I read from the newspaper in horror that Singapore has the fifth highest kidney failure rate in the world. What is even worse is that there are some kidney patients who refused treatment because they cannot afford to do so.
The article published on 24 February 2014 by Straits Times entitled “Some kidney patients refuse treatment and choose to die” stated that Khoo Teck Puat Hospital had 24 patients suitable for dialysis declined the procedure in 2011. Two of them wanted treatment but families refused (perhaps due to financial?); 4 turned down because they did not want to burden their family and six rejected dialysis because it was too expensive. In other words, 12 or 50% turned down kidney dialysis likely due to financial reason.
The newspaper also stated that the kidney dialysis cost $2,500 to more than $4000 a month. Voluntary welfare organizations would charge at a subsidized rate depending on the outcome of means-testing.
I checked the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) website. It does not state how it would mean test other than must not own a private property above $11,000 per annum in annual value (AV). Note that its “private property”. The AV is the estimated annual rent of the property if it were to be rented out, excluding the furniture, furnishings and maintenance fees. For 2014, the AV for a 4 room HDB flat is $10,500 - $11,700. So you can imagine that it is highly likely any private property would have exceeded $11,000 pretty easily.
For Kidney Dialysis Foundation (KDF), it states applicant family’s monthly per capital income cannot exceed $1,500. For a household of 3 persons (husband, wife and 1 child) with both husband & wife working, the income of each must not exceed 1500 x 3 / 2 = $2250!
What the above means (either by AV or by income) is that the subsidy isn’t available for many of the middle class individuals. The low-income group has subsidy, the high networth is rich enough to build hospitals but the middle class has to depend on themselves. That is why financial planning is so important.
Note that Medishield Life which will be made compulsory in 2015 for all including those with pre-existing condition. This is good news for those who are currently uninsurable and did not enroll in Medishield either by choice or by circumstances. However, I do not think the coverage for kidney dialysis under Medishield Life will be significantly too different Medishield's. Currently Medishield pays $1000 per month for Kidney Dialysis. I do not think the new Medishield Life will offer significantly higher than this amount other than adjustment for inflation.
This article was first posted on CPF's IM$avvy website:http://www.cpf.gov.sg/imsavvy/blog_post.asp?postid=829036359-485-3152734636
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