Last Updated on by Tree of Wealth
When we think of healthcare schemes in Singapore, most of us probably are familiar with Medisave and MediShield Life. But another government scheme exists to help cover healthcare costs for those who need it. That’s the Medifund scheme, which is an endowment fund set up by the government to help the needy. Unfortunately, not many Singaporeans know about it, so let’s find out more.
What is Medfund?
The Medifund Scheme is an endowment scheme set up in 1993. The scheme helps needy Singaporeans who cannot afford their healthcare bills in government hospitals or even institutes like the Institute of Mental Health(IMH). These Medifund-approved institutes include restructured government hospitals, national speciality centres, intermediate and long-term care services. Here is a list of Medifund-approved institutes(see Annex A).
For most Singapore citizens, if we are unfortunately warded and stay in a B or C ward in a government hospital, we should be able to cover the remaining costs after government subsidies. Government subsidies can cover up to 80% of our bill (50% for Permanent Residents). The rest of the expenses are covered by Medisave or Medishied for those with additional coverage. But Singapore Citizens who cannot finance their hospitalisation bills with Medisave or cash can apply for the means-tested Medifund scheme. Medifund means testing assesses eligible persons’ incomes to ensure that financial help is fairly distributed amongst those who require the aid.
Two other schemes, Medifund Silver and Junior, were introduced in 2007 and 2013, respectively. Medifund Silver targets the vulnerable elderly, while Medifund Junior is a safety net for children.
As an endowment fund, the interest income generated from the capital sum is allocated to Medifund-approved institutions to assist with medical bill payments of eligible patients. As of the financial year 2017, MOH reports that the capital sum for Medifund was $4.5 billion.
Medifund vs Medisave
Some people may need clarification on the difference between Medifund vs Medisave. Essentially, Medisave is a compulsory healthcare savings scheme. This contribution is taken from a salaried employee’s monthly CPF. Medisave can pay for day surgeries, hospitalisation in public hospitals, and some outpatient expenses. Parents can also use it to pay for their dependents’ medical expenses. You can also use Medisave to pay for Medishield, which is a medical insurance scheme. Medifund is a subsidy that patients can apply only after they have exhausted all means of payment for their hospital bills, including Medisave, Medishield and cash.
How to apply for Medifund
If you think you need more financial help, you can apply if you meet the following Medifund criteria:
- be a Singapore citizen;
- be a subsidised patient;
- have received or require treatment from a Medi Fund-approved institution; and
- Have difficulties paying for your healthcare bills after Government subsidies and other means, including MediShield Life, MediSave, and cash.
Remember that the healthcare subsidy amount may vary depending on the patient’s situation. The Medifund-approved institute will assess your application before deciding the appropriate amount to provide. The final amount of assistance will depend on you and your family’s financial circumstances. It will also consider the medical bill and your family’s health and social circumstance. The same applies to Medifund Junior and Medifund Silver. However, patients applying for Medifund Junor must be 18 years and below. Similarly, those who want to apply for Medifund Silver must meet the age limit. They will need to be 65 years and above.
More information on application
If you or your child requires assistance from Medifund Junior, you will need to seek help from the Medical Social Workers at the Medifund-approved institution where you had treatment. They will also be able to explore other possible financing means with you. Unfortunately, there is no official Medifund contact number, so you must approach the relevant persons for help.
Be prepared to furnish the necessary documents to prove your’s and your family’s income, savings and expenditures. The social workers may request income slips, CPF statements and bank statements to expedite any financial assistance required.
For more information on Medifund, you can visit the Ministry of Health’s website