a few hoops to jump through, and the assistance is only provided for people who really can’t afford the expenses. But the bottom-line is that there is help.
Of course, it would be even better if we can keep healthy in the first place. Not just to avoid the medical expenses, but to have a better quality of life. As the saying goes, prevention is much better than cure.