Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Use of Medisave overseas

SINGAPORE residents will be able to use their Medisave to help pay for their hospitalisation overseas under certain conditions from March 1, the Ministry of Health announced on Wednesday.

Currently, they can only do so for emergency hospitalisation.

The move follows a dialogue with NTUC union leaders, who had asked for the scheme to be extended to elective hospitalisation overseas, to give patients a wider choice and allow them to take advantage of the lower cost of hospitalisation overseas.

'MOH has studied the suggestion. Our concern is quality of care and potential abuses, both of which will not be in the patients' interest. We have decided to try it out,' said a statement from MOH.

For the extension, the following additional conditions will apply, besides the existing conditions applicable to treatment in Singapore:

* Medisave usage will only be limited to hospitalisations and day surgeries, meaning it cannot be used for outpatient treatment.

* The overseas hospital must have an approved working arrangement with a Medisave-accredited institution or referral centre in Singapore.

* The patient must be referred through a Medisave-accredited institution/referral centre in Singapore.

* The local centre must provide pre-admission clinical assessment and financial counselling to the interested patient.

* The local centre will be accountable for patient satisfaction and the clinical outcome.

MOH said the scheme will start off with two providers: Health Management International (HMI) and Parkway Holdings.

HMI has set up its local Medisave-accredited referrel centre at its Balestier Clinic and Health Screening Centre. It will work with its two overseas subsidiaries: Regency Specialist Hospital in Johor Bahru and Makhota Medical Centre in Malacca.

Parkway Holdings has set up a Medisave-accredited referral centre at East Shore Hospital. It will partner nine hospitals under the Pantai group in different states of Malaysia, as well as the Gleneagles Intan Medical Centre, Kuala Lumpur.

Patients interested in making use of this scheme may approach the two healthcare providers directly.

Source: The Straits Times

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