Call for stingy S'pore Govt to pay out more for Medishield Life

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By: 永久浪客/Forever Vagabond

It was earlier reported that blogger Andrew Loh was billed $10,727.09 for a heart angiography (‘Medishield Life paid covered just $720 of a $10k angiography‘).

It is a procedure that uses a special dye and x-rays to see how blood flows through the arteries in the heart, which helps highlight any blockages in the arteries.

On his Facebook, Mr Loh shared the finalized bill for a heart angiography performed at the National Heart Centre (NHC):

“Before gov’t grants/Medishield Life/Medisave/Private Insurance = $10,727.09.
Govt grants = $6,767.09
Net amount payable (before Medishield Life, Medisave and insurance) = $3,959.19.
After Medishield Life ($720) = $3,239.19.”

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“I’m a little surprised Medishield Life pays only $720,” Mr Loh commented.

MediShield Life is the mandatory national basic health insurance plan administered by CPF Board, which “helps to pay for large hospital bills and selected costly outpatient treatments”, said the MOH website.

For Andrew’s heart angiography, Medishield Life paid only $720 or 18% out of the balanced $3,959.19 (after government grants), leaving him to pay the balanced $3,239.19 (82%) himself.

He paid this balance with his Medisave and additional personal insurance, which luckily he has – so much for Medishield Life paying for “large hospital bills”.

Singapore most stingy in healthcare expenditure among first world countries

Certainly, there is room for our government to spend more in healthcare expenditure like subsidizing more to pay for the individuals’ premium of Medishield Life.

With higher premium serviced, the amount of pay out by Medishield Life can also be increased for hospitalization. In this way, Singaporeans do not have to incur more out-of-pocket expenses like buying additional insurance or digging into their own savings. Medisave could also be returned to Singaporeans for their other use.

Looking at data from World Bank, certainly Singapore can be seen to be spending the least in healthcare as % of GDP among the first world countries:

US – 17.1%
Sweden – 11.9%
Switzerland – 11.7%
France – 11.5%
Germany – 11.3%
Austria – 11.2%
New Zealand – 11.0%
Netherlands – 10.9%
Denmark – 10.8%
Belgium – 10.6%
Canada – 10.4%
Japan – 10.2%
Norway – 9.7%
Finland – 9.7%
Portugal – 9.5%
Australia – 9.4%
Italy – 9.2%
UK – 9.1%
Spain – 9.0%
Iceland – 8.9%
Greece – 8.1%
Israel – 7.8%
Ireland – 7.8%
South Korea – 7.4%
Luxembourg – 6.9%
Singapore – 4.9%

At 4.9% of healthcare expenditure, we ranked together with countries like Burkina Faso (5.0%), Libya (5.0%), Ethiopia (4.9%), Mauritius (4.8%).

Even among ASEAN countries, Thailand (6.5%) and Vietnam (7.1%) are already spending more than us despite the fact that they are 3rd world countries.

But somehow, our government prefers to spend more on the latest military toys instead of taking care of its citizens’ health. The SAF generals must be happy to know that the government is on their side.