SINGAPORE, 31 AUGUST 2016 – NTUC Income ("Income") today announced the launch of a fixed value co-pay card by Income OrangeAid, the insurer’s community development and involvement arm.
Named the Income OrangeAid MediCard (MediCard), it is the first by an insurer in Singapore and aims to further reduce treatment cost for lower-income families. The MediCard costs $10 and pays up to $30 for common illnesses1 at participating general practitioner (GP) clinics. For now, only those with the Blue Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) cards are able to use the MediCard2. The amount of $30 will apply on top of the $18.50 subsidy already provided under the Blue CHAS tier. The MediCard is for one-time use only and is not valid at polyclinics.
"The MediCard is part of Income’s continuous effort to support the lower-income community in Singapore. It dovetails our mandate to make insurance accessible to all in Singapore, including the unserved and underserved. With the MediCard, lower-income families will now find the cost of treatment at participating GPs near their homes even lower. Such accessibility is particularly significant to those who do not live near a polyclinic. We understand that every dollar counts for these families. As such, we are retailing the MediCards at FairPrice Shops which cater to the budget conscious and are partnering with GP clinics near their vicinity to provide greater convenience and accessibility to those in need," said Mr Ken Ng, Income’s Chief Executive.
For a start, the public can buy MediCards from FairPrice Shops located at Circuit Road and Eunos Crescent. They will also be made available at other FairPrice Shops when more open at new locations. The MediCards can also be bought over the counter at Income branches island-wide, with the exception of Income@Raffles. The MediCards are valid for two years and will expire in December 2018.
The co-pay component of the MediCard is designed to discourage overconsumption and to instil a greater sense of accountability amongst beneficiaries and to mitigate rising healthcare cost.
To mark the launch of the MediCard, Mr Ng had earlier led a card donation drive amongst Income employees which saw over 550 MediCards pledged. MacPherson Member of Parliament Tin Pei Ling, alongside Mr Ng and Income staff, will be distributing 400 of these cards to eligible MacPherson residents this evening. The remaining donated cards will be given out to eligible Income OrangeAid beneficiaries such as the Child and Parent Learning Experience programme conducted by the Bartley Community Care Services.
"The Income OrangeAid MediCard supports community needs in a tangible way. I believe residents who benefit from this initiative will appreciate the financial relief to their medical expenses when they visit the partnering GPs within the neighbourhood. I appreciate the tremendous effort put in by Income staff who will be knocking on the doors of over 400 residents this evening, distributing the MediCards and more importantly, explaining the benefits and raising more informed awareness about the MediCard to eligible residents. We surely can do with more of such community spirit in Singapore," said Ms Tin Pei Ling, Member of Parliament for MacPherson.
Currently, 20 GP clinics3 have come on board to accept the use of MediCards. Income will continue to collaborate with MHC Asia to progressively increase the number of participating clinics, recruiting especially those who are located nearby FairPrice Shops where the MediCards are being sold.
"MHC has always been actively supporting those in need with livelihood projects and free education within Asia. We are thankful for this opportunity to support the roll-out of the Income OrangeAid MediCard scheme with our wide network of partner clinics in Singapore. I believe it is a meaningful cause, which more general practitioners could participate in, to support the lower-income community in Singapore," said Dr Low Lee Yong, CEO & Founder, MHC Asia Group.
The MediCard dovetails Income’s role as a NTUC Social Enterprise to tackle growing concerns about cost of living, accessibility and affordability in Singapore. Collectively, NTUC Social Enterprises are committed to ‘All for Good’ and have embarked on diverse initiatives to support the marginalised community in Singapore. For example, NTUC First Campus’ My First Skool (MFS) offers quality pre-school education to children regardless of their families’ circumstances and provides financial assistance to low-income families and development programmes to children with learning delays so that they are empowered to learn, grow and be future ready. NTUC Foodfare’s Rice Garden is also offering Comcare cardholders nutritious rice meals at $1.50. There are currently 27 Rice Garden stalls across Singapore, with one such stall located at Block 82 Macpherson Lane.
Established in 2010, OrangeAid champions marginalised children and youth in Singapore. Under this initiative, Income commits 1% of its annual insurance operating profits to fund OrangeAid programmes. To date, OrangeAid has disbursed more than $4 million to over 5,000 children and youth through strategic community partnerships and programmes, and has touched 140,000 lives via health and life insurance coverage.