First introduced in 2000, the CHAS card was meant to help the elderly and disabled with their healthcare costs.
But over the years, the government, realising that we ALL need help, has tried to cover more Singaporeans with this healthcare assistance scheme by broadening the qualifying criteria.
Hence, the CHAS Green Card was born. Otherwise known as the “CHAS Card for middle class Singaporeans”, it has no minimum income requirement and every Singapore Citizen is technically eligible. However, your household still needs to submit an application if you want the card. The idea is that Crazy Rich Asians would be discouraged from applying because of the hassle of getting their PAs to fill in the forms.
Are the benefits worth the hassle of applying for the card? Let’s find out.
What is the CHAS Card?
CHAS Card types and eligibility
How do I apply for a CHAS Card?
Green CHAS Card: Summary of benefits and subsidies
Blue & Orange CHAS Card: Benefits and subsidies
CHAS Card: List of health conditions
How do I use the CHAS Card at polyclinics and clinics?
Is the CHAS Card worth applying for?
1. What is the CHAS Card?
The Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) subsidises the cost of visits to participating GP clinics. You might have seen a few different colours of CHAS cards—these reflect the different subsidy tier the card owner is entitled to, based on their household income. For our elderly, Pioneer Generation (PG) and Merdeka Generation (MG) seniors get their own PG and MG cards.
On top of medical subsidies, those who have the CHAS Blue, Orange, Merdeka Generation and Pioneer Generation cards also get subsidies for visits to participating dental clinics.
2. CHAS Card types and eligibility
Eligibility for CHAS cards depends on your monthly household income (if your household has an income) or the annual value of your home (if your household has no income).
Household monthly income per person
$1,200 and below
Annual value of home
$13,000 and below
Those who fall under the Merdeka Generation and Pioneer Generation don’t get a coloured card. Instead, they get their own Merdeka Generation and Pioneer Generation cards that give them special subsidies at CHAS clinics.
In addition, those who have a Public Assistance Card also receive full subsidies for treatment of all conditions covered under CHAS.
3. How do I apply for a CHAS Card?
You can apply for your CHAS Card for yourself and on behalf of your household members. It’s a simple process—all you need to do is log in with your Singpass and have the names, NRIC/birth certificate/FIN numbers and contact numbers of all your household members at hand.
After you submit your application, you should hear back on the outcome from the folks at CHAS within 15 working days. You can set your preferred notification method, such as SMS, to get notified when your application is approved. Regardless, you and your household members will also receive snail mail with the application outcome and your physical CHAS cards.
To check on the outcome of your application, you can log in to the CHAS online application e-service and select “View Application”.
4. Green CHAS Card: Summary of benefits and subsidies
Here’s a summary of the subsidies that CHAS Green Card holders can enjoy.
CHAS Green Card subsidies
Selected chronic conditions—simple (a single chronic condition)
Up to $28 subsidy per visit, capped at $112 per year
Selected chronic conditions—complex (multiple chronic conditions, or a single chronic condition with 1 or more complications)
Up to $40 subsidy per visit, capped at $160 per year
Selected dental services
Recommended health screening under Screen For Life programme
Fixed fee of $5 for eligible Singaporeans
Singapore Citizens who meet the criteria for vaccination under the National Childhood Immunisation Schedule (NCIS) and National Adult Immunisation Schedule (NAIS) are eligible for subsidies for nationally-recommended vaccinations
Childhood Developmental Screening
All Singaporean children (0 to 6 years) attending Childhood Development Screening according to recommended touchpoints under local guidelines will be eligible for subsidies
As you can see, CHAS Green Card holders, being in the wealthiest tier of cardholders, do not get subsidies for common illnesses or dental services.
5. Blue and Orange CHAS Card: Benefits and subsidies
Both CHAS Blue and Orange cards are for lower income households, and unlike CHAS Green Card holders, they receive subsidies in all the categories, including common illnesses and selected dental services.
Compared to the CHAS Green Card, the subsidy amounts are also more generous for both cards. with the CHAS Blue Card receiving the most generous subsidies as it is for the lowest income tier.
That said, none of the three cards (Green, Orange or Blue) is as generous as the Merdeka Generation and Pioneer Generation Cards. The Pioneer Generation receives the most generous subsidies of all, with Screen For Life health screenings being free.
6. CHAS Card: List of health conditions
Wondering whether that weird rash qualifies for a subsidy? Depends on which card you have.
All of the illnesses in the below table are covered by the CHAS Orange, Blue, Merdeka Generation and Pioneer Generation cards.
On the other hand, CHAS Green Card holders cannot get subsidies for common illnesses. They only get subsidised for chronic conditions.
Covered by CHAS Green Card?
Cough, cold, flu
Skin infection and rashes
Urinary tract infection
Anxiety (only claimable at selected clinics)
Benign prostatic hyperplasia
Bipolar disorder (only claimable at selected clinics)
Chronic Hepatitis B
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Diabetes mellitus (including pre-diabetes)
Hypertension (high blood pressure)
Ischaemic heart disease
Lipid disorders (eg. high cholesterol)
Major depression (only claimable at selected clinics)
Chronic kidney disease (nephritis/nephrosis)
Schizophrenia (only claimable at selected clinics)
The above list is non-exhaustive. If you have a condition that’s not on the list, your best bet would be to phone a CHAS GP clinic for advice.
In addition to the above table of conditions, CHAS Blue, Orange, Merdeka Generation and Pioneer Generation Card holders also get subsidised dental services at participating dental clinics, including up to two consultations/cleaning sessions per year.
7. How do I use the CHAS Card at polyclinics and clinics?
CHAS Cards cannot be used at polyclinics, the logic being that those are already subsidised. They can only be used at participating private clinics.
CHAS Green Cards can only be used at participating GP clinics, while all the other CHAS Cards can be used at participating GP clinics and dental clinics.
To check if you can use your CHAS subsidies at a clinic, check the full list of participating CHAS clinics before your visit.
Using the CHAS card at a clinic is simple. All you have to do is show your CHAS card at the clinic! And now, you don’t even need the physical card to get its subsidies. Any Singaporean aged 15 years and above eligible for CHAS can just pop over to their Singpass mobile app and use their digital CHAS card at any CHAS clinic.
8. Is the CHAS Card worth applying for?
Absolutely. If you don’t already have one, just go for it. It’s really easy to apply for online, and each household only needs to have one person apply for everyone. If you have nice and helpful household members, the effort on your part could be zero!
Once you have it, the CHAS Card is a nifty little thing to have in your wallet for when you need to see a GP but don’t want to spend hours queuing at a polyclinic just to save a bit of money. CHAS Green Card holders might not be able to use their card for common ailments or dental visits, but for those suffering from chronic conditions, the card offers the chance to see a private doctor at a discount.
If you can afford it, getting an Integrated Shield Plan (IP) will boost your healthcare coverage even further. Browse health insurance plans on MoneySmart to find one that suits your needs.
Found this article useful? Share it with anyone you know who’d appreciate medical/dental subsidies (basically, everyone)!
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Original article: CHAS Card – Is The Updated Green CHAS Card Worth Getting? (May 2023).
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