Last Updated on 2, April 2014
For the past few months, I have a few relatives and clients who complained about hospital services:
One relative was in pain and went to Changi hospital. She was discharged and told that nothing was wrong with her. Her pain persisted and her family members brought her to EastShore hospital. After investigation, she was diagnosed as having cancer. Due to high cost in Eastshore, they went to SGH to have the operation done.
Another relative could not pass urine and admitted to Changi hospital. Eventually he was diagnosed with having prostate cancer by the hospital. However, they want to conduct more test to check to what extend the cancer has spread. Unfortunately the appointment for the test takes weeks and weeks. Till now, there is no plan for operation or treatment because the tests have not been completed all thanks to the long long wait for test appointments. It has already been more than one month already. Even if his cancer was early stage, it could have advance to the next stage by the time the treatment is started.
Yesterday my client told me that his wife was diagnosed with stage 1 cancer at the age of just 36. He complained that despite being a non-subsided patient in SGH, his wife has to wait for a super long queue for the test. Seems to be the same problem as Changi. At the end, they gave up and went to Raffles Hospital which conducted the test and operation within one week. Now that his wife has recovered from the operation, she has started her chemotherapy.
In all the above, it can be seen that government hospital is quite hopeless in their medical service. Both Changi and SGH were very slow in their appointments for test. For the second case, the operation done in SGH was fast because Eastshore had already did all the necessary test. Also being a private patient in a government hospital does not mean better service. Despite not being subsided, the standard of service in the government hospital is terrible as well.
Therefore, I always urge my clients to ensure their hospitalization shield plan covers private hospital. Most clients take up my advice but a minority went against my advice. For this minority, I find that their decision is quite penny-wise but pound-foolish.
By the way, NTUC Income has tighten their underwriting for their shield plan. For example, those with high cholesterol diagnosed before the age 35 is considered a confirmed decline case (ie. uninsurable). A confirm decline case means that the insurer will never accept the case regardless of what medical evidence one can produce to support the case. They told us never to submit those “confirm decline” case.
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