MediFund: The state welfare you’ve never heard of

The phrase “You can die in Singapore, but don’t ever fall sick” is incorrect. Have you ever wondered how those who are utterly destitute, or broke pay for hospital bills? 

The Medical Endowment Fund, or MediFund for short, is set up by the Government. It 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.

It is even refined into both the MediFund Silver and MediFund Junior; both are carved out from MediFund to provide more targeted assistance for the needy elderly and the young respectively.

To be eligible for MediFund assistance, you must:

  • be a Singapore citizen;
  • be a subsidised patient;
  • have received or require treatment from a Medi Fund-approved institution ; and
  • be having difficulties paying for your healthcare bills after Government subsidies and other means including MediShield Life, MediSave, and cash .

Application are assessed holistically, taking into consideration the family’s financial, health and social circumstances. This way, no one is denied healthcare. In Singapore, it is primary importance to treat the patient first. In countries such as America, you are required to discuss insurance and finance before they even admit you.

If you’re curious how much has been disbursed to help Singaporeans, wonder no more. An ST report a few days ago revealed that the total amount disbursed by the MediFund was $156.5m in 2018. This is up from $149.8 million in FY2017.

On average, the amount of MediFund assistance provided was $917 per inpatient treatment, and $87 per outpatient treatment.

The increase was mostly due to a rise in payouts for patients in intermediate and long-term care facilities, including both non-residential facilities such as day rehabilitation centres and residential facilities such as nursing homes.

The reason for this rise, according to the Ministry of Health, was the rise in the number of facilities and attendance. Greater access to community care facilities may have also contributed to more patients seeking treatment. 

MediFund has come a long way. It was started in 1993 with only $200m and over the years, with financial injection from the government the amount grew. The total capital sum rose to $4.5 billion in FY2017 after $500 million was injected.

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