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Singapore: MOH to extend subsidy to acupuncture treatment for lower back and neck pain

All patients will be able to pay for acupuncture services to relieve lower back and neck pain using their Flexi-MediSave scheme.

Patients with lower back and neck pain are now eligible for subsidised acupuncture treatment at specialist outpatient clinics (SOCs) in public healthcare institutions.

This pilot programme will provide referred patients with means-tested subsidies that can cover up to 70% of treatment costs, announced the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Tuesday (Dec 29).

Around 2,000 patients per year who visit public SOCs for pain in the lower back and neck area, are set to benefit under this pilot programme.

For eligible patients, Merdeka Generation (MG) and Pioneer Generation (PG) seniors will enjoy an additional 25% and 50% off in their remaining healthcare bill respectively.

All patients, regardless of their subsidy status, can also utilise their Flexi-MediSave scheme to pay for acupuncture services to relieve lower back and neck pain. The scheme allows patients aged 60 and above to withdraw up to $200 per year from their own, or their spouse’s MediSave Account to pay for outpatient treatments.

"The pilot will not cover acupuncture used to treat other pain indications, and other forms of traditional, complementary and alternative medicine currently offered at public healthcare institutions," said MOH. MOH will review the expansion of the pilot to other settings in the longer term, taking into account learnings and data from this pilot.

Currently, public healthcare institutions that provides acupuncture services are Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH), Singapore General Hospital (SGH), Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH) and National University Hospital (NUH).

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