Apr 21, 2014

    Don't up subsidised fees because of Medisave use

    I REFER to Ms Salma Khalik's article "Standardise subsidised patients' fees" (My Paper, April 16).

    I have been doing an annual mammogram and breast ultrasound at Changi General Hospital (CGH) since 2007 as a subsidised patient.

    In 2011, my surgeon told me that, going forward, I needed just a biennial screening.

    When I went for my appointment at CGH last year, I was informed by the registration staff that I could use my Medisave to pay for the mammogram.

    But I was also told that since patients could now use their Medisave to pay for their mammograms, CGH was charging subsidised patients at rates meant for private patients.

    However, I was informed that I would continue to pay a subsidised rate for the breast ultrasound because I could not use my Medisave to pay for it.

    I then asked whether I would still be entitled to the subsidised rate for the mammogram if I paid for it using cash or Nets.

    The reply was "no".

    Instead, I was offered the option of cancelling the scheduled mammogram and told that I could have it done at a polyclinic for $50.

    I feel that CGH should not capitalise on the Ministry of Health's decision to relax conditions for the use of Medisave to cover mammograms.

    Just because subsidised patients are allowed to use their Medisave to pay for the screening - meaning there would be no need to use cash to pay for the test - does not mean that hospitals should increase their charges.

    If every restructured hospital in Singapore starts to charge subsidised patients at private patient rates for tests that can be paid for with Medisave, how long will our Medisave funds last?

    If I took up the suggestion of going to a polyclinic, I would probably have had to wait for between six and nine months, or even longer, for an appointment.

    So I decided that it would be wiser to go ahead with the mammogram at CGH and paid the private rate of $120.80.