Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong (Hougang): Mr Chairman, COVID-19 has impacted our mental health too. An IMH study last year found that 13% of the participants reported symptoms of increased anxiety and depression. But 81.8% of participants said that they will be willing to seek professional help. I am therefore concerned that the current MediSave cap is insufficient for low-income individuals that may wish to seek help but may not be able to afford it
Currently, only mental illnesses listed under the 20 chronic diseases under the Chronic Disease Management Programme, entitle a patient to pay using his MediSave account. Patients with complex chronic mental conditions will be able to use up to $700 of Medisave per patient yearly, while other patients will we be able to use up to $500 of their MediSave per patient yearly for treatments. I like to ask MOH to review the current MediSave cap of $700 allowed for chronic mental illnesses.
To allow greater accessibility to psychiatric care in the community, the cap can be reviewed considering that on average, consultation fees in the private sector is over $100 per session, excluding the course of medication. Increasing the amount allowable under MediSave may also allow patients more flexibility to consider seeking consultation with doctors in private hospitals as the wait time may be too long in structured hospitals. Further as part of the new focus on mental wellness, I would like to ask that we allow MediSave payments for consultation with psychologist, which I understand it is currently not possible. We can perhaps, set a cap of a maximum number of sessions per year, for example, up to five.
9 March 2022
Ministry of Health