After reading various feedback from REACH contributors, the Ministry of Health provided the response below:
MOH agrees with the need for affordable palliative care services, particularly with Singapore’s ageing population. With this in mind, we have made recent enhancements to ensure that palliative care services remain affordable.
Since 1 Jan 2015, Medisave use for inpatient hospice was raised from $160 per day to $200. At the same time, the lifetime limit for patients requiring home palliative care was raised from $1,500 to $2,500. For patients with terminal illness such as cancer or organ failure, this cap was also lifted and there is no restriction on the amount they can use from their own Medisave accounts for home palliative care services.
Currently, means tested subsidies are already available for inpatient hospice care and home palliative care. Since July 2014, we also improved funding for home palliative care providers by moving away from funding based on the number of visits made to patients to funding based on a fixed amount for every patient under their care each month. This new approach to funding will deliver a more predictable stream of financial resources, enabling providers to plan and deliver more holistic, patient-centric services. It also gives greater flexibility to test out new models of care for the benefit of our patients. Needy patients who still require assistance, after Government subsidies and Medisave, can also apply for financial support through Medifund.
MediShield (which will be replaced by MediShield Life on 1 Nov) does not cover palliative care, as it is targeted at providing coverage for large hospital bills and costly outpatient treatments. However, those covered by ElderShield will receive a monthly cash payout, if the policyholder is assessed to be severely disabled. The payout can be put towards helping with the cost of palliative care services.
Corporate Communications Division
Ministry of Health