I am a 71-year-old general practitioner and recently had an operation at the Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC).
Though I am fully covered by private insurance, I find the cost of medical care in Singapore ridiculously expensive.
On recommendation I first went to the National University Hospital (NUH) to have my glaucoma and cataract condition looked into.
I was recommended an operation - a day surgery, no stay-in, about 40 minutes - to have the cataract removed and a pump insertion for the glaucoma to relieve the pressure on my right eye.
The fee quoted was a staggering $19,000. I was very uncomfortable with what I would be charged and decided to seek a second opinion at the SNEC, which quoted me a fee of $9,000.
I would like to know:
• Why are the surgical fees that high, given that the operation was not complicated and would take only 40 minutes? Perhaps it is due to the expensive implants?
• Why is there such a huge disparity in prices between NUH and SNEC? I understand they use different implants. Still one can't help but suspect profiteering.
• This episode is highly relevant given the recent fracas at the SNEC concerning MediShield Life payout, even though my case is completely private and has no government subsidy.
I hope the relevant authorities will shed some light on this.
Wong Kai Peng (Dr)