How You Can Use Your CPF for Your Loved Ones’ Healthcare Needs

From CPF top-ups for your parents to paying their outpatient fees, here are ways that you can use your CPF to defray your loved ones' healthcare costs.

by Tan Jia Hui

What is CPF?

The Central Provident Fund (CPF) is a compulsory savings and pension plan for working Singaporeans and permanent residents, primarily used to fund an individual’s retirement, healthcare and housing needs in Singapore.

Both employees and employers contribute to an individual’s CPF. Funds in the CPF are allocated into different accounts: Ordinary Account (OA), Special Account (SA), Retirement Account (RA), and MediSave. You will be able to use the funds in each account for different purposes.

What is MediSave? 

MediSave is a savings scheme that helps Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents (PRs) set aside part of their monthly income to fund healthcare needs. Since MediSave is one of the accounts under CPF, all CPF members will automatically be contributing a part of their salary to their MediSave account.

MediSave can be used for approved medical expenses, including hospitalisation, day surgery, selected outpatient services and healthcare needs for seniors.

To ensure that Singaporeans have enough savings for basic healthcare needs in old age, there are withdrawal limits set for MediSave. However, fret not, as these withdrawal limits are usually sufficient to cover most of the subsidised medical charges.

Who can I use my MediSave for?

Besides using MediSave for your healthcare needs, did you know that you can also fund the medical expenses of your loved ones? This includes:

  • Spouse, parents, and children (regardless of nationality)
  • Grandparents and siblings (must be Singapore Citizens or PRs)

What services can I use my MediSave for?

MediSave can be used for a variety of healthcare expenses, including:

In addition, it can be used to pay your insurance premiums for MediShield Life, Integrated Shield Plans, ElderShield and CareShield Life.

What cannot be paid with my MediSave?

Services that cannot be paid with MediSave include:

  • Outpatient consultation fees, tests and investigations (except for approved treatments under the Chronic Disease Management programme)
  • Accident and emergency (A&E) fees
  • Non-medical treatments (e.g. ambulance transport)
  • Optional and cosmetic treatments
  • Medical equipment, devices and appliances (e.g. wheelchairs)

If you do need financial support for these services, check out the different healthcare subsidies available.

Ways to use CPF and MediSave for my family members

Here are different ways you can use the funds in your CPF and MediSave account for your loved one’s care needs, from doing CPF top-ups for your parents to paying for some of your family’s medical fees.

1. Top up their MediSave accounts

One way to support your loved one is by transferring funds from your CPF SA and/or OA to their MediSave. The amount you can transfer to your loved one’s MediSave account depends on the:

Do note that funds will be transferred from your SA first, followed by your OA. The interest balance in your SA and OA cannot be transferred. 

Fill up this form to apply for the CPF transfer.

2. Pay for their MediShield Life insurance premiums

Did you know that you can use MediSave to pay your MediShield Life insurance premiums in full?

MediShield Life is a basic healthcare insurance plan for all Singaporeans that provides lifelong coverage for hospital bills and selected outpatient treatments such as dialysis and chemotherapy. This reduces the amount that individuals will have to fork out from their MediSave and cash.

Using MediSave to pay for insurance premiums takes a load off those who are tight on cash or prefer to use their money for other purposes. If your loved one is unable to afford the MediShield Life premiums, you can offer to use your MediSave to pay for their premiums. 

To help fund your loved one’s MediShield Life insurance premiums using your MediSave, apply here. You will receive a written notice before deduction is made, and can review the arrangement at any time.

3. Allow them to tap into your CPF for MediSave Care

MediSave Care is a personal healthcare saving scheme that allows Singaporeans and PRs aged 30 and above with severe disability to withdraw up to $200 per month from their and/or their spouse’s MediSave.

The monthly withdrawal limit is up to $200 per individual with severe disability. However, to ensure sufficient funds for other medical needs, you have to maintain a minimum balance of $5,000 in your MediSave account. Those with less than $20,000 remaining in their MediSave account will also be subjected to a lower monthly withdrawal limit for MediSave Care.

The amount that you can withdraw per month depends on your current MediSave balance:

MediSave BalanceMonthly Withdrawal Limit
$20,000 and above$200
$15,000 and above$150
$10,000 and above$100
$5,000 and above$50
Below $5,000NIL

Thankfully, those with less than $20,000 in their MediSave account can tap into their spouse’s MediSave to supplement the withdrawal. For example, if Mdm Foong, an individual with severe disability, has $13,000 in her MediSave account, she will only be able to withdraw $100 from her account. However, she can tap on her spouse’s MediSave to withdraw the remaining $100 to hit the maximum withdrawal limit of $200 (provided her spouse has at least $10,000 in his MediSave).

Do note that this arrangement of tapping into your loved one’s CPF for MediSave Care is currently only available for spouses.

4. Pay for their yearly health screenings

As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. Going for screenings regularly is important to spot the early warning signs of health conditions so you can seek treatment before complications develop. 

The government has subsidised screenings tests and made health check-ups more affordable. With the Screen for Life (SFL) programme, Singaporeans can go for recommended screening tests starting from just $2. However, it will be costlier for those who prefer a more comprehensive health screening package beyond the recommended tests included in SFL.

Thankfully, you can use MediSave to pay for your or your loved ones’ screening tests at participating medical institutions. Here are the eligible screenings and the respective MediSave withdrawal limits:

Health Screening TestConditionsMediSave Withdrawal Limit
MammogramAged 50 years and above$700 for individuals with complex chronic conditions
$500 for individuals without complex chronic conditions
ColonoscopyAged 50 years and above 

Day surgery procedures only

$950 for procedure-related cost and $300 for related hospital charges
Colonoscopy with removal of polyps$1,250 for colonoscopy with the removal of a single polyp or multiple polyps less than 1 cm, and $300 for related hospital charges
$1,550 for colonoscopy with the removal of multiple polyps more than 1 cm, and $300 for related hospital charges

With Homage, you can now arrange for doctors to conduct health screenings in the comfort of your home. This is particularly helpful for individuals with limited mobility and those who simply prefer the convenience. Book a home health screening package for you and your loved ones today!

5. Pay for treatment of their chronic diseases

If your loved one is under the Chronic Disease Management Programme (CDMP), they will be able to use their or their loved one’s MediSave for outpatient chronic disease treatments. The 23 conditions under CDMP are:

You are considered to have complex chronic conditions if you had visits for two or more conditions under the CDMP, or one CDMP condition with complications, within a year.

Individuals with complex chronic conditions can withdraw up to $700 per year per individual from MediSave for outpatient chronic condition treatments, while others under CDMP can use up to $500. Each claim is subjected to a 15% co-payment in cash.

If you are using your MediSave to support multiple family members with chronic conditions, you will be able to withdraw up to $500 or $700 per recipient. For example, David is supporting his mother who has complex chronic conditions and his father who has one CDMP condition with no complication. This means he can withdraw up to a total of $1,200 per year from his MediSave for chronic condition management — up to $700 per year for his mother and up to $500 per year for his father.

6. Pay for their CT and MRI scans

CT and MRI scans can be costly, so you will be glad to know that your MediSave can be used to support your loved one’s outpatient scans. You can withdraw up to $300 per year per individual. Those with cancer can claim up to $600 per year for outpatient MRI scans, CT scans, and other diagnostics related to the treatment. Do note that X-rays are not covered under this use case.

7. Pay for repeated treatments

If your loved one needs to go for repeated treatments due to conditions like cancer, kidney failure, or end-stage renal disease (ESRD), medical expenses can add up over time. You can support them by using your MediSave to ease the burden of their medical expenses. 

For renal dialysis, you can withdraw up to $450 per month. Those with cancer can claim up to $600 or $1,200 per month for cancer drug treatments, and between $80 to $2,800 for radiotherapy, depending on the type of treatment.

8. Pay for their dental surgical procedures

Selected dental surgical procedures are MediSave-claimable. Examples of dental treatments include wisdom tooth surgery, dental implant, bone grafting, gum grafting or surgery, sinus lift and crown lengthening. Depending on the complexity of the procedure, you can withdraw between $250 to $2,850 from MediSave.

If your loved one’s MediSave account has insufficient balance, you can use your MediSave to cover the cost of their dental procedure.

9. Pay for day rehabilitative care

If your loved one is recovering from an accident or illness and requires rehabilitation, you can use your MediSave to offset some of the costs. 

Here are the MediSave withdrawal limits for the different types of rehabilitation therapy:

Rehabilitation Type and SettingMediSave Withdrawal Limits
Inpatient treatment at a community hospitalUp to $250 per day and up to $5,000 per year
Outpatient treatment at a day rehabilitation centreUp to $25 per day and up to $1,500 per year

Community hospitals are public health institutions that provide short-term medical care to those who have just been discharged and complement general hospitals that provide acute care, to ensure care continuity and a smooth transition home.

Day rehabilitation centres are healthcare facilities with equipment, resources and trained staff that can support your recovery with outpatient physical therapy.

If you are using your MediSave to pay for your loved one’s rehabilitation care at either of these facilities, do let the staff know in advance so they can guide you through the necessary procedures.

10. Pay for inpatient palliative care

Palliative care aims to improve the quality of life of individuals with life-limiting conditions and support their families in various aspects of their lives. 

If your loved one requires inpatient palliative care at a community hospital or hospice, you can withdraw up to $250 (for general care) or $350 (for specialised care) per day from your MediSave to pay for approved inpatient hospice palliative care services (IHPCS).

What if a family member prefers home care?

For most of us, the familiarity of home brings us comfort. Should your loved one prefer to receive care at home, there are care options and financial support available.

For home palliative care, there is a lifetime limit of $2,500 per individual for MediSave withdrawal. This lifetime limit is shared with Day Hospice Care. However, if an individual is diagnosed with terminal cancer or end stage organ failure and is using their own MediSave, the lifetime limit will not apply.

Homage provides a comprehensive suite of home care services by trained medical professionals, from nursing and medical services to rehabilitation and palliative care. While not all of them are MediSave-claimable, there are a slew of financial subsidies available for caregivers and care recipients to make home care affordable and accessible to all.

If your loved one needs care, do not hesitate to reach out to our Care Advisor at 6100 005 for a free care consultation and learn how we can help.

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References
  1. Chew, H.M. (2022, 2 December). Medisave Basic Healthcare Sum to rise from January 2023: CPF. Retrieved from https://www.channelnewsasia.com/singapore/cpf-interest-rates-oa-sa-medisave-basic-healthcare-sum-3117311.
  2. Central Provident Fund Board. (2022, 31 March). List of Medical Institutions Participating in MediSave / MediShield Life Scheme. Retrieved from https://www.cpf.gov.sg/content/dam/web/member/healthcare/documents/list-of-medical-institutions-medisave-medishield-life.pdf.
About the Writer
Tan Jia Hui
Jia Hui is a content marketer who loves helping others and hopes to make this world a kinder place in any way she can. In her pockets of free time, you can find her snacking on ice cream and fries with her 80-year-young Grandma at home.
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