6/01/2009

Great savings on surgery bills!!!

'From today, you could pay $1,950 less for a knee replacement surgery and a six day hospital stay in a Class A ward - thanks to the increase in Medisave withdrawal limits for surgeries, which will reduce out of pocket expenses for patients.' This is the first paragraph of Neo Chai Chin's article on surgery bills in the Today paper. My 92 year old mother will jump with jubilation. She will even exclaimed, 'wow, free, so cheap!' To her, CPF money, Medisave money is not her money. It is money from somewhere that she did not know. So spending all the CPF money, all the Medisave money is alright. In a way it is true, afterall, one cannot touch the money unless one is so 'sway' to be struck by a serious illness. Then only one has the privilege to empty it from the Medisave Account. Otherwise, it is not your money to use. So, is this what reducing medical cost is all about? Or is it now cast in stone that medical cost cannot come down, will not come down, and the only way is to find other ways for the patients to pay, and the best way is to pay through the Medisave account. Don't take from the right pocket, take from the back pocket. So what's next, CPF not enough, Medisave not enough. We need to raise the contribution in the Medisave Account. The Medisave Account of the people are being depleted so fast, like the CPF, that they have not enough money for retirement and to pay medical bills. Raise the Medisave Account to $200K! That should do for a while.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Redbean,

You can also use your CPF medisave to pay premiums for your Medishield insurance.

To be fair, let me share with you an experience I recently had. It is my practice to have a gastroscopy and colonoscopy every five years based on a recommendation by a professor practising in Gleneagles.If he does it, the procedure would cost about $2000. Five years ago, he did it for about $1300. I then thought it would be a good experience to try it at a restructured hospital. It was done for about $450 and a registrar did it. I am totally satisfied with the way the procedure was carried out and will opt to do it at the same hospital five years down the road. The point of my comment is that treatment and other health services at our hospitals are really not that unaffordable. It's just a matter of choice. If you want a high sounding professor to attend to you, of course you would have to pay through your nose.

When I was in Hong Kong recently and had a ear infection, an ENT specialist attended to me and I had to pay HK$1300 for a consultation and ear drops! WTF!

Despite all the hullabaloo and whining about our health services, it still remains one of the best in terms of affordability and standards compared to other places and I have been to many.

Wally Buffet.

redbean said...

hi wally,

i don't dispute that our medical services are on par with the best in the world. i won't pay for them if it is going to cost me an arm or a leg. i rather let nature takes its own course.

one point that i want to make is that many singaporeans are not first world in their income and to make them pay for first world medical services is not appropriate. their lives are also not first world lives and not worth that kind of money. there is a mismatch somewhere.

but if you ask the cleaner uncle or auntie if they want the best treatment, they will say yes. ask them to pay $100k for it when their income is less than $1k pm and 0 savings. many hardlanders will go into debt to cough out $20k for medical bills.

buy more insurance? this is the luxury for those who can afford it. i will be contend with my basic medishield. my life is not worth that much. i am just another hardlander. no need to live forever. and i am at peace with myself.

but many hardlanders will be hard pushed if their parents got hospitalised. they cannot say no to their parent's medical needs and bills. this is the worst kind of ransom a person has to be blackmailed into it.

Anonymous said...

Redbean,

I can only say that confucian values in Singapore has been eroded through the years.

It is not uncommon to find good money earners bemoaning the amount they have to cough out for their parents' medical bills while they wine and dine and shop till they drop at Orchard Road.

I recently filled up my tank at an SPC petrol kiosk and chatted up with the uncle filling up my tank. I learnt that one of his children is a DPP and another one is a doctor. Why he needs to do his current job is a mystery to me. And it's not a healthy job either. Breathing in all the petrol fumes the whole day! His daughter doctor ought to know better. He is obviously doing the job to live and not living to do what he likes.

My only beef with the Health services is that elderly people whose income is below the poverty line should be given free medical treatment at our hospitals. Based on their ability to pay, yes, I agree that even a C class ward stay is a burden. But there is something called a Medifund?

Wally Buffet.

Janice said...

its true that Singaporean are not the 1st class their income (but there are those that are otherwise). One of my friend has problem with his knee and he still can't afford to part cash from his pocket cos' he survive on his income every month. I knew of an elderly man who is the father of the head of Dept in a hospital. The thing was that he uses subsidised facilities. The son (who is a doctor) did not want to acknowledge his father and this elderly man paid everything from his savings till he died. To note: the few hundreds dollars cash from pocket can be someone else 1 month salary.

Anonymous said...

Hi Janice,

A lot of poor elderly men are what they are in their twilight years because they were very poor managers of their money when young. Gambling, smoking, drinking, women and song may have eroded or wiped out their savings. Now, in their old age, they have to pay for their sins when they were younger. You choose the life you want to live.

Perhaps, the doctor did not want to acknowledge his father because the latter was not a responsible father. That's the usual story.

Wally Buffet.

redbean said...

there are also great savings in the great singapore sales. shops can tag the prices of any goods 200% or 100% higher. now with the great sales, they tag it with another tag at half price. great sales price. of course some are genuine discount to attract customers.

in the case of hospital bills, it must be part of this great singapore sales. now they are extending to restaurants, theatres etc etc. now in politics, vote one MP get one free.

Anonymous said...

There are poor elderly men who do not manage their money well in their younger days and are now paying the price.

But it saddens me to see that some younger people nowadays are repeating the mistakes of the elderly. They live like there is no tomorrow. Most of the time they tell you "I do not know what will happen tomorrow, so I might as well spend my money today". It is like a fashion statement, and older values of thrift are just brushed aside, out of fashion. They will become the same poor elderly, like those of today, in years to come.

And there are some parents who encourage such thinking. Since they could not afford such extravagance in their younger days, they are probably living their fantasies through their children.

I don't understand such thinking, that is why I am lost and stranded in this fast changing world.

Lost Citizen

redbean said...

i don't think it is a fair statement to condemn the losers that they did not plan or save for their old age. How to save when they had just enough, or not enough, to get by every day.

saving and planning for retirement are privileges of the rich. my friends were talking about $1m or $5m as savings for retirements. some of these losers don't even have $100 in their savings. many are living a hand to mouth existence.

i too have problems saving a million for my retirement. i will have to content to work till the day i drop dead, and with my $149k or more in the CPF and Medisave untouched.

Jaunty Jabber said...

Does your beneficiaries of your CPF money gets the Medisave sum too? I thought all the money inside shall get paid out to the named beneficiaries when one turns horizontal permanently.

Anonymous said...

This is a desparate statement from one in twilight zone. Dare I say that my children will spend to their last cent to have me cured for whatever illness/disease. It is not because I have been a great parent, I am not. However, should I know in advance that I am afflicted with a terminal disease or an expensive one to cure. I will let them save their money, time and anxiety.

Less than $10 of charcoal or petrol make one sleeps peacefully forever and best of all it will save the offsprings money, time and agony.

One can decide to end EXPENSIVE and long illness/suffering by a very peaceful mean. JUST MAKE SURE THAT IT IS MEDICAL CONDITION(S) THAT CAUSES THE DECISION(to end oneself). AND ensure that the Reason is to be made known(in writing, if possible).

Anonymous said...

Jaunty

Beneficiaries of CPf get the medisave sum too, rest assured.

But many people are still not aware of this and are under the impression that medisave goes to the Govt when one kicks the bucket.

Lost Citizen

Jaunty Jabber said...

Hi Lost Citizen,

Thank you for giving the answer.

Then, does the Medisave $ goes to the beneficiaries' Medisave account or can be cashed out?

Anonymous said...

Jaunty

When my father-in-law passed away several years ago, his medisave money was paid out to my wife IN CASH even though her medisave account had only a paltry sum, so that should answer your question.

I did an updated online check and the situation is still the same now.

Lost Citizen

Jaunty Jabber said...

Hi Lost Citizen

Thank you!