New Procurement Subsidy Scheme for Patients with Blood Diseases from 1st January 2019

Top Quote Patients (Singaporeans and Permanent Residents) seeking treatment in Singapore can now get sustainable financial support. End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) February 08, 2019 - Every day, six Singaporeans are diagnosed with blood diseases, like Leukaemia or Lymphoma, that may require a bone marrow/stem cell transplant. The Bone Marrow Donor Programme (BMDP) is Singapore’s only register of volunteer bone marrow donors and provides search services for hospitals to find a matching bone marrow donor from their local register and if necessary, extend this search around the world in order to find a matching donor for their patients. It is often the last chance of survival for many patients.

    Once a potential donor with similar Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) as the patient is identified in the database, a Verification Typing is initiated to confirm the typing of the donor’s HLA. This is to ensure that this donor is indeed a perfect match and sometimes the doctor may request to activate multiple donors especially if the initial search results show a number of similar matches. This enables the doctor to select the best options for the patient.

    At present, the cost involved in procurement of bone marrow or blood stem cells (also known as the HPC product) is excluded from Medisave and MediShield. Such costs can go up to $61,000 if the HPC products are procured from overseas. According to The Straits Times report in January 2018, only patients who are going for outpatient bone marrow transplants to treat myeloma, which typically involves autologous stem cell transplantation, are allowed to use up to $2,800 of their Medisave with effect from 1st July 2017. For outpatient stem cell transplants, only the day surgery to insert a catheter is covered by insurance. However, since the amount is less than the annual deductible, the patient is unlikely to get any coverage. Currently, the BMDP subsidises each patient (Singaporean/Permanent Residents) for the first Verification Typing.

    Further to the report, since January 2018, a panel was set up to review cheaper options for bone marrow transplants and if MediShield Life should cover outpatient treatment. Many have opted to stay in hospital for costlier treatment as the insurance covers only inpatient bone marrow transplants. The Ministry of Health (MOH) had made tweaks to the rules and regulations of MediShield Life deductibles to ensure the better provision of healthcare but did not make any changes to insurance coverage. The MediShield Life Council has since considered including coverage for outpatient treatment as it becomes a more established and safer substitute for inpatient cancer treatment.

    In view of providing sustainable financial support to patients, a review has been conducted by The BMDP and a new scheme, the HPC Procurement Subsidy Scheme was introduced on 1st January 2019. Patients (Singaporeans and Permanent Residents) seeking treatment in Singapore are eligible for this subsidy scheme.

    There are 3 tiers of the HPC Procurement Subsidy Scheme available for patients.

    Tier 1: HPC Procurement Subsidy – A lump sum will be provided to patients to set off against the HPC product cost. This is applicable for patients seeking treatment in both private and public hospitals.

    Tier 2: Additional HPC Procurement Subsidy – In addition to Tier 1, patients are entitled to Tier 2 subsidy, which subsidises up to 65% of the HPC product cost. Tier 2 subsidy is provided according to Ward Classes, i.e. the same basis that governs patient subsidies in public hospitals in Singapore. This is only applicable for patients seeking treatment in public hospitals.

    Tier 3: Supplementary HPC Procurement Subsidy – This subsidy is for needy patients staying in subsidised wards and can cover up to 100% of HPC product cost, subject to recommendation put forth by an accredited Medical Social Worker. This is only applicable for patients seeking treatment in public hospitals.

    In addition, The BMDP will also introduce Verification Typing Subsidy to provide full funding of two additional Verification Typing to needy patients staying in Ward Class B2 and C.

    The BMDP is committed to ensure that their patient funding continues to provide lifesaving financial support to patients in Singapore who need financial assistance with the costs associated with their bone marrow/stem cell transplants. More than 70 types of blood diseases, which is not a lifestyle disease and can strike anyone at any time. A designated Patient Subsidy Fund will be set up for this purpose to allay treatment costs.

    About the Bone Marrow Donor Programme
    The Bone Marrow Donor Programme was established in 1993 to save lives. It is a non-profit organisation responsible for building and managing Singapore’s only register of volunteer donors who are willing to donate their bone marrow and help those who need a transplant to survive. Its mission is to provide hope for patients with leukaemia, lymphoma and other blood-related diseases by finding them an unrelated matching bone marrow donor, their last hope of survival.

    For more information about the Bone Marrow Donor Programme, please visit

    Issued on behalf of the Bone Marrow Donor Programme by Affluence PR Pte Ltd.
    For media enquiries, please contact:
    Melody Chong
    melody ( @ ) affluencepr dot com
    +65 9828 7900

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