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
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Only after I asked was I told that the Ministry of Health had withdrawn the subsidy as the accident was work- related.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