Managing medical costs in retirement
Retirees have reason to cheer with the liberalisation of use of Medisave on 1 March 2010 which helps save out-of-pocket medical expenses. Since last year, Singaporeans and permanent residents are allowed to use Medisave to cover costs incurred from elective hospitalisation and surgeries overseas which are generally lower compared with medical procedures conducted in Singapore. Locally, cataract surgery costs $3,100-4,500. Performed in Malaysia, it only costs patients $1,500-1,800.
For individuals not cash-strapped, it could mean getting medical treatment and a holiday for the same amount or less. These upsides are drawing droves of patients and medical tourists to Malaysian medical facilities with Singapore-based Health Management International (HMI), which runs Regency Specialist Hospital in Johor Baru and Malacca’s Mahkota Medical Centre, seeing 60 per cent increase in the number of Singaporeans and Singapore permanent residents (PRs) visiting its hospitals from 2010-11 as compared to 2009-10.
Lee So Chow, chief executive of Johor-based Regency Specialist Hospital (RSH) said that, “There is increasing medical tourism and we want to be poised to offer medical tourists value for money’. “Our charges are reasonable as our cost is lower (compared to hospitals in Singapore or Kuala Lumpur),” mentioned Timothy Chang, chief executive officer of Mahkota Medical Centre. As a matter of fact, charges for both local and foreign patients at Mahkota are the same.
To those suggesting that cheaper costs are tied to inferior healthcare would care to know that Mahkota doctors are mostly trained in Australia and the UK. It was also announced last week that Mahkota Medical Group will spend RM250 million to RM300 million to expand Mahkota Medical Centre in Malacca, adding 220 beds (expected to be ready by end 2014) to the existing 280-bed facility.
The 1 March 2010 regulatory changes allow patients to tap into Medisave to pay for private medical care at 12 Malaysian hospitals and medical centres linked to referral centres in Singapore. These medical facilities are owned by Singapore health-care groups Health Management International Ltd (HMI) and Parkway Holdings.
Rising living and healthcare costs lead more Singaporeans and PRs including retirees and senior citizens to actively seek quality, cost-effective healthcare options; so much so that Healthway Medical Corp, Singapore’s largest network of private medical centres and clinics of primary healthcare, dental and specialist services has also joined the foray into the medical tourism market. In latest developments, Healthway Medical Development purchased a land site in Kuala Lumpur and incorporated Healthway Medical Centre (KLCC). This can only provide more cheer to Singapore patients and their families.
To ensure quality healthcare amidst rising medicals costs, we need to ask:
• What are the types and profiles of medical tourists from Singapore?
• And what are their primary medical concerns and service requirements?
• When a patient opts for a Malaysian hospital, what does the application process involve?
• How much Medisave can be used to cover elective hospitalisation and surgeries overseas?
Leaders in Healthcare Talk Show on 3 September, 2011 (Saturday) is a high-impact gathering of Singapore patients and their families with the right healthcare providers combining interactive and personalised sharing of quality, cost-effective healthcare options, professional benchmarking among the Asian healthcare industry leaders and rational consideration of the merits of medical tourism among Asian countries.
# # #
If you’d like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview with the speakers at
Leaders in Healthcare Talk Show 2011, please call Eunice Wee at (+65) 6844 2080 or email Eunice at email@example.com
Keywords: C3A, Healthway Medical Corp, HMI, Lee So Chow, Mahkota Medical Centre, Medisave, Parkway Holdings, PRs, Regency Specialist Hospital, Timothy Chang
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