Lecturer who battled cancer cheers proposed changes

PART-TIME lecturer Ng Lee Meng had a brush with colorectal cancer almost 20 years ago and her surgery bill was more than $10,000.

It was covered by her company's hospitalisation insurance.

But the 63-year-old, who lives with her husband Ng Kwai Yew, 64, and daughter Shuying, 33, knows others who are not as lucky.

"Some older folk refuse treatment just because they do not want to be a burden to their families," said Mrs Ng, whose household income is about $6,000.

The higher amount patients can claim for outpatient cancer treatment, under the proposed MediShield Life scheme, is thus music to her ears.

Previously, cancer patients could claim $1,249 for one 21- or 28-day cycle of chemotherapy per month.

Under the recommendations, they can claim up to $3,000 per month. Radiotherapy claim limits have also been raised.

Previously, Mrs Ng was not covered by MediShield as she had a pre-existing condition. But under the proposed MediShield Life, she would be covered. "It used to be hard to get insurance as a cancer patient, so universal coverage really helps," she said.

"This is really good news to me," she said.

KASH CHEONG