There are some misconceptions about healthcare in Singapore. Here are three of the 10 common myths identified by the Ministry of Health
Myth #1 I am afraid of being hospitalised because hospital bills are unaffordable.
All Singaporeans receive heavy subsidies of up to 80 per cent on Class B2/C wards at government-funded hospitals. By the age of 56 to 60, the average Singaporean will have more than sufficient funds in his Medisave account to cover the average Class B2/C bill (which was $1,768 in 2010) after subsidies. MediShield helps co-pay most of the remaining bill. You can also tap into your immediate family’s Medisave accounts to reduce out-of-pocket payments.
No one will be denied the care they need at government- funded hospitals due to their inability to pay. If affordability is an issue, you can consider choosing the less expensive (Class C) wards, where you can receive up to 80 per cent subsidy on your bill, or going for less expensive but similarly effective treatments.
You can also ask the hospital’s medical social worker about available financial assistance plans, such as Medifund which is available at all government hospitals and specialty centres.
Example of how MediShield and Medisave help with a large bill (for up to 85 per cent of all patients)
Background: 70-year-old female
Patient condition: Hip fracture
Length of stay: Eight days in Class C ward
| Ward and treatment charges
| Surgical procedure
| Total bill before govt subsidy
| Total bill after govt subsidy
| MediShield pays
| Medisave pays
| Cash needed
Myth #2 I don’t need ElderShield because I already have MediShield.
MediShield and ElderShield are two different schemes serving different needs. MediShield helps you meet the large costs of hospitalisation (in Class B2/C wards) or surgeries, while ElderShield covers your long-term care expenses due to severe age-related disabilities.
Myth #3 Because of means testing in hospitals, I can no longer be admitted into Class B2/C wards.
Anyone can choose to stay in Class B2/C wards. Means testing helps hospitals gauge your ability to pay, so more resources are channelled to those in greater need. If you choose not to be means tested, you will still receive the minimum subsidy, which is 50 per cent for Class B2 and 65 per cent for Class C.
For more information:
- On Medisave, MediShield and the Primary Care Partnership Scheme, visit the Ministry of Health website at www.moh.gov.sg.
- On Medisave, MediShield and Medisave- approved Integrated Shield Plans, visit the Central Provident Fund Board website at www.cpf.gov.sg.
- On financial assistance with Intermediate and Long-Term Care services, visit the Agency for Integrated Care website at www.aic.sg.
- On using Medisave for chronic diseases, visit the Health Promotion Board website at www.hpb.gov.sg.