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Pioneer package task force made up of diverse group

THAM YUEN-C on 09 Apr 2014

The Straits Times


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A TASK force set up to raise awareness about health-care benefits for Singapore’s pioneers has 22 members from the public and private sectors.


The Ministry of Finance yesterday announced the make-up of this task force, and the list includes politicians and civil servants as well as grassroots leaders, public relations experts and those from the non-profit sectors. Its main job will be to raise awareness of the health-care benefits under this year’s Budget centrepiece, the $8 billion Pioneer Generation Package, and give assurance to first-generation Singaporeans.


The package includes Medi-save top-ups and subsidies for outpatient treatment, and will pay for part of their MediShield Life premiums.


The Government has said reaching out to all 450,000 beneficiaries will be a challenging task.


Last week, at a promotion ceremony for elite public service officers, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said implementing the package will be a “major and complex exercise”.


That is why, he said, the Government has set up this task force, which is headed by Senior Minister of State for Finance and Transport Josephine Teo and Senior Minister of State for Health and Manpower Amy Khor.


Mrs Teo, in a press statement yesterday, said: “In terms of policy communications, the Pioneer Generation package also presents a special challenge for the Government. Traditional channels such as print advertisements and websites are still needed. But they are unlikely to be enough.”


So the task force will work with the private sector and involve groups such as hospitals and clinics, which are “natural touch points for pioneers”, she added.


Already, the task force has held its first meeting, during which members discussed the challenges of getting the message across to pioneers in a language they understand, said Mrs Teo.


Since the package was announced in this year’s Budget, MPs and grassroots groups have reached out to those who qualify – citizens aged 65 and above this year and who became citizens before 1987 – and conducted dialogue sessions in dialect and vernacular languages.


Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.

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