The Straits Times
Published on Jan 10, 2013

Why the hefty Medisave transaction fee?


MY MOTHER is a patient at Choa Chu Kang Polyclinic. She wants to use Medisave to pay her bills, but needs to fulfil a few conditions before she can be allowed to do so.

She needs to pay the first $30 as well as 15 per cent of the outstanding amount. On top of that, there is a transaction fee of $3.50 levied for each outpatient bill submitted for Medisave deduction.

For a bill of $50, my mother has to pay $36.50 ($30 + $3 + $3.50), and is utilising only $17 of her Medisave. The transaction fee is 20.6 per cent of the Medisave amount used. This is exorbitant, as compared to a normal Giro transaction fee.

For amounts less than $50, she would have to foot the entire bill. This might seem like a small amount, but for those in financial difficulties, it will help if they can utilise their Medisave savings from the first dollar, and not have to pay such a hefty transaction fee.

Why is there a need for the patient to co-pay the first $30 as well as 15 per cent of the balance? Why can't they use Medisave from the first dollar?

Also, how did the Central Provident Fund Board arrive at this transaction fee of $3.50? Can this fee be lowered?

I look forward to receiving a satisfactory response from the relevant authorities.

Lim Chai Yen (Madam)