By Leong Sze Hian
“Unable to pay Medisave” increasing?
My volunteers and I who have been doing financial counselling for coming to three years now (we started in Jurong about a decade ago) at 1 Siang Kuang Avenue on Thursdays 8 pm (by appointment only), have come across increasing enquiries on inability to pay Medisave problems.
How many people have problems paying their Medisave contributions and are in arrears?
2004 – 144,000 owed $413m?
I believe the last time that the statistics were reported in the media, if I remember correctly – it was more than 140,000.
– “By 2004, the number of self-employed in arrears of medisave payment has ballooned to 144,000 with a large outstanding sum of $413 million”.
Medisave changes cause more hardship?
Over the years, the following changes may have increasing made the lives of self-employed persons harder:
- … increase in Medisave contribution rate from 6 to as much as 9 per cent now
- … those who can’t pay cannot renew their vocational licence – like taxi drivers, real estate agents, etc
- … even those who earn as little as $6,000 a year are required to contribute to Medisave
Even some lawyers can’t pay?
According to the Law Society’s Law Gazette, even some lawyers have been in arrears on their Medisave contribution –
“Central Provident Fund (“CPF”) Board has informed the Law Society that notwithstanding the provisions of the Central Provident Fund Act, some self-employed lawyers have not paid up their Medisave liabilities. Any person who fails to comply with the statutory obligations to make payment of Medisave contributions may be prosecuted by the CPF Board and upon conviction, liable to payment of a penalty. Although CPF Board could prosecute those who default in making their Medisave contributions, we are informed that the Board has been thus far reluctant to resort to this harsh action as it might adversely affect the standing of the legal profession.”
Real estate agents can’t renew licence?
According to the Institute of Estate Agents‘ web site
“CEA is one of the 14 licensing authorities empowered to enforce Medisave contributions at the point of issuance and renewal of estate agent licence and salesperson registration. Under Section 3(1) of the Central Provident Fund (Self-Employed Persons) Regulations, self-employed persons who earn a yearly income of more than $6,000 a year are required to contribute to Medisave for their healthcare and retirement needs.
If you or your salespersons are in arrears of CPF Medisave contribution and do not have an active GIRO instalment plan with CPF Board, they will not be able to apply for renewal / continuation of their registration. CEA’s EAS system will be designed such that those salespersons with Medisave arrears would not be able to submit any renewal / continuation application form via the singpass facility to their estate agent, which is unlike last year’s arrangement.
CEA has written to the affected salespersons directly but due to confidentiality reason they are unable to provide their names. Please click here for a sample of the letter they sent to them accompanied by a notice from CPF Board.
Please be reminded that if you or your Salespersons are in Medisave arrears, you must clear the arrears by 30 Sep 2013 in order to renew / continue their registration. There will be no extension of time.”
Spend $0 on healthcare?
So, when the Government
- … from a cashflow perspective does not spend a single cent on healthcare, CPF and HDB
- … has the lowest public healthcare spending as a percentage of GDP among developed and developing countries, at just 1.4 per cent
- … has the lowest public share of total healthcare spending among developed and developing countries, at just 33 per cent
- … has the most profitable national health insurance in the world – Medishield, etc
Financial stress due to Medisave?
– the financial stress may not just be on Singaporeans and their family members when they fall ill, but also on the hundreds of thousands of people who at some point in their working lives may have difficulty in paying their Medisave contributions to renew their vocational or business licence.
Singaporeans abroad for years also kenna?
And the stress may also be on Singaporeans living abroad as well – please read the article “Medisave – pay up or be charged?” (theonlinecitizen, July 28, 2010)
– “Several Singaporeans living overseas and in Singapore have contacted The Online Citizen to tell us that they have received letters from the CPF Board asking them to pay their CPF Medisave arrears, incurred many years ago”.