Sunday, August 30, 2015

Is Healthcare Affordable for Seniors?


Is seems like there is a lot of "tweaking" in the healthcare system in Singapore. There is so much advertisements on the Pioneer Generation (PG) card and how affordable healthcare is going to be.

I've spoken to many seniors, and for those who have not been to the hospitals perceive that the PG card works, but others still feel that healthcare is unaffordable.

I do not understand why healthcare has to be so complex. The ads on TV are in English and Mandarin, and the YouTube videos are in other dialects, but how many seniors go to YouTube? There are also people going door to door to explain the benefits of the PG card. I've followed them to my neighbor's house and even after 1 hour of explanation, everyone seems to be confused.

When I asked about how to lower medical bills, and recurring drugs, these agent have no idea how, and their suggestion was to visit private doctors, polyclinics and hospitals to see which one gives the best price. I don't get it, do they expect seniors to try their luck and test?

One question remains, healthcare is affordable... but to who?

My mom went to Tan Tock Seng on her regular checkups to get her blood thinners. I followed her to collect the medicine and heard many seniors getting turned back because they did not bring enough money. When I saw the bill, it was not any different from 4 months ago. The reply I got from Tan Tock Seng hospital was that the cards do not apply here.

With today's information system, especially in a hospital where you have a record and appointments, why do you still need to bring so many cards, and why can't the cards be used? In this case, the deduction of $400 was from my Medisave. My mother has more than $1,000 in her Medisave and she cannot use it.

What is worse is, this is 4 months worth of medicine, and I've hit the cap on my Medisave. So this means that I cannot use Medisave for future payments and she cannot use her Medisave as well. And as for all the cards she carry, None of them can be used.

This is not an uncommon problem, and for some cases like flu and fever, the PG card and the CHAS card can be use in private clinics to get discounts. And back to the question. With so many complex systems set up, so many different cards, and so much marketing for the different programs, I believe what the public wants is simply, can we have lower medical costs?

-- Iron Bowl



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