Thursday, December 11, 2014

Hefty Medical Bill

My mum went for a cataract operation on her left eye at Changi Hospital. The bill comes up to more than $3K. Most seniors will end up with cataract and doing 2 eyes will set one back by more than $6K !  Even with the so call govt 'grant', the bill is more than $1K for one eye. (Pioneer card, Medishield all not applicable for cataract operation)

This is crazy as cataract is such a common procedure nowadays, which is make 'easier' with medical and technology advancement. One would have thought the fee should not see such drastic increase.   The closest comparison is Lasik surgery for vision correct. The cost has been coming down over the years. So why is cataract surgery cost heading up ?

Then the bill is not clear.  'CONSUMABLES' are listed twice which total near to $300 - what are these consumables is not stated.  There is a charge for 'OTHER PROCEDURES' which amounts to $65.42  - no idea what procedures are these. Some 'CONSUMABLES' I can think of were the 1 cup of Milo, 1 slice of bread, hospital grown and 4 bottle of eye drops.

It seems funny that these 'CONSUMABLES' cost more than the main item which is len implant which is $177.50. After all cataract operation is about replacing the len.

The highest cost in the bill is the  'FACILITY FEE' which is  $1551.50 !!

All these so call govt 'grant' or 'subsidy' is not making sense. Just like at the Polyclinic where the consultation fee before 'grant' is more than what most GPs would charge.  Even some of their common medication cost is higher when compare to private pharmacies. We are talking here of non-prescription medication easily available at local pharmacies.

So looks like hospital is doing the same thing.  Jack up the fee for everything, then apply the govt 'grant' and the bill looks good on paper.  We always end up paying higher medical fee with higher govt 'grand'.  What is the point then ?  Control medical cost instead !

Why build such big fanciful hospitals and end up patients have to pay for all the 'frills' ? The Chinese saying about 'look good but taste terrible' aptly applies to our hospital.  What a large building but the waiting time for a consultation averages 3 hours. It is so overcrowded in the waiting rooms ! 

If a simple day surgery cost is so expensive, one shivers to think what bill will be for serious chronic diseases involving deteriorating internal organs like our aging heart, kidney, liver......

Hefty medical bills are 'killing' off the poor patients after they survive their illness.

Here is a comparison of FACILITY FEE of hospitals from family record - all day operation without hospitalisation :

2004  Changi Hospital $534  for pile removal
2005  KK Hospital (formal one) $ 329 for abscess removal
2009  Changi Hospital $273 for release of trigger finger
2010  SNEC $605 for Lasik for vision correction
2014  Changi Hospital $$1551.50 for cataract operation


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