Standardise considerations for hospital subsidies

An outpatient pharmacy at Singapore General Hospital.
An outpatient pharmacy at Singapore General Hospital.PHOTO: ST FILE

I felt more confused when I read the recent articles on medical bills and insurance (Private stays at community hospitals: Patients pay cash deposits despite insurance cover; and Subsidies for different care hospitals need to be better aligned, both published on April 11).

First, I do not understand why whether a person can use his Medisave is dependent on the type of hospital and ward he is admitted to and not based on his medical condition. This adds to the confusion on the use of Medisave.

Second, why couldn't people who were referred to a community hospital directly from a public hospital's emergency department make claims before July 15 last year?

In this case, the question on my mind would have been where I should go to seek medical advice in order to make claims.

Third, why was the charge to be moved from Singapore General Hospital to Sengkang Community Hospital so high, as highlighted by patient Stephanie Kong?

Fourth, why is it that the consideration for subsidy for general hospitals is based on patients' income while that for community hospitals is based on one's household income? There would be less confusion if all subsidy rates were based on the same considerations.

Lastly, why are the insurance claim limits varied for the different types of hospitals? There would be less confusion if the limit for claims were the same for all hospitals.

Patients need simple and clear information on their claims and subsidy entitlements to make an informed decision.

More importantly, I hope the Ministry of Health will revise the subsidy rates to ensure people can afford good medical care.

Leong Kok Seng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 15, 2019, with the headline 'Standardise considerations for hospital subsidies'. Print Edition | Subscribe