Rising Medical Costs a Big Worry for our Elderly Citizens

By Raymond Anthony Fernando

Workers Party Member of Parliament, Gerald Giam made a very valid point during the party’s election rally when he mentioned that Medishield had collected 130 million in premiums, but the payouts were so little. I fully agree with Mr Giam’s observation.

I have been paying medishield premiums for both myself and my wife since its inception, but we find it so difficult to make a claim. Recently, I went for a colonoscopy at Tan Tock Seng Hospital and was charged $484.50, but was told that I cannot claim a single cent from medishield because the scheme is only for operations and bigger bills. This scheme needs to be reviewed so that more of our older citizens can benefit from the paying insurance at an affordable cost.

There have been other instances where both my wife and I could not make similar claims. What is the point of paying premiums year in and year out when no claims can be made? There must also be greater transparency on medishield premiums paid through the annual CPF statements so that account holders are aware of how much they have paid. This has never been done. Why is this so?

For senior citizens, the rising medical costs are indeed worrisome and the government needs to provide more support for this group who have contributed to the economy in the past.

There are no subsidies given on non-standard drugs for some medications such as Glucobay, which can cost as much as $78 for 3 months supply. A bottle of 200ML Lactus purchased at the polyclinic cost $1.40 while the same amount purchased at Tan Tock Seng cost $3.50. So why the big difference? Blood tests for patients suffering from diabetes at polyclinics have shot up from $12 to $13.50, and nobody notices it until they scrutinise the bill.

Psychiatric patients cannot buy health insurance for their physical illnesses because no insurance company wants to cover them even for non-psychiatric illnesses. Is this what an inclusive society is all about?