SINGAPORE – A total of $156.9 million from the Medical Endowment Fund (MediFund) was used to help needy Singaporeans with their medical bills in the financial year from April 1, 2020, to March 31 this year, $2.2 million less than in the previous year.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Tuesday (Nov 30) that the decrease in assistance was mainly due to the lower number of patient visits to public healthcare institutions and intermediate and long-term care facilities amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The number of successful applications – at more than 1.1 million – was down by 5.3 per cent from the previous financial year.
MOH added that a decrease in overall application numbers by 4 per cent contributed to the drop in successful applications.
More than $120 million in assistance was provided to patients at public healthcare institutions, down from nearly $123 million in the preceding financial year.
However, a total assistance of $36.6 million was provided to patients in intermediate and long-term care facilities, up from $36.2 million in the financial year before.
The average amount of MediFund assistance provided was $841 per inpatient treatment and $93 per outpatient treatment.
MediFund helps needy Singaporean patients who are unable to afford their medical bills after government subsidies, and insurance and MediSave deductions.
MediFund Silver provides more targeted assistance for the elderly, while MediFund Junior caters to children.
At the end of financial year 2020, nearly $4.85 billion remained in MediFund, up from slightly over $4.64 billion.
This follows a $200 million top-up to the fund announced in the 2020 Budget by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, who is also Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies, in Parliament in February last year.
MOH said: “MediFund ensures that no Singaporean will be denied basic medical care due to the inability to pay.”