Medical Costs in Singapore Need Greater Attention

I had a wisdom tooth extraction at the Raffles Hospital (Dental) two days ago. It was done by Dr Emmanuel Taylor and I am very pleased with his treatment. I will possibly go back to him for any future dental care.

I had no hesitation in going ahead with the surgery on the day of consultation itself as his opinion was identical to the one I received at the Apollo Dental Centre in Chennai when I was there recently. Both the centres had sophisticated equipment though I think the ones at Raffles were a little more recent.

I was back to normal in less than two days, thanks to Dr Taylor!

X-Rays Not Shared: I was provided with a CD copy of the X-ray done at Apollo (even without me asking for it) whereas I did not get one at Raffles despite asking for it. This is a problem with all hospitals in Singapore. They are reluctant to part with the X-rays taken there.

Whatever may be the reason for that, I think it should be made mandatory for all hospitals to hand a copy of the X-ray to patients. It will help those who may want to have a second opinion before they decide on any procedure.

Also, typically, dental centres provide gauze pads for periodical replacements when the one they put in post-extraction becomes soaked with blood.

I did not get this at Raffles, possibly because of some oversight by the counter staff.

Cost: The extraction cost me S$1283.45 out of which S$1161.35 was covered by my MediSave. I paid the balance of S$122.10 in cash.

Charges at most hospitals in Singapore are around the same for similar treatments. In fact, some smaller hospitals charge more.

In contrast, I was told at the Apollo Dental Centre in Chennai that the extraction would cost me around Rs 3000-Rs 4000. That is just around S$75, much less than the amount I had to fork out after the MediSave deduction.

Apollo Dental is just as big as Raffles, for the record. It is a joint venture with Apollo Hospitals.

Medical costs are way too high in Singapore and the insurance coverage is almost farcical, protecting the insurers more than the policy-holders.

In its Golden Jubilee year, Singapore has to pay greater attention to medical costs and the overall cost of living here rather than on boosting its population through mindless manpower imports. Overpopulation is what that is making Singapore costlier for its citizens.

G Joslin Vethakumar

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Filed under Health and wellness, Medical costs in Singapore

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