1. Topic and Government Agency in charge
Healthcare. Government agencies in charge: Health Promotion Board (HPB) and Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS).
2. Background information
Singapore is facing an ageing population crisis that will only be more apparent in the comingyears. The dependency ratio continues to decrease from 7.2 in 2010 to 7.0 in 2011
. By 2020,the number of Singaporeans aged 50 and over (“Seniors”) is projected to reach 1,992,000
.With healthcare costs expected to increase, there is an urgent need to build a comprehensivehealthcare framework in order to support the growing number of Seniors and managehealthcare costs.
2.1. Existing Policies in Place:
While the existing initiative, People Association’s
encourages active ageing, there is a lack of incentives for Seniors to take partin the many activities or interest groups on a consistent basis. Another existing policy,
Community Health Assistance Scheme (CHAS),
subsidizes the primary healthcare costs of the Seniors, but does not encourage Seniors to take ownership of their own health. Therefore,a two-pronged approach is needed to address each policy’s gap by not only providingfinancial incentives but also encouraging Seniors to proactively take charge of their healthand well-being.
3. Key Objectives and Issues
Our policy’s key objective is to promote healthy ageing in Seniors by enhancing theirquality of life, helping them cope with rising medical costs and instilling independence.
From this, the key issues that arise are firstly, how to encourage a healthy lifestyle? Secondly,how to strengthen the social safety net for Seniors in addition to the existing health policies(i.e., MediShield and MediSave)? Lastly, can Seniors play an active role in propelling the programme forward, achieving the sustainability goal of “By the Seniors, for the Seniors”?
4. Recommendations & Rationales - LifeMed
The existing PA’s “Wellness Programme
” (Budget 2009 and 2011
) maintains an emphasison active aging by encouraging seniors to participate activities such as volunteerism, lifelonglearning, inter-generational programs, and fitness activities. To improve on this existing programme and also achieve the above stated key objectives, an overarching health policywill be introduced. This policy will introduce a fund, LifeMed, that is sustained through “LifeCredits” given for participation in social activities. In addition, the policy encourages group participation by granting additional “Credits” when seniors participate in groups. The creditsaccumulated can then be used to subsidize medical expenses.An increase in involvement in community activity by the Seniors will prevent or delay theonset of chronic disease and increase healthy life expectancy level, and in turn, manage the burden of increasing healthcare costs. This policy is therefore centered on promoting ahealthy and active way of life. Succinctly put, our policy aims to bridge the objectives of MCYS and HPB by amalgamating the benefits of the Wellness Programme and CHAS whiletackling the deficits of each respective policy.
All Singaporean or Permanent ResidentSeniors above the age of 50 will be in this policy unless they choose to opt out.
5. Mechanism/ Implementation of LifeMed:
The mechanism behind LifeMed will be illustrated through the following example: Senior A(“A”) decides to participate in a cooking class at a community centre (CC). A will need