Dear Editors

I refer to the article “Steps to boost transparency of Chas bills” (Straits Times, May 15). It states that “The money went to subsidies for some 685,000 Singaporeans. Some 1.3 million Singaporeans are now eligible for Chas, and there are about 1,650 Chas GP and dental clinics.”

I was somewhat puzzled by the above statistics, as it would appear that about 615,000 (1.3 million – 685,000) Singaporeans with Chas cards did not go to see a medical or dental clinic at all in the whole of last year. Since as I understand it – the patient’s net bill after the Chas subsidy at a private clinic may be even lower than at a polyclinic – the figure seemed even more puzzling.

Well, the answer may lie in the fact that Chas Orange card holders do not get any subsidy at all for “common illnesses (e..g. cough and cold)”. For dental care – there is no subsidy for 11 (the most common) out of the 19 dental procedures for Chas orange card holders.

In this connection, what percentage of Chas cards are orange ones? About 40 per cent – in a Parliamentary reply – “290,000 Blue and 170,000 Orange CHAS cards were issued in 2015, while 400,000 Blue and 240,000 Orange cards were issued in 2016”?

“For pioneers who get the highest subsidy, Chas pays up to $28.50 when they see a GP for common problems, and as much as $135 for complex chronic ailments.”

Leong Sze Hian

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