When it comes to health, we never know when things can go south. In tricky times like these, it’s good to know that there are initiatives that can help alleviate our worries and stress, especially if they do so for the long term.
About MediSave Care
In October 2022, the government launched MediSave Care — also known as MediSave Withdrawals for Long-Term Care — which allows severely disabled Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents aged 30 and above to make monthly withdrawals from their own and/or their spouse’s MediSave. Residents will be able to withdraw up to a combined total of $200 per month. In essence, MediSave Care is a care scheme aimed at reducing some of the financial burden that comes with long-term care needs.
Withdrawal limits under MediSave Care
To withdraw money through this scheme, you will first need to ensure that your MediSave has a balance of at least $5,000. Your monthly withdrawal quantum depends on your MediSave balance. With a balance of $5,000, you will be able to withdraw $50 per month, up to $200 per month for accounts with a balance of $20,000 and above.
If you are eligible for this scheme, note that you or your spouse’s combined withdrawals cannot exceed $200 per month. For example, if you have at least $20,000 in your account and plan to withdraw the full $200, you will not be able to withdraw more from your spouse’s MediSave, even if their accounts meet the minimum balance. On the other hand, if you are only able to withdraw $100 each month based on your MediSave balance, you can consider withdrawing an additional $100 from your spouse’s MediSave, if their account has sufficient balance.
Am I eligible for MediSave Care payouts?
To be eligible for this scheme, you must be a Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident aged 30 and above, and are assessed to be severely disabled — that is, you are unable to perform three or more Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) like eating, bathing or dressing.
As addressed above, your and/or your spouse’s MediSave accounts must each also have a balance of at least $5,000.
If you meet the above criteria, you can submit an application to the Agency for Integrated Care and arrange for a disability assessment, which will be conducted by an MOH-accredited disability assessor. You can kickstart your application process here.
Book a Severe Disability Assessment with Homage
Homage’s team of MOH-accredited assessors can carry out the assessment in the comfort and safety of your home, saving you the time of having to travel to and from a clinic.
How you can use your MediSave Care Payouts
$200 might not sound like much initially, but it can go a long way, especially as it is a regular payout over a long-term period. What are some ways you can put these payouts to the most productive use?
1. Engage regular home care for yourself or your loved ones
Family caregivers shoulder a heavy responsibility. Not only do they have to navigate their daily lives and responsibilities, but they also dedicate a significant amount of their time and emotion to their loved ones. This can often weigh heavily on care recipients.
One great way to alleviate such concerns is to engage regular and professional care — so your caregiver is compensated for their time, while you receive the quality aid care you need. Often, such home care can be costly. However, with the MediSave Care payouts, it may not seem that far out of reach.
Homage offers monthly pre-paid care packages. Starting at 10 hours per month, you can also find a package that covers 200 hours a month if needed. To cater to different needs, you can also find packages that only provide the care services of a professional caregiver — covering just assistance with ADLs and companionship — or one that also includes simple nursing, in which you will be engaging the care services of a registered nurse.
Although Homage offers Pay As You Go care services, the pre-paid packages can be better value for money if you know how to plan your time.
Let’s assume that you can obtain a monthly payout of $200 through MediSave Care, and are someone who needs assistance with ADLs when the rest of your family is at work (i.e, weekdays, 9am to 5pm). That may total to 7 hours per day, but you only need care support for half of the day. In this case, your care needs are as follows:
- Meal preparation and feeding: 1h
- Companionship and support on activities: 1.5h
- Medication and care support: 0.5h
- Showering and dressing: 1h
In total, you will need approximately 4 hours of care per day, which makes the 80-hour per month package ideal for you (20 x 4h sessions). Any additional hours you require will be charged at the Pay As You Go rate of $25 (ADL) / $30 (ADLN) for the first 1 to 2 hours and $24 (ADL) / $28 (ADLN) for the subsequent hours.
This will cost $1,680 per month ($21 per hour), which you can offset using your $200 payout — making it $18.50 per hour! In the grand scheme of things, this is a worthy price to pay for peace of mind. Find out more about Homage’s care packages.
2. Purchase mobility devices
While quality care is important, mobility equipment can also go a long way to making you feel comfortable. These devices are used frequently, so make sure you are investing in good-quality ones!
For example, wheelchairs might look the same at first glance, but certain features can make a difference in how usable and comfortable it is. The ‘best’ wheelchair is also not necessarily the most expensive one in the market, but the one that is best suited for your condition and physical abilities.
When looking for the best wheelchair for you, consider factors like your size and weight, the capabilities that the wheelchair must offer you, and the climate of your place of residence. Depending on the type, wheelchairs in Singapore can cost from $199 to $2600 — a wide range that’s reflective of the many types of wheelchairs on offer in the market. Don’t fret if you’re feeling overwhelmed — find out more about wheelchairs and where to get them! If you’re planning ahead, you can save up your monthly MediSave Care payouts to purchase the wheelchair that’s best for your needs.
3. Engage a domestic helper
Hiring a domestic worker is understandably a big responsibility, but some families prefer to do so as a domestic worker can spend longer hours with the disabled individual, and can also help the rest of the household with their tasks.
That said, employing a helper is not cheap, and there are many factors to consider before you go ahead to make that decision. For one, you will have to factor in their monthly salary, which can range from $600 to $1500, depending on the country your helper comes from and their level of experience. There is also the maid levy, which costs $300 per month — that said, you will likely qualify for a concessionary levy, which applies to households with a member who needs help with at least one daily activity. The concessionary levy is $60.
In total, accounting for working on rest days, and extra living expenses (increased utility and grocery bills etc.), recurring costs per month can be about $900. This of course can be offset to $700 through the MediSave Care payout.
4. Tailored home therapy sessions
To improve the quality of life of your loved one, you can consider channelling the payout towards regular therapy sessions that can speed up recovery. First, think about what would aid your loved one the most. For example, if they are recovering from a fall, you can sign them up for physiotherapy sessions. You can make a booking through Homage, where each session costs $180. Depending on your budget, you can sign your loved one up for 2 or 4 sessions per month.
Alternatively, for individuals who have suffered from a stroke, perhaps something like speech therapy is the most apt. Individuals who have taken a more pessimistic outlook on life since their injury would likely benefit more from counselling sessions. During these sessions, a mental health professional can guide them towards feeling better and improving their general mental well-being.
When engaging these services, check in with your loved one first to see what they prefer. Often, it is tempting to think caregivers can make more objective decisions, but always remember that the comfort of the patient should remain paramount.
5. Entertainment subscriptions
Daily entertainment is something that most people take for granted. That is until they lose the ability to consume the usual types of entertainment created for able-bodied individuals. For example, while you and I might find it part of our daily routine to scroll our news apps to find out the latest happenings around the world, individuals who need help with daily activities might find this difficult. They may not be able to flip the newspaper comfortably or read from a screen with ease.
With this, entertainment subscriptions become critical in allowing individuals to continue enjoying their favourite TV shows.
This can range from the usual TV subscription to alternative sources like audiobooks or podcasts. An offshoot of requiring extensive care is that these individuals invariably spend a lot of time with their thoughts
To improve their quality of life, channelling some of the monthly payouts towards apps like Audible, and even the usual streaming services like Spotify, Netflix, or Disney+, might make a difference.
Ageing or a long-term injury can be a debilitating blow for some, severely altering their daily lives and how they perceive themselves. However, with initiatives like MediSave Care, these individuals can receive subsidies to engage services that will improve their standard of living and provide them with the professional support they need to lead as good a life as anyone else.
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- CareShield Life. (2021, October 28). MediSave Care. CareShield Life. Retrieved September 10, 2022, from https://www.careshieldlife.gov.sg/faqs/medisave-care.html
- Ho, T. (2022, September 14). [2022 Edition] How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Maid In Singapore? DollarsAndSense.sg. Retrieved September 15, 2022, from https://dollarsandsense.sg/much-cost-hire-maid-singapore/
- Soh, C. (n.d.). Top Wheelchairs & Where to Get Them in Singapore. Homage. Retrieved September 15, 2022, from https://www.homage.sg/resources/wheelchair-singapore/
- Sunrise Medical. (2017, September 29). How you choose the best wheelchair. Sunrise Medical. Retrieved September 15, 2022, from https://www.sunrisemedical.eu/blog/how-to-choose-the-perfect-wheelchair