Why some Pioneers are unhappy. Lack of clarity Delink Chas cards from Pioneer cards.
Medical costs have gone up and so the government introduced the community health assist scheme (CHAS) for the lower and lower middle income group. Based on family income such Singaporeans are given an orange or a blue Chas card, blue more subsidy than orange.. Those carrying Chas cards are given a discount each time they visit their family doctor especially for chronic diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure. There are conditions attached depending on whether the case is simple or complex. So a blue Chas holder with say a simple one condition illness like high blood pressure can get an $80 subsidy per visit with a limit of $320 a year. Thus with 4 visits he would have used up his amount for the year. But it was still helpful for many. Complex cases get more subsidy and higher limit ,$120 per visit and $480 per year. My previous posting had a chart showing more details.
Many Chas holders belong to the Pioneer generation and there was full of high expectation on 1st September for this group because they were told of the benefits they are going to get when they receive the Pioneer card. It was all over the media and TV. So many postponed their clinic appointments to September to take advantage of the Pioneer card. Many clinics were packed on that September day with many pioneer generation patients. Pioneer card holders have higher subsidy per visit and higher limit of use per year than Chas card holders.
Then came the disappointment. On 1st September many pioneers have their high expectations dampened when they discovered that the value of the Pioneer card was not what they had expected? These are the pioneers who needed the benefits most. So when they were told they only have $40 and some $60 left in the pioneer cards it was a shock to them. How is this possible? It was just given to them.
The answer lie in the link between the Chas card and the Pioneer card when come to implementation. Many were told that they have not much left because they had used up part of the pioneer card subsidy when using their blue or orange Chas cards before September.
But linking the two is not correct.
There is a fundamental difference between the two cards.
The Chas card is a means tested card ie given based on family income.
The Pioneer cards are not means tested cards but given free to those born on or before 31 December 1949 to THANK pioneers for their contribution to the nation.
So they are different cards with different objectives. Linking the two is poor judgement. It is like comparing apple and orange.
The problem could have been solved if the pioneer card was given end of the year after the old Chas cards have expired. But they were too eager.
A good intention can go bad if implementation is not carefully thought through.