Yesterday we ran a story on how an elderly man was only covered S$4.50 for his post-subsidy bill of S$4,477 by MediShield Life.
Responding to this issue, former NTUC Income CEO Tan Kin Lian shared on his Facebook page on how the national insurer’s system is rather confusing and messy, and offered a solution to curb this problem.
In his post, he said that the problem is that medical expenses are too high and the government places caps on the use of MediSave, in an attempt to prevent too much money being siphoned out. Therefore, this results in the patients having to fork out a large sum of money out of their pocket.
In the case of the senior citizen, Tan explains, “This is a complicated arrangement. I call it the ‘bits and pieces’ payment system – some part paid here, some paid there. No wonder the people are confused with this system.”
According to him, the government thinks that it is important to make patients responsible in order to control medical expenses. However, in reality, most patients are very confused that they fail to play a part to “control” the expenses.
“The only control that they have is to choose the medical facility to go to. After that, they have to face the charges and add-ons for various kinds of treatment.”
As such, Tan’s solution to this problem is for the government to take responsibility and set the charges for various types of treatment, if MediSave and MediShieled Life are to be used.
He added, “The public hospitals and clinics, which also have access to the subsidy, should also be expected to take the lead to provide services based on these approved rates. These rates will still yield profit for the restricted hospitals, but not the big margins that they enjoy now.”
The approved rates by the government should also be an all-in for the treatment, and hospitals should absorb any variation in the treatment.
By coming up with proper rates, many private hospitals will probably join the scheme as they should be able to gain profit.
In addition to that, he says deductible under MediShield Life is too high and should be reduced to S$500 or lower.
“All the caps on MediSave should be removed. After all, the patient is going to an approved hospital for an approved treatment.”
Although he doesn’t claim that this method will solve all the problems, but he is “sure that it will be a better basis to deal with the problem than the current confusing and messy system.”
Many netizens also agree that the system is confusing and a bunch of them feel that healthcare has become a commercial entity for moneymaking.