How and when you can use Medisave
EMPLOYEES in Singapore know that part of their income from work goes to their Medisave accounts.
However, many people seem to have only a vague idea of what they can use their Medisave for, as well as when and how much.
That's sort of understandable, since there are so many terms and names to remember. But then again, you wouldn't want to wait till you actually need to use your Medisave to find out what it's all about, or when you can't use your Medisave and need to fork out cash.
Here are three things you ought to know about Medisave:
1. WATCH OUT FOR DIFFERENT WITHDRAWAL LIMITS
Medisave can be used to pay for a fairly wide range of inpatient and outpatient medical treatments. But these approved uses are subject to various withdrawal limits, which differ depending on the type of treatment.
For instance, Medisave can be used to pay inpatient treatment costs including surgery costs, daily hospital charges and day rehabilitation charges. Depending on the treatment, your use of Medisave could be subject to a combination of daily limits, annual limits, fixed limits (per treatment), and lifetime limits.
For outpatient treatments, remember these two terms:
Medisave400: You can use up to $400 per Medisave account per year to pay for certain vaccinations, health screenings, and outpatient treatments of some chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and asthma. Claims for outpatient treatment of chronic diseases are subject to a 15 per cent cash co-payment.
Flexi-Medisave: Elderly patients (aged 65 and above) can use up to $200 per year on outpatient treatments at approved clinics. This can be used on top of other existing limits such as the Medisave400.
2. USE IT TO PAY YOUR HEALTH INSURANCE PREMIUMS
Yet more withdrawal limits come into play for paying insurance premiums.
These limits are set such that you can fully pay for your MediShield health insurance premiums with Medisave. Naturally, limits are higher for older people as their premiums cost more.
You can also use Medisave to pay for the private insurance component of your Integrated Shield Plan, up to the withdrawal limit.
MediShield will be replaced by MediShield Life by the end of this year, which offers better coverage but comes with higher premiums. When that happens, you still get to use Medisave to pay your full MediShield Life premiums.
And you can use some part of your Medisave to pay for the private insurance component, subject to a new set of limits called the Additional Withdrawal Limit.
The main change is that the withdrawal limit used to apply to your entire Integrated Shield premium (both the MediShield and private insurance components), but in future, the limit will apply only to the private insurance component.
3. USE IT TO PAY FOR YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS' EXPENSES
This is the easiest to remember: You can use your Medisave to pay for your immediate family members, and they for you. It's a nice thing to do for your parents. You can reduce the family's out-of-pocket expenses this way. And, of course, check the withdrawal limits.
The author is a contributing writer at Get.com, a comparison website for financial products.
This article first appeared on Get.com.