Remember the days when we were young? When a trip to the doctor held promises of candies and perhaps an MC? But now, as parents, we realise that we would rather not fall sick. We learn the importance of taking care of our health. Medical bills aside, poor health also affects our ability to focus on what truly matters – our family, career, hobbies and so on.
Unfortunately, as parents, we are so caught up in tending to the needs of everyone around us that we often neglect ourselves. But this isn’t ideal. You may have heard of the oxygen mask theory and it’s true. We need our mask on before we can save anyone else. This oxygen mask comes in the form of self-care.
What Does Self-Care Really Mean?
Self-care is not only about making a trip to the spa or caring for our own physical or emotional well-being. It should also encompass other aspects in our lives such as actively building or safeguarding our financial security. This helps with our mental wellbeing, as it is reassuring to know that should unforeseen healthcare needs arise, finances do not become an additional source of unwanted stress. And MediSave makes that possible.
Did you know that MediSave is a fuss-free way of managing healthcare expenses for both you and your loved ones?
We interviewed three parents who have used MediSave to help them with their healthcare expenses. Read on to find out how you too can utilise your MediSave during times of need.
1. Vernece Low
Prior to having her first child, Vernece did not know much about MediSave. She only learnt more about it during her prenatal financial counselling session. She explains, “All along, my impression of MediSave was that it could only be used to cover illnesses. I was surprised to discover that the cost of delivery, follow-up doctor visits, and hospitalisation were all claimable from MediSave.”
Armed with this new knowledge, Vernece and her husband did more research on the MediSave amount claimable for delivery. “On top of that, we set aside additional cash for unforeseen circumstances,” she shares. “We felt safe with our plan and reviewed it periodically throughout my pregnancy.”
After delivery, Vernece had to extend their hospital stay as her son was diagnosed with neonatal jaundice. Her MediSave helped in covering her delivery and hospital charges, and did not disrupt their plan for confinement and postnatal massage. Furthermore, Vernece appreciated how simple the entire process was. “On the day of discharge, all we had to do was to fill up a form to use MediSave for the charges,” she says. “The charges would be deducted from my MediSave Account. Overall, it was smooth and fuss-free!” She added that it allowed her to focus on other priorities such as caring for her newborn and making confinement arrangements.
From her experience, Vernece stresses the importance of planning ahead, and in planning your finances together as a couple. “Starting early is key as it gives you more time to uncover the options that MediSave provides and make decisions that are most suited for you,” she explains. “My husband and I always take time to sit down each year and discuss our financial situation, mainly to review, find out about the latest CPF information, and see how we can optimise our healthcare financial planning.”
2. Alison Liew
Since young, Alison has been passionate about improving his financial literacy to achieve financial independence before he turns 40. Ever since he started working, Alison has been making voluntary cash top-ups to his MediSave Account, which gives 4% interest per annum. It also allows him to qualify for tax relief.
Taking early steps to safeguard his healthcare expenses turned out to be a wise decision for Alison. Having suffered from prolonged sore throat for over a decade, Alison was advised to have his tonsil removed. He went on and did a tonsillectomy surgery earlier in January this year at the Outram Community Hospital.
As a subsidised patient, his hospital bill amounted to approximately $1,700. “Before the procedure, I compared the cost of the surgery at a private hospital against that of a public hospital,” Alison shares. “I was shocked that the price difference at a private hospital cost six times more!” Feeling thankful that his MediSave covered the bulk of his subsidised treatment fees, he elected to pay the maximum permissible using his MediSave with the remaining paid in cash.
Alison also views topping up his Medisave as killing two birds with one stone. In addition to having his healthcare expenses taken care of, it also entitles him to qualify for tax relief. As a couple, Alison and his wife have been making regular contributions to their MediSave. He mentions that they have also taken steps to safeguard their family’s health expenses using MediSave. “I have been using my child’s ang bao (gift of money packed into a red packet) money to top up her MediSave. Since the first $60,000 CPF balances earn an additional 1%, it means funds in her MediSave earn a risk-free interest of up to 5% p.a.”
3. Mohd Yazid bin Abdul Razak
Towards the end of January, Mr. Yazid, 53, met with an accident. He was riding his motorcycle on his way home when a car hit him. He was rushed to Tan Tock Seng hospital and had to undergo an MRI scan that cost him about $800. “I was relieved that I could use my MediSave to cover part of this cost,” he says. “I didn’t have to worry about my finances as I could rely on my MediSave.” Luckily, Mr Yazid’s injuries were not too severe.
Where the future is concerned, Mr. Yazid is worried about chronic illnesses and old age. He expresses that he plans to keep himself healthy.
Apart from himself, he is also concerned about his elderly parents who are in their 70s and have medical conditions. His father suffers from diabetes and his mother had undergone a bypass surgery. Mr. Yazid has worked out a system with his sister. In the event that their parents incur any healthcare costs, his sister’s MediSave account would serve as the default source of funds. They would tap on Mr. Yazid’s MediSave should there be a need for more money. “I’m assured that our MediSave accounts can cover healthcare expenses for my parents and loved ones,” he asserts. “If anything happens to me or my wife, my son can also use his MediSave for us too, just like what I am doing for my parents now.”
Mr. Yazid is comforted that he can continue to rely on his CPF as a safety net for himself and his loved ones. He expressed the need to do forward planning and ensure he has sufficient for retirement, especially while he’s still working.
As a couple, Mr. Yazid and his wife work out their budget on a monthly basis. Whenever he receives his salary, they set aside an amount for any expected expenses, and the rest goes towards their savings. The expenses are split into three groups — top priority expenses, emergency expenses, and other expenses that they regularly review.
Mr. Yazid suggests that parents make voluntary top-ups to their CPF if they can. His other advice for young parents? “Keep track of your finances. Take care of your health and body as well!”
Financial Planning Overcomes Stressors and Worries
As these profiles illustrate, using your MediSave Account can go a long way — whether for maternity expenses, hospitalisation or selected outpatient treatments for yourself or your loved ones. You might be surprised to learn how MediSave journeys with you throughout every phase of your life.
As we get older, besides taking steps to lead a healthy and active lifestyle, it is also important to be prepared for health issues that might arise. By planning ahead, you can take comfort in the fact that when such healthcare expenses arise, you can count on your MediSave Account to help cushion the expenses.
This also means that you can free headspace to pursue what makes you happy — like taking that family vacation, and to pursue your life’s passion.
Remember, health is your greatest wealth. And with your MediSave Account, and MediShield Life, you can be assured that you and your loved ones are protected for life, to live your best lives.
Your MediSave Account and MediShield Life have a big part to play in covering your healthcare expenses. You can tap on your MediSave for your own or your loved ones’ healthcare expenses over your lifetime, even after you retire. Regardless of your age or health condition, you can count on MediShield Life for lifelong protection against large medical bills. Get more coverage when you choose affordable and good subsidised treatment in public hospitals.
Visit cpf.gov.sg/BeReady to learn more and make use of available tools to start planning for your healthcare needs and retirement.