Don’t forget citizen households with PRs: Reader
The New Paper
Friday, Apr 27, 2012
I refer to the revised health-care subsidy rates for permanent residents (The New Paper, April, 12).
With the reduction in the subsidy for ClassC to 55 per cent, PRs with an average monthly income of $3,200 and below will pay 2.25 times more than citizens.
The burden of this increase may fall on the shoulders of citizens with PR spouses or dependants.
How many citizen households have PR spouses or dependants? How many citizen households have PRs whose applications for citizenship were rejected last year?
The reduction to 55 per cent for Community-based and Home-based services, for PRs with per capita monthly income of $0 to $600, may be an even heavier burden for lower-income citizen households with PRs.
How can a household of say, four members, with combined total monthly income of $2,400 or less, or a two-member household with income of $1,200 or less, afford to pay 2.25 times more than citizens?
In this connection, how many of the 10thpercentile of households at $1,200 monthly income from work, excluding employer CPF contributions, among citizen-headed non-retiree households in 2011, have PRs in the household?
According to the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) website, the total bill at the 95th percentile in Class C at public hospitals like the National University Hospital is $11,081.
With the revision for PRs, it means that PRs may have to pay $24,932 ($11,081 times 2.25) or more at the 95th percentile.
As the subsidy is gradually reduced for higher income PRs to 32.5 per cent for monthly income of $5,201 and above, this 95th percentile figure becomes 3.375 times more at $37,398.
This is not a small sum to pay for hospitalisation in the lowest Class C ward in Singapore.
While we apply the general principle that PRs should pay more than citizens, we should also bear in mind the financial stress implications, particularly for lower-income citizen households with PRs.
LEONG SZE HIAN
This article was first published in The New Paper.