Medisave: Needy forced to go to private clinics?

by Leong Sze Hian


I  refer to the reply by Marine Parade Polyclinic (MPP) (“Medisave:    Polyclinc will help patient benefit from scheme” (Dec 7, New Paper) to Ye Moxing’s letter “Woes over Medisave Claims” (Nov 26, New Paper)) .

I applaud MPP for making an exception to help this patient accumulate his medical bills to make single Medisave claims, to reduce his cash out-of-pocket expenditure.

The problem with not allowing patients to accumulate bills is that each claim is subject to a deductible of $30, 15 per cent co-payment and an administrative fee of $3.14.

However, the problem is not resolved for other patients, as MPP reiterated that “CDMP claims are submitted on a per visit basis”.

Why are patients able to accumulate bills at  private clinics under the CDMP, but not at polyclinics?

Problem never solved despite feedback?

I have written several letters to newspaper forums over the last four years – such as “Issues healthcare panel should explore” (Business Times, Aug 30, 2006), “Why charge admin fee on Medisave use?” (Today, Aug 30, 2006) etc, on the subject issue of Medisave claims’ fees.

So, why does the problem still persist today, after so much feedback after so many years?

Feedback led to mainly infrastructure improvements?

In a recent report “Tell MOH what its Budget should focus on” (Channel News Asia, Jan 10), the health minister cited many improvements arising from public views and suggestions, such as the expansion of the healthcare infrastructure, a new National Heart Centre, the opening of two new hospitals as well as several nursing homes last year; more healthcare staff being recruited, a third medical school in collaboration with UK’s Imperial College to begin enrollment in 2013, etc.

As most of the cited improvements are macro and mainly on infrastructure, shouldn’t the continuing problem of lower-income Singaporeans not being able to ultilise their Medisave in a more cost-efficient manner than private clinics be given priority?

Now that the MOH is once again seeking the public’s views and suggestions, I would like to suggest that the Ministry of Health review the use of Medisave policy, as needy Singaporeans may be forced to go to private clinics instead of cheaper treatment at polyclinics.

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