PR patient denied Class C hospitalisation?

PR patient’s medical bills expected to hit $100,000? 

I refer to the article “Rare illness renders a nurse in need of help” (theonlinecitizen, Jan 2).

It states that “The family’s tried to get a cheaper Class C6 ward, only to be told that these were only open to citizens, and that they would have to choose within the Class B range. It’s not just the rooms they’ll have to pay more for – every single treatment is more expensive, even if it’s identical to what’s offered in Class C.”

According to the Ministry of Health (MOH) web site – the Permanent Resident Subsidy Level for Class C is from 55 to 32.5%, depending on the income of the patient, and that for B2 is from 40 to 25%.

Denied Class C?

So, I think we may need some clarification on “The family’s tried to get a cheaper Class C6 ward, only to be told that these were only open to citizens, and that they would have to choose within the Class B range”.

Is she in B2 or B1? Was she denied Class C on admission because she is a PR? Or was she denied Class C or B2 because she was referred by a private clinic? Or was she denied Class C because she specifically selected her physician?

Or was she denied downgrading to Class C, after being admitted in Class B2 or B1?

No Medishield cover?

The article seems to imply that she does not have Medishield? Was she uninsurable?

I understand that about a year or so ago, the criteria was relaxed for Medishield such that even persons with disabilities may be insured with possible exclusions on pre-existing conditions.

Was she aware of this, if she was uninsurable?

No one shall be denied treatment?

I understand that no one, including PRs, shall be denied treatment in a public hospital because they have difficulty paying their medical bills.

Has the family talked to the financial counseling section of the hospital about paying by instalments?

No corporate insurance?

Since as reported in the article – her employer appears to be a private healthcare group – was she covered by an employer’ corporate medical insurance plan? From postings in facebook from her friends, it seems that she is covered by an employer’s corporate insurance plan.

So, is the expected amount of over $100,000 in addition to the coverage provided by the corporate insurance plan?

Shortcomings of over-reliance on Medisave for insurance?

Whatever the answers may be to the above questions, what this story may have highlighted is the shortcomings of our current healthcare system, whereby even government agencies leave it to their employees to arrange their own CPF medical insurance plan (because they have contributions to Medisave?), such as Medishield, without realising that for those with pre-existing conditions – they may not be able to obtain coverage or coverage without exclusions, which as I understand it is only currently available vide certain private corporate health insurance plans which may say start to cover pre-existing conditions after 1 year of enrolment, or even from enrolment if the company’s group size is large enough.

Financial counseling

May I suggest that the family may like to meet us for free financial counseling on Thursday, 9 January, 8 pm at 1 Siang Kuang Ave (by appointment only) – I can be contacted through theonlinecitizen’s Executive Editor, Terry Xu, at

Leong Sze Hian

About the Author

Leong Sze Hian has served as the president of 4 professional bodies, honorary consul of 2 countries, an alumnus of Harvard University, authored 4 books, quoted over 1500 times in the media , has been a radio talkshow host, a newspaper daily columnist, Wharton Fellow, SEACeM Fellow, columnist for theonlinecitizen and Malaysiakini, executive producer of Ilo Ilo (40 international awards), Hotel Mumbai (associate producer), invited to speak more than 200 times in about 40 countries, CIFA advisory board member, founding advisor to the Financial Planning Associations of 2 countries. He has 3 Masters, 2 Bachelors degrees and 13 professional  qualifications.