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Elderly medical doctor shocked at “staggering” fees NUH and SNEC charge for 40-minute day surgery




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A 71-year-old general practitioner has expressed shock over the “staggering” fees of $19,000 and $9,000 the National University Hospital (NUH) and the Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC) charge respectively for day surgery that would typically take 40 minutes.

In a forum letter to the national broadsheet, Dr Wong Kai Peng asserted: “Though I am fully covered by private insurance, I find the cost of medical care in Singapore ridiculously expensive.”

Dr Wong revealed that he first visited NUH to have the doctors there look into his glaucoma and cataract condition. He was reportedly recommended to undergo day surgery that would take about 40 minutes, without the need to stay in.

The medical doctor shared that he was left disconcerted by the exorbitant fees NUH said it would charge him for such a surgery and decided to approach a different facility: “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.”

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Revealing that he eventually underwent surgery at SNEC, Dr Wong asked the authorities to answer the following questions:

“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.”

Read Dr Wong’s letter in full HERE.

Dr Wong’s letter comes after it was revealed that the SNEC charged an 82-year-old Singaporean over $12,000 for cataract operations for both his eyes. After government subsidies, Mr Seow Ban Yam needed to pay $4477.

The elderly Singaporean, who expected that MediShield Life would cover 90 per cent of his post-subsidy bill, was left shocked when the national health insurance scheme only paid out $4.50 of the $4477 cash bill.

The case caused severe backlash against MediShield Life and SNEC, prompting SNEC to promise to cut charges for complex surgeries.


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