Monday, November 14, 2011

More Singaporeans crossing over for cheaper medical treatment

Sunday November 13, 2011

SINGAPORE: When Goh Chai Gek wanted to deliver her baby boy, she decided it would be cheaper to head across the Causeway.

The total cost of her caesarean section delivery was about RM8,190, including three nights.

It would typically have come up to about S$5,840 (RM14,333) in a hospital here, meaning she enjoyed savings of about 40%.

“I could also claim the amount from Medisave,” said the 30-year-old accountant.

Lured by savings of up to 50%, growing numbers of Singaporeans and PRs are travelling to Malaysia for medical treatment. It comes after the Singapore Government relaxed rules in March last year to allow Medisave to be used to pay for hospitalisation and day surgery treatment in 12 hospitals there.

Those crossing the Causeway for hospital treatment will soon have more choice, when a S$2bil (RM4.9bil) medical hub a joint project between billionaire Singa-pore investor Peter Lim and the Johor royal family opens in 2015.

Before the liberalisation, Medisave could be used only in Singapore, or for emergency treatment overseas.

Health Management International (HMI) and Parkway Pantai Group are currently the only two healthcare groups here accredited to refer patients to Malaysia.

An HMI spokesman said yesterday that 120 patients had used Medisave overseas for their medical treatments to date.

HMI has two hospitals in Malaysia the Regency Specialist Hospital in Johor Baru and Mahkota Medical Centre in Malacca.

Most of the cases are obstetrics and gynaecology. Cardiology, colorectal surgery, ophthalmology and orthopaedic surgery are other commonly sought treatments. - The Straits Times / Asia News Network