SINGAPORE: The basic health care allowance for members of the Central Provident Fund (CPF) will be revised upward from January 2023 – from S$66,000 to S$68,500.
That was announced Thursday (Dec 1) in the quarterly update on CPF interest rates, which remain unchanged for the first quarter of 2023.
However, the government said it will closely monitor the interest rate environment.
“The government is closely monitoring the interest rate environment to ensure that CPF interest rate pegs remain relevant in the prevailing business environment, taking into account longer-term prospects,” said the board of directors, the Housing and Development Board (HDB) and the Ministry of Health in a joint press release.
The Basis Zorgsom (BHS), a ceiling on the MediSave Account, is the estimated savings required for subsidized basic care in old age.
It is adjusted annually for members under the age of 65 to keep pace with the growth of MediSave use, but once members reach age 65, their BHS remains fixed for the rest of their lives.
Thus, the current rise in BHS has no impact on CPF members aged 66 and over. And for members turning 65 in 2023, their BHS will be set at S$68,500.
MediSave contributions above a member’s BHS are automatically transferred to his or her other CPF accounts.
CPF members who have less than the BHS will not have to top up their MediSave accounts and will still be able to withdraw money from their accounts to pay for approved medical expenses, the press release said.
CPF INTEREST RATES UNCHANGED
The CPF floor interest rates will remain at 2.5 percent from January 1 to March 31, 2023 for the regular account and 4 percent for the special account, retirement account, and MediSave account.
Accordingly, the favorable interest rate for HDB housing loans for the first quarter remains unchanged at 2.6 percent. The mortgage interest on the HDB mortgage is linked to 0.1 percent above the interest on the regular account.
The CPF board said that despite global interest rates rising, pegged interest rates remain below floor rates. CPF interest rates have not changed for 23 years since July 1999.
The rate associated with the ordinary account for January to March 2023 is 0.21 percent and that for the other accounts is 3.47 percent, according to the CPF website.
The interest on the regular account is linked to the three-month average fixed deposit and savings rate of three large local banks: DBS, UOB and OCBC.
The interest rate for the other bills is pegged to the 12-month average yield of 10-year Singapore government securities plus 1 percent.