Saturday, January 29, 2011

How much class "C" hospitalisation can cost.

Many have not felt the direct effects of means testing or understood the implications.
Minister Khaw keeps repeating the mantra that the 3Ms are sufficient, medical care is affordable and so on. What does affordable mean? Hundreds of thousands of Singaporeans are uninsured (almost 1 in 5) and are exposed to enormous financial risk.

Until we can compel the govt to make further changes and put in place a 1st world universal healthcare system, please help to keep your fellew Singaporeans informed and tell them what is actually going on. I've written extensively about the cracks in our system and the govt's continuous efforts to increase our healthcare burden to keep its own expediture down.

Here is a case to think about. A man had an accident and stayed in a class "C" ward for 2 months. This feller fell through one of the many cracks that most are unaware of - when an accident is "work related", there is no subsidy. When the company doesn't pay the full bill, you empty your Medisave and go into debt. Mr. Tan actually had Medishield but still had to go into debt to pay off his bills. Many don't have insurance due to pre-existing conditions, cannot afford it due to age (premiums go up with age) or poverty and some are misinformed by continuous govt propaganda that healthcare is affordable at public hospitals. Even when you have insurance, you have to read the fine print of what the insurance company will pay for and the payout limits of the policy - much of which has become inadequate as the cost of medical care escalates.
----------------
Straits Times Forum [Link]
Jan 29, 2011

THE CASE
Worker served with $147,000 C-class bill

I HAD an accident at work last June. Initially, the interim hospital bill from the National University Hospital indicated a subsidy.

But when the final bill was given to me, I was shocked. The bill for my stay at a C-class ward amounted to an unsubsidised total of $147,000.

I was discharged on Aug 13 last year and the reason for the difference between what was stated in the interim bill and the final one was not explained at all.
Only after I asked was I told that the Ministry of Health had withdrawn the subsidy as the accident was work- related.

About a month after my discharge, I applied for a waiver of the outstanding amount of about $122,000 through my MP. This was after my company had paid $25,000.
As far as I am aware, the hospital did not reply to the appeal.
Three months later, after more deductions from my MediShield ($41,000) and Medisave accounts ($31,000), I was informed that the hospital was in the process of scheduling an instalment payment plan for the remaining $50,000.
Needless to say, my family and I are plagued by anxiety. I am 54 years old and work in the construction sector; my wife works part-time and my daughters are still in their teens.
How can an average Singaporean worker like me support a family, pay off a huge hospital bill and still find more money to pay for subsequent medical requirements arising from the accident and treatment?
If I had been given a subsidy, I would not have been burdened by this unexpectedly trying financial circumstances.
Tan Guan Seng

45 comments:

C H Yak said...

http://www.moh.gov.sg/mohcorp/mediaforums.aspx?id=18670

The MOH event dare to put this up in the website when I wrote to the press on means testing.

When comments were brushed off this is the end result...“And if you’re the prime minister and you’re brushed off, you’re in trouble”.

Read : http://de-leviathan.blogspot.com/2011/01/election-watch-part-iv-hard-truths-on.html

Anonymous said...

I read this letter and the hospital's reply.

It is ridiculous that once an injury is work related, it becomes unsubsidized automatically. And the employer's liability is limited to only $25k for workplace injuries, even though employers are supposed to buy insurance for all employees. Government helping employers save money on insurance premiums?

How long can $25k last for "unsubsidized" treatments?

It is absurd that a worker has to pay out of his own pocket for work related injuries.

Anonymous said...

So this is how Singapore keeps business costs low?

Firstly, by depressing workers' wages.

Secondly, by tranferring the medical expenses for WORKPLACE injuries to workers.

Anonymous said...

I think if hospitalisation is due to work related accidents, it is a separate category altogether.

Because it also depends whose fault the accident occurred.

Because under the Workplace Safety and Health Act, there is a clause that says there is a penalty for for the worker too if he was at fault for injuring himself in a workplace accident.

And hence arising from that, there may be implications on subsidies for hospitalisation.

I may not be totally correct on this so maybe those more well versed with the Law can make some comments.

Anonymous said...

Male Singapore Citizens have to serve national service upon reaching the age of 18 years old.

In the event of serving, accidents do happen.
In some of the accidents, the servicemen were injured, and in more serious cases, they lost their life.

I was saddened to read that a full-time national serviceman(NSF), Lance Corporal Eugin Wee Yong Choon, 20 years old, died after being hit by a truck driven by another NSF in Jurong Camp 1 at about 7am January 28 2011 as reported in the Straits Times, Page A3 on 29 January 2011.

This is a clear illustration of how much risk and sacrifice any serviceman is subjected to during the course of serving.

In short, Male Singapore Citizens sacrifice their time, energy and even their life to protect and defend Singapore.

In contrast,

first generation male permanent residents are exempted from national service even though most of them are below 29 years old,

and

second generation male permanent residents try means and ways to skip their obligations to serve national service.

This is shown from a blog of how second generation Singapore ex-PR skipped the obligation to serve national service.

From the blog comments, there are many potential Singapore PRs who have the intention of wanting to skip serving national service.

In short, these ungrateful permanent residents want to enjoy all the benefits Singapore have given them but these ungrateful permanent residents do not want to fulfill their obligations of serving national service.

The blog is here:
http://shih.blogspot.com/2005/02/how-i-ended-up-in-kl_07.html
----------------------------------------
Quote from an extract of the blog:

I say with some hesitation as it is a slightly complicated story as to how I am from Singapore but now working in KL.

I was born in KL, Malaysia but then moved down to JB when I was around 6 with my family. When I was about 11, my family then moved down to Singapore where all of us then became Permanent Residents there, but still holding on to our Malaysian passports.

Very soon after my 'A' levels, I was called up to do National Service in Singapore. All 2nd generation PRs (ie. my parents were PRs, so I was a 2nd gen PR) had to serve NS. I promptly made the decision that I would drop my Singapore PR to avoid having to do 2 1/2 yrs of NS and I would pursue my university education in the UK.

I had always planned to return to Singapore to work so after 4 years in the UK, I returned in the summer of '04. I obtained pupillage at a large Singapore law firm and I was about to start my DipSing at the local university in Singapore. All UK law grads had to go through this DipSing conversion course to get us used to Singapore law. It is very much a waste of 1 year but anyway, problems started to arise.
.....

Anonymous said...

"Because under the Workplace Safety and Health Act, there is a clause that says there is a penalty for for the worker too if he was at fault for injuring himself in a workplace accident."

Just for a moment assuming you are correct, can a construction worker have a strong union to fall back & insist all the safety features / equipment are in place before carrying on with work - e.g just like in some first class european countries.

Don't forget, singapore is flooded with many many many many cheap cheap cheap foreign labourers and you must know why the construction is flooded with them.

Well, can you see the dilemma. The act may say this, that, this & that but don't you think there are conflicting actual ground conditions.

Anonymous said...

29/1/11 11:35 Anon

It is better that you just keep your mouth shut if you don't know anything.

The issue here is the $25k medical expenses cap for workplace injuries.

So even if the employer is 100% liable for the worker injuring himself, he needs to pay a max of $25k only for the worker's medical fees.

Anonymous said...

29/1/11 11:35 Anon

So if you smoke and get lung cancer, the hospital should not give you subsidised treatment because you are 100% liable for your lung cancer?

BTW, the liability allocation for workplace injuries is only applicable for computing compensation, not medical fees.

Anonymous said...

Very sad to read this.
It is unbelievable that such things could happen here.

If not bec of internet, will we ever be able to know this?

Could someone translate it to Chinese for more to read?

Anonymous said...

A letter should be sent to the media for the suggestion,

If the employer is 100% liable for the worker injury, the employer must pay the full amount for the worker's medical fees.
This apply to all employess (include Singaporeans, PRs and foreigners) who work in the company.
This is because employer has the moral and legal obligations to provide healthy and safety environment for employees to work.
Employment Law should have mentioned about this obligation.

Anonymous said...

i'm sure there's no cap for deaf frogs

Anonymous said...

Anon 29/1/11 11:41,
Regarding Lance Corporal Eugin Wee Yong Choon, here's what it means: KENA CONNED!

Singaporean said...

When kbw said he paid 8 bucks for his by-pass, my illiterate father remarked in hokkien to the effect that "so what? if he says citizens need only pay $8, he has my respect. But he is earning so much with full medical benefits, what is he boasting about?"

I think my illiterate father has greater wisdom than some $2m bootlicking ass. :-)

Ghost said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
+/- said...

The positive :
The patient is alive and well even though he has a serious accident and has no money to pay for the treatment. That is a positive sign in our system that one do not need to pay in full before getting treatment.

The negative :
One should have solved this efficiently and not letting this case surface because it reinforced the belief of Singaporean that one is better to be 100% dead than half dead.

Cost = S$50K
Fear Instilled = priceless.

Anonymous said...

it is a conflict of interest when gov has hugely invested in profit making organisations e.g banks, property developer firms. they will tweak the law to suit their purpose at the expense of own people. the way our gov is going is suicidal to singaporeans. soon all singaporeans will be sacrifice for profit making purpose.

Anonymous said...

Heard there is a revolution going on in Egypt and Tunisia. Don't know whether that will happen in Singapore. Somehow the history of Singapore and them are like the same leh, same government for more than 30 years and then suddenly the people just cannot take it anymore.

Anonymous said...

A revolution will only happen when the majority of the people are frustrated, including talented people who cannot find jobs or make money due to no opportunties.

In Singapore, if you are talented you can make money. And plenty of job and opportunities and not enough locals to take up and we need lots of foreigners to help out.

Also we are very small, only 5 million people. Where got problem not able to make majority (66%) happy?

Other countries very big, 30 million, 80 million people. Very difficult to make majority happy even if their govt is as capable as PAP.

Singapore will be peaceful and stable for a long time to come, and for the lifetime of most of us.

Anonymous said...

So sad.
35 NUS business graduate find it so hard to get permanent job.
Thot only old people or old PMET are hopeless.
Now even 35 yrs old graduate (business usually accept students with better results) also so find it so diff to find job. Then how to afford an so expensive HDB?
Many local men (without a good degree) marry foreigners, (bec local sg girls don't want them).
Must be finding it hard to survive.

Anonymous said...

I was taking the cab today and the cabbie told me that he would vote for the government even though he doesn't agree at all with its policies. His reason: GRC.

I reminded him to think of the country first before his constituency. And not to buy into the government's play on kiasuism and kiasism to destroy this country.

He's thinking about it. But, dare I say, Lucky, many Singaporeans are like this. They're selfish. And they won't put the consideration of the country before their own constituency. This game of housing flat upgrading, etc. has been played into the citizens' mind for a long time. Many Singaporeans are busy feeding their own selfish interests. This, they learn from the government. Help yourself to the million dollar salaries.

Anonymous said...

My malae malaysian PR friends told me that they applied for PR so that they get work easily, make all the money and save as much before retiring in malaysia. One of them has bought a bungalow in penang and paying it from the strong singapore dollar that he earned here. He says this policy benefits him a lot.

Singaporeans are second class citizens in their own countries with a government that bullies singaporeans' freedom of speech. We are famous in the world for no freedom of speech. We are short-changed. Enough said.

Anonymous said...

by now i hope everyone can see the PAP system is a near-failure and has let Sporeans down.

the LHL regime is practicing Privatising profits, Socialising cost.

Anonymous said...

""A full-time National Serviceman (NSF) died in a freak accident and killed by a truck driven by another serviceman in ...........on Friday.....""

Freak accident, freak flood, freak xxxxx again??.....

Anonymous said...

Freak means something unexpected, unusual. So many things can be freak.

Will we also have a freak election outcome?

That's what a lot people are interested to know.

Anonymous said...

Aiyah, cannot freak in SG wan lar!

The 'God' in SG is showing us that even if seditious and racially divisive statements can be made by Him, he will still be the man in charge and people will still vote for PAP, regardless.

Anonymous said...

Ladies and gentlemen,

Election is coming real soon. This march and MM wants to give you something to talk about during the long chinese new year.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lucky

Mr Tan had no "pre-existing" condition!
It took u the better part of TWO years to even admit Khaw was not a saint and you are still fantasizing about Obamacare!

And could u describe in more detail how we can "compell" the PAP gahmen to do more?

Do we Wait for the sheer incompetence of Mr Obama to cause enough hardship that even sinkees rebel? Got bad news for you : the Tar-man u keep attacking is doing a fairly decent job of keeping enuff sinkees employed. If things get that bad, ur millions may not be enuff.

Anonymous said...

To Anon 30/1/11 22:27
Idiot, stop calling us Sinkies.

Anonymous said...

Another good reason to emigrate. Canada's health care is free. Education for your kids is free
until pre-U level. No NS for your sons.

For yourself, when you're 65, the canadian govt. takes care of you.
Give you money to spend too; no need to pick cardboard or empty bottles.

Canada is like heaven on earth.

Anonymous said...

I read the article in disbelieve, muttering "Holy Sh**!" throughout. I must admit, I have been very ignorant of medical care in Singapore. It unbelievable given we talk so much about being a First World country and the second highest per capita income in Asia. I always thought "C" ward is the safety net for any citizen. The no frills medical care where you get fixed up with minimum fuss.

And the more diabolical part is the employer can simply cop out by limiting liablity to $25,000. With the kind of fees public hospital charge these days, $25,000 is grossly insufficient.

If we can't vote out PAP in the coming election, the only option is to migrate. You really don't want to find out when you are jobless and sick that you will be financially wiped out and your children's education fund is only enough to pay for your funeral expenses.

Anonymous said...

Prominent display that ""Jobs with no takers", while many still can find a decent jobs, when even a 35 yrs old NUS grad cannot find proper employment.

Raise gst to help the poor when many poors are suffering.

FTs to ""create jobs"" for locals when many locals' jobs are taken away.

Anonymous said...

cool! got C-Class service, but have to pay A-Class fees.

Way to go, PAP!

Jezebella said...

That's why they say... you can die in Singapore but cannot (afford to) get sick in Singapore. :\

overseas said...

Where can I get a full details/implications/examples of the mean testing? I have been living abroad for a while and not caught up with it. Thanks for sharing, I've been a fan of your blog.

Anonymous said...

If you think you are suffering;
If you think you are jobless or under-employed;
If you think you are struggling with high expenses;

Visits your friends and talk to them during the CNY, See how many are better than you;
See how many are worse than you.

You may feel better.
You may feel it is not that bad afterall if others are like you.

Anonymous said...

To Overseas - see the defense here.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlLEPKx_L9A&feature=related

rich peasant said...

fuck lah, why are peasants complainign when their hdb flats are worth half a million dollars. no wonder the pinoys see this as the modern el dorado. the land of gold.

pesants should wake up and be grateful

Anonymous said...

I strongly encourage everyone to read this article.

http://www.globalutmaning.se/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Davos-The-nordic-way-final.pdf

The Nordic way is, and should be the model we aspire towards. It is the perfect marriage of socialist and individualist ideals.

If only our government has the courage to see its merits, and stop hiding behind false veneers of "asian values". Singapore has the exact perfect conditions required to achieve the Nordic ideals --> small population, high standards of education, secular governance. We may be more heterogeneous than them in racial mix, but even that is debatable. Denmark has 90% of the population of Danish descent, with the rest as immigrants. Singapore has about 75% of the population of Chinese descent --> not that much different from Denmark in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Just Complain??
The bottom line is that they must have a decent job.
If no job how? How to survive?

Don't think they are just
""EAT FOOL NOTHINGS TO DO"".
They may not hv enogt to eat & spend.

Anonymous said...

"rich peasant said...31/1/11 22:30
why are peasants complainign when their hdb flats are worth half a million dollars."

How to realize it & enjoy the half a million if the next piece of abode (if you need one as a replacement) is equally expensive unless you are going to cash out for good and live in another country which has a lower cost structure.

How about calling it a transfer of high costs (worth half a million dollars or maybe more in times to come) to your the generations.

The Pariah said...

When ministerial pay is 47% variable, comprising 27% GDP Bonus and 20% Job Perf Bonus, you can fully empathize with Minister Khaw Boon Wan.

1. KHAW'S TARGET: Make Singapore a Global Medical Tourism Hub.

When a wealthy sick Arab, Indonesian, European, Mainland Chinese come to Singapore for treatment, they bring an entourage of family members who will eat, shop, and stay in 5* hotels and therefore boost GDP.

2. KHAW'S COUNTER-BALANCE. Relax Medisave Withdrawal so that Singaporeans can go overseas for "elective surgeries".

"Overseas" does not read as Maya Clinic in the USA. It reads as some hospital in Bangkok, Malacca, New Delhi, Beijing, etc.

Land and labour for healthcare are limited - if you have to build swanky John Hopkins facilities for medical tourists, how many times can you make ambulances go round looking for hospital beds?

As healthcare costs within the context of a World-Class Global Medical Tourism Hub climb up ever more steeply, those of you who can't afford it - please take note because Minister Khaw has been so, so, so considerate in providing you with "ANOTHER OPTION".

The man is subtle. Khaw doesn't "prescribe" that you go to Malacca for surgery. [Anyway, this Govt doesn't like to "prescribe" as they like to keep their hands clean and leave it to so-called "FREE market forces" after they have skewed the public policies towards certain market forces.]

Khaw merely relaxes Medisave withdrawal. Not nice to say it aloud. You should what to do lah.

So pls get out of the way and don't impede our GDP growth.

Go to JB nursing home when you are old. Go die elsewhere since you can't afford Singapore anymore.

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