The most well-known healthcare policy in Singaopore is none other than the '3M' policy – Medisave (1984), Medishield (1990) and Medifund (1993).


Medisave, introduced in April 1984, is a national medical savings scheme which helps individuals put aside part of their income into their Medisave Accounts to meet their future personal or immediate family's hospitalization, day surgery and certain outpatient expenses.

Under the scheme, every employee contributes 6.5-9% (depending on age group) of his monthly salary to a personal Medisave account. The savings can be withdrawn to pay the hospital bills of the account holder and his immediate family members.


MediShield is a low cost catastrophic illness insurance scheme. Introduced in 1990, the government designed MediShield to help members meet medical expenses from major illnesses, which could not be sufficiently covered by their Medisave balance. MediShield operates on a co-payment and deductible system to avoid problems associated with first-dollar, comprehensive insurance.

Premiums for MediShield can be paid by Medisave. A very large medical bill can easily wipe out your Medisave balance, as it is only a savings account. For this reason, you are advised to take up MediShield or an appropriate private Integrated Shield Plan in order to stretch your Medisave dollars. Your co-payment and deductibles can also be paid using Medisave or cash.

MediShield will cover up to 80% of your large medical bill at the Class B2/C level.


Medifund is an endowment fund set up by the Government to help needy Singaporeans who are unable to pay for their medical expenses. Medifund acts as a safety net for those who cannot afford the subsidised bill charges, despite Medisave and MediShield coverage. Set up in April 1993 with an initial capital of S$200 million, the Government will inject capital into the fund when budget surpluses are available. The Government utilises the interest income from the capital sum, which stands at S$1.66 billion (FY 2008), to help needy patients who have exhausted all other means to pay their medical bills.

Above information adapted from: