Public member complains $200 Medisave top-up not enough but Masagos says not to burden future generations

Government feedback and engagement agency REACH yesterday (24 Mar) said that more than 80 per cent of Singaporeans supported the Merdeka Generation Package announced in this year’s Budget.

This was the results from the Budget 2019 Feedback Exercise, which saw 4,500 Singaporeans responding to REACH’s survey, it revealed.

REACH said it engaged 2,601 of these respondents through face-to-face meets at mobile feedback booths, known as Listening Points, and another 1,449 through a telephone poll. The rest gave feedback through dialogues, online feedback and messaging apps.

The Merdeka Generation Package was supported by 85 per cent of respondents from the telephone poll, and 83 per cent of those at Listening Points, all well above 80 per cent.

While the respondents agreed that the enhancement of Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) subsidies would help more Singaporeans cope with their healthcare expenses, some reiterated the need for healthcare costs to be kept affordable in the long term.

According to the government website Merdekageneration.sg, the Merdeka package is meant for Singaporeans born in the 50s.

“The Merdeka Generation Package is introduced by the Government to honour and thank our Merdeka Generation for their contributions. They have shaped Singapore to the nation it is today,” the website said.

“The Merdeka Generation Package will benefit about 500,000 Singaporeans. It will support the Merdeka Generation in their silver years, as they age actively and purposefully.”

The announcement of the Merdeka package at this year’s budget coincidentally came at a time when PM Lee announced few months ago (Nov 2018) that the Singapore general election may also be held in this year.

Benefits of the Merdeka package for the 500,000 people include:

  1. A one-off $100 top-up for their PAssion Silver Card
  2. $200 MediSave top-up every July for 5 years only, from 2019 to 2023
  3. Special CHAS subsidies at CHAS GP and dental clinics
  4. $1,500 participation incentive when sign up for CareShield Life when it becomes available from 2021
  5. 5% subsidy for annual MediShield Life premiums, increasing to 10% after 75 years old

In an engagement session organized by People’s Association held at the Grassroots’ Club in Ang Mo Kio yesterday (24 Mar), Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli took questions from members of the Muslim community.

Someone in the audience then asked how the $200 annual Medisave top-up from 2019 to 2023 might be adequate for those in the Merdeka Generation.

Instead of replying to the question directly, Minister Masagos urged the Muslim community to relook its personal insurance so as to ensure that they are adequately covered but cautioned them not to overpurchase policies.

He also stressed the importance of staying active, both in body and mind, to prevent burdening future generations with medical needs.