I Introduction After the separation from Malaysia in 1965, abig part of Singapore’s rapid development to its current state is due to thePioneers’ contribution and perseverance in making Singapore a successful andwell-developed country. Introduced in 2014, the Pioneer Generation Package(PGP) is the result of the Government’s gratitude and attempt to honour thePioneers for their contribution to the country. The Package consists ofhealthcare and social support schemes to aid the aging Pioneers in reducingburdens and concerns on healthcare. It covers approximately four hundred andfifty thousand Singaporeans over a twenty-year period. Singaporeans citizensonly qualify if they are born before 1950, aged 65 and above in 2014, andobtained citizenship before 1987. (Government of Singapore) (Ministry of Health, 2017) (Ministry of Finance, 2017) The purpose of thisreport is to evaluate the Pioneer Generation Package and its effectiveness inproviding affordable healthcare to the Pioneers. II Overview of the Pioneer Generation PackagePGP helps Pioneers with their healthcarecosts for life.
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Pioneers have subsidies on outpatient care such as additionalfifty percent off on subsidised services and medications at Polyclinics andSpecialist Outpatient Clinics, have yearly MediSave additions of two hundred toeight hundred dollars and obtain MediShield Life Premium. The PioneerGeneration Disability Assistance Scheme (PioneerDAS) helps disabled Pioneers obtaina hundred dollars in cash monthly, where it can be used for expenditures. Toqualify, the Pioneers must need permanent help with at least three of six ‘ Activitiesof Daily Living’, which include bathing, dressing, feeding, toileting, mobilityand transferring. Pioneers have to perform a functional assessment to confirmthat they need help with three or more Activities of Daily Living. (Singapore Silver Pages, 2014)A Prime Minister’s speechAt the PioneerGeneration Tribute, 2014, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong thanked the Pioneerspresent. He believed that the Pioneers “ raised new generations of Singaporeans, and taught us the values and spirit that enabled us to succeed”. Thus, Mr Lee specifiedthat the Package was “ thought carefully and consulted widely about what wouldbe meaningful and helpful”, resulting in the focus on healthcare.
It lessensthe burden on the children as medical charges are reduced, thus Pioneers areable to save more for other necessities. (Ministry of Health, 2014) III Evaluating the PackageA Necessity of the PackageHealthcare iswidely needed by Pioneers as their health to worsen due to aging. This hintsthat more money will be spent on healthcare services and medicine. The schemes willdefinitely help families lower healthcare related financial burdens. WhenPioneers are aware that these services are funded by the government, they wouldfeel more assured to seek for healthcare services. Furthermore, Pioneers underthe PioneerDAS will be able to receive a cash every month. B Accessibility of the benefits by the PioneersThe benefitsof PGP are widely accessible as most public healthcare facilities such asspecialist outpatient clinics and dental clinics are part of the CommunityHealth Assist Scheme (CHAS). The Pioneer Generation (PG) card can hence be usedat these participating clinics.
C ThePioneer Generation AmbassadorsThe Pioneer Generation Ambassadors (PGA) Programme was created wherevolunteers personally reach out to Pioneers and their caretakers about thebenefits of the Package, MediShield Life and other associated support methods. In 2014, the Ambassadors went door-to-door to raise awareness of PGP. Accordingto Channel News Asia, the Pioneer Generation Office (PGO) said that “ as of Junethis year (2017), 7 in 10 Singaporean seniors above 65-years-old have beenvisited by Pioneer Generation Ambassadors in their homes”. (Junn, 2017) Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong also indicatedthat these volunteers are vital to the programme, and that it is hard to be aPGA as training is needed to communicate and explain benefits, schemes and the usageof the Package to the Pioneers. (gov. sg, 2017) (The Straits Times, 2015) As of 2017, there are over three thousandpractised and competent volunteers in the programme.
D Other ways that raised awareness of theprogrammeTo raiseawareness, there were mass media publicity efforts using print advertorials andTV advertisements. Information booklets in four different languages were mailedand given out with the PG cards. Engagement and outreach sessions were alsomade with community partners such as the People’s Association and grassrootorganisations. Short and concise videos made in the four official languages anddialects were showcased on TV and community events. The availability ofdifferent languages helped the Pioneers to understand the Package better assome of them may not know English. (Ministry of Finance, 2015) Clinicsparticipating in PGP and CHAS were also advised to display the subsidiesavailable to remind Pioneers of the benefits offered.
(The Straits Times, 2017) IV Effectiveness and success of the PackageMajority of the Pioneers were aware and feltassured that the healthcare costs would be more affordable. The promotionalvideos made were simple and informative, therefore effective in conveyinginformation. In 2015, over four hundred thousand Pioneers have received over$700 million in healthcare benefits, and about three hundred thousand Pioneershave benefitted from CHAS. A Positive comments by the Prime MinisterIn 2015, MrLee said that the PGA’s hard work and dedication made Singapore a better home.
They uphold the spirit of voluntarism by reaching out to four hundred Pioneersdaily. They offer companionship to the Pioneers and look after theirwell-being. Mr Lee launched a book containing stories of Pioneers compiled bythe Ambassadors and urge more Singaporeans to join theprogram. B Issues surfaced about PGPAccording toThe Straits Times, the Chief of Workers’ Party Low Thia Khiang, said “ Thenext issue that we would need to face is (that there are) people who areyounger, and not part of the pioneer generation” (The Straits Times, 2015), suggesting that hethinks that the Package is not enough as some younger elders who are not partof PGP might need the same healthcare benefits. The Package also neglects Accidents& Emergency (A) departments in hospitals.
Danam Raphael, 82, sharedthat when he was admitted into A due to urination difficulties, the PGcard was invalid for usage. (Ministry of Health, 2015) Additionally, Traditional Chinese Medicine(TCM) is widely used and trusted by elderly, particularly when they get hurt orsore. However, TCM is considered “ complementary medicine”, making the PG card inapplicable.(Ministry of Health, 2014) The PGP also only covers healthcare. Hence, LimKok Wee, a 73-year-old drink stall operator, showed his concerns that many ofhis friends “ have difficulty finding jobs as employers are not very willing tohire old workers” and that “ it is good that the Government is giving us suchbenefits but maybe they can help us find some part-time job.
” (Lim, 2014) V ConclusionThis paper discussed the areas of healthcareand social support schemes the Pioneer Generation Package covers. As well asthe methods used to convey and aid the Pioneers in understanding and using thePioneer Generation card with the help of Pioneer Generation Ambassadors. Additionally, issues that can improve and strengthen the Package are alsobrought up to better help elders in Singapore to achieve a better and healthierlifestyle. Works Cited Junn, L. C. (2017, July 23).
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