Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Medical expenses of parents

Dear Mr. Tan,
Thank you for your many insightful postings, I believe many people benefit from your blog.

My parents, who are current in their mid-sixties, are working class people, who worked hard to bring up my siblings and I. They don't have much savings, nor much in their medisave accounts. I don't believe their included under Eldershield.

Is there a good way to plan for their future medical needs? Based on some earlier posts on your blog, insurance for the elderly seems to be expensive. They'd probably exclude coverage on what my parents really need coverage on (my dad has a history of hypertension, so I believe all heart conditions are excluded?).

So far, I can only think of setting aside a lumpsum of cash in FD, as an emergency fund. However, being of limited means, I am not sure how much to set aside as well. I've taken a look at the MOH medical bills, and wonder which bills to take into consideration. I suppose I should also need to take into consideration my medisave savings, since they can be used for my parents.

You can top up the Medisave account of your parents and enjoy some tax relief. Your parents can use the Medisave to buy Medishield or pay their medical bills out of Medisave, if they are not insured.

Most importantly, they should go to a subsidised ward if they fall ill, as the cost is much lower than a non-subsidised ward or private hospital. The medical care in the subsidised ward is of quite acceptable standard.

I hope that they can stay in good health and do not require hospitalisation.


Anonymous said...

From my own experience with my father's hospitalisation bill 3 years ago, Mr Tan KL is correct to say that going to a subsidised ward will really save a huge amount off the total hospitalisation bill.

When my father went for his colon cancer operation a few years ago, the total hospitalisation bill was around 20k. Luckily, I did buy the ntuc income shield for him years ago. The first $1,500 will be paid by Medisave. We warded him in the ward 2B category. Government subsidy was about 65%. The ntuc income shield covered around 80-90% of the bill. In the end, I only need to pay around 2K cash.

The class 2A and above ward category will get much much less subsidy. The medicine charge is more costly in the higher ward category also.

Class 2B is non airconditioned. But each bed has it's own fan. Besides the airconditioned environment there is not much different between the type of medical treatment you get.

The amount of cash that you have to pay for choosing ward 2A and above category will give you a heart attack if financial is a concern.

Lastly, you can only upgrade from the lower category to the higher ward. You can't downgrade from a higher category to a lower category ward. The admission office has a booklet "Introduction To Medisave, Medishield, Medifund" from the Ministry of Health. The information is useful and will help you to get some idea on the hospitalisation cost struchture.


Anonymous said...

Take a look at Straits Times (dated 18 May) on page A13, headlined
"Destination Malaysia for health care"

We need to consider Malaysia and Thailand for our affordable healthcare needs.

And Malaysia and Batam for our housing needs when
- we retire or
- get retrenched (with benefits if you are lucky)
- or sacked (with no benefits if you are a PMET)

dsowerg said...

I second Mr Tan's suggestion that your parents use subsidised medical services where possible. My mother underwent an operation and I foolishly forced her to take a Class B1 ward (not subsidised). She didn't like the ward; she preferred non-aircon ward and a more open layout, which was Class C! Furthermore, after she was discharged, she had to pay private rates for her follow-up!

I stay in Class C wards myself and they are really not too bad. Sure you see the specialist once in a blue moon but the medical care is adequate.

Of course having Medishield at the very least is essential.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I think non-aircon ward is better as it has better air circulation hence less virus within the room. Elderly people usually prefers non-aircon but we as their children thought that aircon ward is better and always go again their wishes. Besides, you will need to pay much more cash for staying those few days in an aircon ward.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, there are howlian or people who think private host. is better. They should not complain.
Go for 'C' and the medishield will pay 85%.

ex-Patient said...

Hospital stays that are longer than 3 days can be quite lonely and stressful. being able to see, talk, hear other patients and their visitors can help past the time during recovery.
Therefore choosing C ward can be better and cheaper.
The treatment and reviews by doctors or specialists are the same. Medical practitioners need a consideral time and frequency to learn from experience and varied cases. C class offers them that.

After 2 or 3rd day, you may upgrade to a better class, if you are the fussy type and cannot sleep from all the noise and commotion at night from the nurses.

Sometimes, despite electing for C class, the hgospital may not have sufficient beds and you might be uprgraded to a more luxurious class! ( just like hotel and car rentals )

Know the system, ask and people ( for example here,) are more than happy to share.

Best wishes to all, may you all remain healthy and strong!

Anonymous said...

At least your parents are still working. My parents stopped work years ago & expect us to fork out their monthly allowances when our salaries had gone stagnant for many years.

Linda said...

As this article is saying that we should save money for future medical expenses.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Tan,

I am currently paying the premium for Incomeshield for my children since young, two of whom are now working and are covered by their employers.

Is it a waste of money to pay for Incomeshield when they are already covered by their employers? I am continuing the coverage because they may need it in future when ultimately they stop working and have to pay for their own medical insurance cover. If I stop the coverage now, I am afraid they may become uninsurable in the very distant future when they may retire, stop working etc.

What are your thoughts on this?
Thank you

Anonymous said...

My 80yo father stay in Woodlands. He choose AH for his hospitalisation 2 months ago. It cost only S$700 for 5 days stay in C class.

AH is not a popular hospital but less crowded and cheaper.Currently, AH is taken over by JGH.

I am 50+, I would prefer cheap, fast & good service in a Thailand international hospital.
Doctor in Thailand are English speaking. (Forget Thais polity! It is not an issue for SG!)

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