Honouring a nation's pioneers

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At $8 billion, the Pioneer Generation Package is the largest one-off special transfer for a single programme that gives subsidies for the rest of its beneficiaries' lives.

It provides assurance on where it matters most: focus on healthcare to cope with outpatient and specialist care, hospitalisation and serious illnesses for our seniors. It will help cover the medical expenses of our pioneers for at least the next two decades.

More noteworthy is that the funds have been 'ring-fenced', which means the package would not have to compete with other budgetary expenditure. It is also funded entirely from this year's Budget, without any need to tap into the nation's reserves.

All these have been made possible because the nation continues to enjoy growth and prosperity, on the firm foundation laid by this very special group of people - our pioneers.

WHO GETS IT?

  • Seniors aged 65 and above this year
  • Singapore Citizen before 1987
  • About 450,000 people

WHAT DO THEY GET?

1. Help with outpatient costs

  • Additional 50 per cent off subsidised bill at Specialist Outpatient Clinics (SOCs) and polyclinics, bringing total subsidies to between 75 per cent and 85 per cent
  • Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS)
    • All Pioneer Generation members to come under CHAS, for subsidies at GPs and dental clinics
    • Those already on CHAS will get even more subsidies, similar to what they will receive for SOCs and polyclinics
  • Disability assistance
    • Those with moderate to severe disabilities, or their nominated caregivers, will get $1,200 a year in cash

2. Annual Medisave top-ups for the rest of their lives, older members to get more

  • Aged 65 to 69 (this year): $200
  • Aged 70 to 74 (this year): $400
  • Aged 75 to 79 (this year): $600
  • Aged 80 and above (this year): $800
  • They will be able to use Medisave more flexibly for outpatient treatments

3. Medishield Life subsidy

  • Subsidies for premiums to range from 40 per cent for those aged 65, to 60 per cent for those aged 90

WHEN WILL THEY GET IT?

Today: Go to www.singaporebudget.gov.sg/budget_2014/pgp.aspx or the nearest Citizen Connect Centre http://www.ecitizen.gov.sg/Topics/Pages/Citizen-Connect-Centre.aspx. to check for eligibility.

Early July 2014: Eligible Singaporeans will receive letter telling them the benefits they will receive. Medisave top-ups to be credited to their accounts

September 2014: Additional subsidies for SOCs and polyclinics; cash payout for disability assistance scheme

Late 2015: Subsidies for Medishield Life premiums

This article was first published in the April 2014 issue of Petir Magazine.

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