Why charge $100 for medical report?

A patient unable to afford the estimated cost may be discouraged from seeking treatment.
A patient unable to afford the estimated cost may be discouraged from seeking treatment.PHOTO: ST FILE

Recently, two incidents shocked me after my domestic helper was admitted to Changi General Hospital for surgery.

First, upon admission, I was quoted an estimated charge of $15,000 to $18,000 for a five-day stay in a Class C ward.

The final bill was $2,930.70 for two days of hospitalisation.

While I understand that it was only an estimate, it is hard to comprehend why it was so far from the final cost.

What is the point of giving an estimated cost that is up to six times higher than the actual cost?

A patient unable to afford the estimated cost may be discouraged from seeking treatment.

Second, I learnt that the hospital charges $100 for a medical report completed by a doctor in a template required by NTUC Income. This raises two questions:

•Given that there is already an inpatient discharge form which clearly states the medical condition and procedures administered to the patient, why do insurance companies still require a separate medical report to be completed by a doctor?

•How can the hospital charge $100 for what seems like the relatively simple task of completing a medical report? To put things in perspective, a specialist consultation can cost less than $100.

The relevant authorities need to regulate the practice of insurance companies requiring documents to be submitted together with a claim, and control the amounts charged by public hospitals for completing such reports.

Chow Keng Kwok