Posts Tagged ‘Medifund’

If you thought polyclinic fees are low, wait till you read this….

In News Reports, Society on October 30, 2014 at 7:49 am

Sorry! I thought of trying out this new-fangled way of telling stories these days. In any case, my headline is probably far better than the two I read today in MSM regarding the use of Medifund.

TODAY: 30 % rise in Medifund applications approved

ST: Medifund disbursements rise 27 % to $130m last year

My first thought was, wow, a lot of money. So are more people getting sicker, medical bills getting heavier or what? The applications rose from 587,000 the previous year to 766,000 last year, ST said adding that it reflected the wider range of people getting help, such as children from poor families. Then came this line that inpatients get about $1,579 and outpatients get $103. Outpatients? Since when? I turned to TODAY and realised that Medifund was extended to polyclinics last June. And that there were 68,000 approved applications for polyclinic patients. My goodness! That’s a lot of people who cannot afford $100 in polyclinic fees! What did they do in the past about their medical bills? With Pioneer Generation Package and all, I sure hope the figure will come down.

Still on health, I did a double take when I saw the headline 9% of woman have HPV infections: Study. I read it at first as HIV! But what in heaven’s name is HPV and is it serious? A line below the headline said that although the body naturally clears the virus, some women risk getting cervical cancer. The report said half of this group of HPV-infected have the high risk strains that are associated with cervical cancer. I go on reading about the state of HPV in Europe and Africa and how cervical cancer is among top 10 cancers for women and how 200 women here are diagnosed with it every year and one woman dies of it every three days……..and I am getting more and more worried and then! I read one doctor saying don’t worry, the body flushes out the virus naturally and the chances of HPV leading to cervical cancer are less than 1 per cent!

Seems the message is, please get yourself screened for cervical cancer, ladies.

PS. HPV stands for human papillomavirus

Bikini news

Because I don’t like stuffing news in briefs….

  1. The case of the Starbucks seat-hog

I was wondering when MSM would latch on to this kerfuffle that went viral for a couple of days about a kid who was unhappy that her books were cleared away at a Starbucks outlet. Seems she stepped out for half an hour (I would have finished my coffee by then) and returned to find that her belongings were no longer “choping’’ the seat. And instead of feeling chastened, she proceeded to rant on Starbucks FB page or something. Well, the story is in ST today although subsumed in a general trend story which it believes nobody in Singapore appears to know – that students study in cafes. Predictable comments came from café managers and students – good place to study, hard to shoo them away, we’ll move if we told to…you know the variety.

I have been much too annoyed with such students for too long. May I propose that the café staff wear badges when they move through the premises.

Badges can say:

“Stop hogging the seat, you pig!’’ This is the angry badge

“Is that a person or a bag sitting on the chair?’’ or the sarcastic badge

“A cluttered table reflects an untidy mind’’, which is the more erudite sounding one

“Home is a cool place to study too’’, which champions family togetherness

“You’ll fail anyway’’.

Nuff said.

  1. The ball is thrown back to Parliament again

I admire the tenacity of the people who went to court to challenge the constitutional position on gays. But I wonder if they realised that it would be a forgone conclusion. That section 377A criminalising homosexual sex is something for the legislature, the court reiterated. And the constitution never mentioned sex, gender or sexual orientation when it said it would give people equal protection under the law – just race, religion, place of birth and descent. As for the right to “liberty’’, it means the right to not be unlawfully jailed, rather than the right to privacy and personal autonomy. The court sounded almost chagrined when it threw out the challenge. Nothing this court can do, a judge said. The remedy “if at all’’, is in the legislative sphere. Hmm. Looks like Parliament is the last stop. Seems to me that someone should put forward a motion to debate this. OR continue the trend of putting up Private Members’ Bills (we’ve got one on sex trafficking and animal protection after all) to seek an amendment?


A healthcare begging bowl

In Money, News Reports, Society on February 25, 2013 at 2:02 am

We’re all talking about healthcare these days and whether we can afford to get sick in our silver years. Economists are wondering if the healthcare system should be reformed – why save so much money in Medisave when some of us need it now? Can’t the G share of the bill be higher? And my own favourite question: Has anyone ever been bankrupted by a medical bill?

So I read with interest The Sunday Times story on Medifund, that last safety net in our 3M system. I gather that this is for those who have depleted their Medisave (and those of their immediate family members?) and who didn’t sign up for Medishield. At least, that’s what I think the criteria is since it hasn’t been publicised with the G seeming to prefer a “case-by-case’’ basis.

I have friends who have been helped by Medifund, for which they are grateful to the G. It’s good that people are “grateful’’ but should it be the case that they look to G largesse to foot medical bills. I mean, no one intentionally gets sick. So I read about Health Minister Gan Kim Yong vowing that no one will be denied healthcare because they can’t afford it. He’s said it before, probably more than twice, and so has every Health minister before him. The ST led with this assurance – again, although the news should really be how many people have been helped by Medifund. I can’t help but think that the problem can be fixed at the root, but I will leave that to health economists.

Anyway, Medifund disbursements have increased from$78.7 m in 2011 to $90.8 m last year. Number of applications approved shot up from 480,869 to 518,389. The rise is attributed to greater flexibility to medical social workers to say yes to applications, although I still don’t know what is “flexible’’. As compared to what?

I tempted to say “wah, so generous now…’’ but I won’t. Because the figures are troubling. So many people need help with their medical bills, so much so that there is a “shortfall’’ – Medifund, an endowment fund, paid out more than its income for the first time. There is one more figure which appals me: That 96 per cent of the applications were for out-patient bills. I mean, so many people cannot afford out-patient bills? Something is wrong somewhere no? Especially since an in-patient received $1,295 while an outpatient get $103. So many people cannot pay $100 or so? How come? Is it because the medical problems aren’t covered by Medisave in the first place? Or they really, really are destitute?

I really think we need to look hard at the figures..

Then I read today in ST about medical centres in the Orchard Road belt. It’s an exclusive by ST I believe, so I’ll just sum it up here: Basically, the Raffles Medical Group wants to convert seven podium floors of Thong Sia building into a medical centre and applied to the URA to do so. As usual, there was a bureaucratic gobblededook response: “We evaluated the new proposed use taking into consideration specific site context, the impact of the proposed use on the amenity and surrounding uses, and the local road infrastructure capacity in that area, and decided to turn down the proposal.” In other words, the URA said no.

The ST has an interesting graphic on all the medical centres in the Orchard Road belt. Go buy ST. Did you know Pacific Plaza is converting the top seven floors of its 12-storey building into 22 medical “suites’’? The private medical centres are everywhere in the shopping district. Raffles wants to use Thong Sia to serve the “significant number of patients who live in District 9, 10 and 11’’ and foreign visitors, its spokesman said.

I don’t know why the URA said no. Apparently no parking space and complaints of residents have something to do with it. I don’t want to be envious, but I am. Nor do I want to say that private sector initiative should be stifled given Singapore’s bid to be a medical hub. But this story coming after the Medifund story really makes you think about the healthcare system in Singapore. Can we look after our needy sick in a better way than have them go with a begging bowl to the G?

Enough in Medifund?

In News Reports, Society on July 23, 2012 at 1:02 am

When a policy change kicks in, another must surely follow to keep pace. Now that Medishield changes have been announced with higher premiums and cash upfront before the insurance kicks in, is there enough in Medifund to keep pace?
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong says that the poor who can’t afford the cash up front or deductible can turn to Medifund. The question is: How much does Medifund have? What have the pay outs been like? How much has gone into paying for deductibles and how much for other medical bills? I’m sure there have been past reports, but an update is timely given the new circumstances. Also, is Medifund the ONLY recourse? I believe there are others but signing up for them disqualifies you from Medifund aid.
I have always thought a newspaper has three functions: To inform, entertain and educate. In my view, they translate into news, views, reviews and news-you-can-use. I’d like to see more of the last. Interestingly, there was prominent explanation on U-save being applicable to households rather than individuals. A good newspaper’s job must be to make our lives easier. In this case, it did. But as that old cliche goes, more can be done