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    Feb 07, 2014

    Group wants more govt help for aged

    THE PAP Seniors Group has urged the Government to pump more public spending into six areas, to ensure that health-care costs remain affordable for members of the pioneer generation.

    In a four-page paper released yesterday, the lobby group - formed in December to champion elderly causes - set out the areas for consideration.

    The paper has been submitted to the Ministry of Health and drew input from suggestions of over 100 participants at the group's first dialogue last month.

    It urges the Government to:

    • Increase help to the elderly with lower Medisave balances and to pay a significant part of their premiums for MediShield Life. The amount of subsidies should also be reviewed as and when the premiums go up.
    • Increase benefits, especially claim limits, to cover a bigger portion of subsidised bills.
    • Provide more Medisave top-ups to cover deductibles, or the portion of hospital bills not covered by insurance.
    • Increase help for specialist outpatient treatments and non-subsidised medicines.
    • Consider a tiered Medisave withdrawal scheme to allow more withdrawals by older Singaporeans for outpatient needs.
    • Increase subsidies for long-term and home-based care.

    The group's chairman, Madam Halimah Yacob, who is also the Speaker of Parliament, said at a press briefing yesterday that the pioneer generation contributed tremendously to the nation's development, "but their wages were not high in those days, they do not have high CPF contributions (and) Medisave started only in the 80s.

    "All these factors therefore make it a lot more difficult for them to pay for their health-care bills," she said.

    The paper comes three days before Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is due to unveil details of the Pioneer Generation Package on Sunday at an Istana garden party to thank pioneers.

    The package, announced during last year's National Day Rally, aims to help seniors pay for the costs of health care.