Subsidy is “NA” for Chas Orange?

By SY Lee and Leong Sze Hian

We refer to the articles “Pioneers to get medical subsidies” and “Retiree’s medication bill cut by $10 each trip” (Sunday Times, May 18).

Both articles state how the pioneer generation card would entitle senior citizens to significant subsidies when they need treatment for the common cold or chronic ailments as well as selected dental treatments and health screening.

“N.A.” for Chas Orange?

In our view, the most important information in the article which needs to be highlighted is the table which showed “Not applicable” for Chas subsidies – Common illnesses (eg. cough and cold) – Chas Orange $1,101 to $1,800 Household monthly income per person – $13,001 to $21,000 Annual value of residence (only for households with no income).

CHAS subsidies

What this means is that those with the Chas Orange card will not be getting any subsidy when they visit the more than 1,000 private clinics under the scheme.

Why media never ever highlight this?

I believe most people may not be aware of this – visiting the clinics for common illnesses apart from the list of 15 approved chronic illnesses – thinking that they will be paying less than normal non-Chas patients.

Instead of “Not applicable” – wouldn’t it be clearer if it is shown as “No subsidy”?

700,000 eligible but only 400,000 have applied?

When the Chas was launched a few years ago, I believe it was announced that about 700,000 Singaporeans would be eligible.

So, why is it that as of end 2013 – only more than 400,000 have gotten the Chas card.

What proportion of these 400,000 card holders are Chas Orange ones?

Finally, since the income eligibility criteria was subsequently increased – even prior to the age eligibility removal effective 1 January 2014 – shouldn’t the number eligible be much more than the 700,000 projected originally?