What is Medifund?
Medifund is an endowment fund set up by the Government as a safety net to help poor and indigent Singaporeans pay for their medical care.
Medifund is meant to be a help of last resort for patients who, despite heavy Government subsidies, Medisave and MediShield, are unable to pay for their medical expenses. Singaporean patients receiving inpatient treatment in B2 or C Class wards or subsidised outpatient treatment in the public hospitals may apply for help from Medifund. With effect from 1 April 2001, the scheme has been extended to Voluntary Welfare Organisation-run residential step-down care facilities.

How to claim from Medifund?
Singaporeans who are in financial difficulties can approach the Medical Social Worker in the hospitals for assistance. The Medical social Worker manages various assistance schemes such as Medifund to help patients in financial difficulties pay their medical bills. They will assess your circumstances and recommend the appropriate financial assistance. Applications for Medifund can also be made through the Medical Social Worker.
How much help can i get from Medifund?

Medifund assistance is for Singaporean patients who are facing financial hardship. It is not an entitlement. Patients have to fulfil certain income criteria before their applications can be approved. The amount of help from Medifund will depend on individual circumstances and the patient's financial background. The Hospital Medifund Committee will consider the application.

Medifund is also a funding of last resort. This means that the applicant must exhaust all other funds (e.g. Medisave) first before the balance is being considered for Medifund.


How much help can a patient in a Class B2 ward and a patient in a Class C ward get?
A Class B2 ward patient will be helped up to only 60% of the bill. This is to ensure that the amount of financial help given to a Class B2 ward patient is equivalent to that of a Class C ward patient for the same medical treatment.
Response
Many Singaporeans have benefited from Medifund since its inception. In FY2001, about 157,200 Medifund applications were considered, 156,800 of which were approved. The amount of Medifund assistance amounted to S$27.2 million. Of this, 60.4% was given to assist Class B2/C inpatients, 38.7% to assist subsidised outpatients and the remaining 0.9% was used by the Voluntary Welfare organisations.

A list of hospitals and specialist centres and voluntary welfare organisations which provide Medifund is attached here:

· List of Hospitals and Specialist Centres
· List of Voluntary Welfare Organisations

Limitations:
  • No limitations to age, gender, race, religion
  • Limited to Singapore citizens only (permanent residents cannot apply for Medifund)
  • Limited to certain hospitals, specialist centres and voluntary welfare organisations
  • Limited to patients in Class B2 and C wards
  • Available to all medical and healthcare services (including day surgery, hospitalisation etc.) EXCEPT respite care and delivery

Make linkages to show how Singapore’s management of social issues reveals good governance/sound policies.

Medifund is aimed at helping to lower the financial burden of less well-to-do families who cannot afford bills for medical or healthcare services even with the aid of Medisave and Medishield. It only has limitations to the amount of subsidisation according to the type of ward the patient is staying in and the type of healthcare service received. Medifund can only applied by patients in the heavily subsidised Class B2 and C wards, and can be used for all healthcare services (including day surgery, hospitalisation etc.) except delivery and respite care. Medifund is also not limited to race or religion, thus making it fair for all Singapore citizens who meet the above criteria to benefit from. In addition to its fair treatment and ‘no-limitation’ policy to all races and religions, Medifund also gives more support to elderly Singaporeans with no Medisave or who did not accumulate enough Medisave because the Scheme was implemented too late for them. The above shows that such a healthcare policy implemented by the Singapore government provides good welfare for all Singaporean citizens, regardless of gender, race, religion or age, thus making it a sound and fair policy, due to its equal racial treatment and consideration for Singapore’s ageing population.