Here are some myths and facts on the $8 billion Pioneer Generation Package for Singapore’s founding generation.
MYTH: The Pioneer Generation Package is a scheme to help elderly Singaporeans. So, all Singapore citizens will benefit from it in their golden years.
The package only applies to a certain group of Singaporeans – those born on or before 31 Dec 1949 and those who obtained their citizenship on or before 31 Dec 1986. Its purpose is to honour and recognise this generation of people for their contributions to the country during its challenging early years.
MYTH: I’m not poor, so the Pioneer Generation subsidies are not for me.
The Pioneer Generation Package is meant to honour an entire generation for its contributions to nation building, so its benefits are not restricted to the needy. Anyone who was born on or before 31 Dec 1949 and/or has obtained citizenship on or before 31 Dec 1986 qualifies for the subsidies.
MYTH: I can use my Pioneer Generation card at my neighbourhood general practitioner’s (GP) clinic.
The Pioneer Generation card can be used at a GP clinic only if it is a clinic under the Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS). GPs who are not under the scheme will not recognise the Pioneer Generation card.
CHAS is a scheme that enables Singaporeans in low-income households to receive subsidised health care from participating GP and dental clinics. This network of CHAS clinics now serves Pioneer Generation members as well.
There are more than 1,000 CHAS clinics spread across Singapore. Clinics under the scheme can be identified by the CHAS stickers displayed on their premises, and a list of all CHAS clinics can be found at www.chas.sg.
MYTH: All Pioneers can enjoy subsidies at the specialist outpatient clinics (SOCs) of public hospitals.
The subsidies apply only to Pioneers who are classified by the SOCs as subsidised patients, like those who have been referred to the SOCs by a polyclinic doctor or CHAS GP. Pioneers who are classified by the SOCs as non-subsidised patients, such as walk-in patients, will not be eligible for Pioneer subsidies.
MYTH: I already have a Health Assist card that enables me to receive CHAS subsidies. If I bring both my Pioneer Generation card and my Health Assist card to a clinic, I’ll get two kinds of subsidies.
Even if you hold both cards, only one set of subsidies – the ones under the Pioneer Generation package – will apply.
The subsidies for Pioneers are higher than those for Health Assist card holders, so the Pioneer Generation card will supersede the Health Assist card regardless of whether it is the blue Health Assist card (for those with a monthly per capita household income of $1,100 and below) or the orange one (for those with a monthly per capita household income of $1,101 to $1,800).
So, the Health Assist card is no longer necessary for patients who have a Pioneer Generation card.
MYTH: The Pioneer Generation Package covers only outpatient health care.
The package includes help for Pioneers’ hospitalisation expenses through annual top-ups to their Medisave accounts, and through subsidies for the premiums they will pay for MediShield Life, the compulsory medical insurance scheme for all Singaporeans, to be implemented at the end of 2015.
Pioneers with moderate or severe disabilities can receive cash assistance to defray the cost of their care through the Pioneer Generation Disability Assistance Scheme. Some disabled Pioneers, such as those who are claimants under the ElderShield disability insurance scheme, are automatically eligible for this scheme. Others can apply for the scheme by getting a functional assessment report from a doctor to certify their condition.
MYTH: Pioneer Generation card holders can get subsidised health screenings at polyclinics and CHAS clinics at any time.
Only Pioneers holding Health Promotion Board screening invitation letters are eligible for free health screenings and subsidised doctors’ consultations in relation to the screenings. These letters are issued to Pioneers recommending them for specific health screening tests such as for hypertension, diabetes, lipid disorders, colorectal cancer and cervical cancer.
For more details, please refer to www.moh.gov.sg