What is CHAS?

Mdm Cecilia Tan*, 60, is a retired beautician. Her husband, an accounts clerk, draws a monthly salary of about $2,700. Their only daughter is an administrative assistant who earns $1,700 a month. Their combined household income is $4,400 and they live modestly in a three-room flat.

But five years ago, Mdm Tan was diagnosed with kidney failure and the family of three had to curb their spending to pay for her daily medication.

Thankfully, patients like Mdm Tan can now apply for the Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS), a programme spearheaded by the Ministry of Health (MOH) programme that helps provide Singaporeans with accessible and affordable medical and dental care.

Patients who qualify for the scheme receive subsidies for outpatient medical treatment for chronic and/or acute conditions from general practitioners (GPs) registered under the scheme. They also receive selected dental services at participating dental clinics near their homes.

CHAS members also enjoy subsidised referrals to specialist outpatient clinics.

The eligibility criteria were changed on January 15, 2012, to allow more Singaporeans to benefit from the programme. For example, the qualifying age was lowered from 65 to 40 years and the income criteria was raised from $800 to $1,500 per capita monthly household income.

CHAS also works in conjunction with the Government’s Chronic Disease Management Programme. Patients covered by the programme will receive CHAS subsidies for their chronic disease treatments that range from $200 to $480 per year.

Patients can then use their Medisave to pay for the balance of the cost of the treatment, up to a limit of $400 per Medisave account per year. For example, if the total bill is $1,000 and the CHAS subsidy covers $350, the remaining $650 can be paid using $400 from Medisave and $250 in cash.

Read on to find out who qualifies for CHAS and how to apply for it.

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