Since its independence from its neighbour, Malaysia, in 1965, Singapore has witnessed an economic miracle that lifted it out of poverty and transformed it into one of the most prosperous nations in the world. In an effort to reward those generations that were instrumental to the nation’s progress in its early years, the government has formulated the Pioneer Generation Package, a set of healthcare benefits that every member of Singapore’s “pioneer generation” is eligible for.
Who Are Pioneer Generation?
The Pioneer Generation Package is targeted at Singaporeans born on or before 31 December 1949. To be eligible, you should also have obtained citizenship on or before 31 December 1986. If you are unsure about your eligibility, you can easily confirm your status by keying in your NRIC number here.
Therefore, Pioneer Generation benefits do not apply to Singapore’s younger citizens. The pioneer generation scheme is not a benefit that you become automatically eligible for just because you reach a certain age. It is only meant for the approximately 450,000 citizens who meet the specified criteria.
What Healthcare Benefits and Concessions Do “Pioneers” Receive?
Eligible seniors get discounted medicines, subsidised treatment, and even direct cash assistance in certain circumstances. Below is a brief description of the major types of assistance that the pioneer seniors are entitled to.
Singapore has some of the best healthcare systems in SE Asia. Its social safety net is an especially shining part of this system. For instance, there are already various subsidies available at Specialist Outpatient Clinics for lower and middle-income households in Singapore. Additionally, polyclinics offer those aged 65 or more a 75% concession for certain subsidised services and subsidised medicines. In addition to this, Pioneer Generation receives another 50% subsidy for their outpatient care costs.
Subsidies are also available at participating GP and dental clinics under the Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS). Here are some further details and the dollar benefit amounts:
- Common illnesses – up to S$28.50
- Chronic conditions – Between S$360 and S$540 per year, depending upon the complexity
- Selected dental services – S$21 to S$266 per procedure
All Singapore citizens and permanent residents get health insurance coverage under the MediShield Life package. The premium for this insurance cover automatically paid from each individual’s Medisave account maintained by the Central Provident Fund. If you are interested in finding out more about how MediShield works, you can read our guide here.
Individuals who are eligible for the Pioneer Generation Package are entitled to a subsidy on the annual insurance premium that they are required to pay for MediShield Life coverage. This subsidy can range from 40% to 60% of the annual premium, depending on the age of the insured individual.
|Age||Pioneer Generation subsidies||MediShield Life premiums|
|Annual premium before subsidies||Annual premium with Pioneer Generation subsidies|
|66 – 80||40% - 54%||S$815 – S$1,175||S$489 – S$537|
|81 & above||54% - 60%||S$1,250 – S$1,530||S$566 – S$615|
Singaporeans are required to put a certain percentage of their monthly wages into a Medisave account. The accumulated sum can be used to meet expenses for hospitalisation, day surgery, and certain outpatient procedures for themselves and their immediate family members. However, seniors often face a situation where they are short of funds for their health-related expenses. For those Pioneers in need, the government provides assistance by by topping up their Medisave accounts by S$200 to S$800 every year.
|Year of birth||Annual Amount of Top-Up in Medisave Account|
|1934 or earlier||S$800|
Pioneer Generation Disability Assistance Scheme
Seniors often lose their mobility as they age. They may even have a problem carrying out everyday tasks like getting dressed or bathing. The Pioneer Generation Disability Assistance Scheme provides such individuals with lifelong cash assistance of S$100 every month.
Other Important Features Of the Pioneer Generation Package
Pioneer Generation Package provides a much-needed help to many of the nation’s older citizens. However, there is a certain amount of confusion regarding its functions and benefits. Here are a few points that Singaporeans should be aware of:
- Many people hold both a Health Assist card as well as a Pioneer Generation card. As the former offers a lower level of subsidies, seniors should only use their Pioneer Generation cards at medical clinic.
- While the utility of the Pioneer Generation Package is most obvious for outpatient care, it also indirectly provides hospitalisation benefits too. The beneficiaries get annual top-ups to their Medisave accounts and also get their MediShield Life premiums subsidised.
- All Pioneers are not eligible for subsidies at the specialist outpatient clinics of public hospitals. They have to first be classified by the clinic as subsidised patients.
Pioneer Generation Taskforce has been an important contributor to the package’s success
Many elderlies often remain unaware of the various government benefits they are entitled to. In an attempt to overcome this problem, the government established the Pioneer Generation Taskforce, a body that has been responsible for training more than 3,000 volunteers to spread awareness about the Pioneer Generation Package. The efforts of the taskforce have met with great success with its ambassadors visiting about 300,000 pioneers and explaining the details of the scheme to them.
An appropriate way to reward the nation’s pioneers
The Pioneer Generation Package provides the elderly with the facilities that they need the most – subsidised medical care and health-related assistance. With healthcare costs being so high, it is reassuring for seniors to know that they are entitled to financial assistance in their sunset years.