In memory of victims of HIV/Aids
First Published- 19 May 2009
Neo Chai Chin
No patient will be worse off when the more nuanced subsidy system at community hospitals takes effect on July 1. In fact, about half of the patients will benefit, with some seeing their hospital bills subsidised an extra 20 per cent with the enhanced framework.
For instance, a patient with per capita household income of $500 will enjoy a 70-per-cent subsidy from July 1, up from 50 per cent currently. For a 24-day stay at a community hospital, he would be expected to pay $1,080, which is $720 less than before.
This is the result of the Ministry of Health (MOH) increasing the subsidy framework from four to nine income tiers (with subsidies between 0 to 75 per cent, in 10-percentage point increments), which will benefit patients at the margins of the existing tiers offering 0, 25, 50 and 75 per cent in subsidy.
When the MOH first announced the enhanced community hospitals’ subsidy framework in March, there was concern that some patients would end up with less than before. But Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan assured the public that he would ensure patients benefited from the exercise.
To do this, the MOH has extended the subsidies to a wider income range — those with a per capita household income of $360 and below will receive a 75 per cent subsidy, up from $330 now.
And the maximum per capita income level eligible for subsidy has been increased from $1,300 to $1,400. That means that a family of four with a monthly income of $5,600 would get a subsidy.
This enhanced framework will cost MOH an extra $4 million a year, up from $26 million now.
The MOH will work with the community hospitals to ensure patients transit smoothly to community hospitals from restructured hospitals, it said in a press release.