He paid zero cash for his emergency heart surgery performed during the covid-19 pandemic.
“ Wo mai ka jiao ba lan! Hou ba lan qua yi se seng! (I don’t want to disrupt others! Let the others see the doctors first!) ”.
Like most of the pioneer generation, 80-year- old Mr Tan is a very considerate old man. He was scheduled for his heart surgery to replace the old pacemaker when the covid-19 hit.
Soon he found himself getting more and more breathless. Every step he took was a tedious chore. He scheduled himself for a checkup and a replacement for the pacemaker. Surgery was performed and he recuperated in a C class ward for about four days.
He sat down on his sofa and pulled out his hospital bill. “I want to prove that I never have to worry about my hospital bills. See? ZERO CASH!” He exclaimed in Hokkien, waving the piece of hospital bill in front of my face.
I studied his hospital bill. First, he received subsidies of up to 80% for your hospitalisation bill for his C ward. Secondly, the MediShield Life provided him with health insurance coverage and it is for life, regardless of age, health condition and pre-existing conditions. It paid for a part of his hospitalization bill and for his medications and his home device used for the transmission of his heart rate reading. This device sends the report to the doctor-in-charge of his heart condition. The last part of his bill was covered fully by his Medisave.
“You stayed in the C ward? Are your doctor and nurses good?” I asked naively.
He looked at me in the eye and replied in his dialect, “This doctor has been taking care of me for a long time. Regardless of the ward you choose, the quality of care is the same. I asked you to come and see me today because I want to show to other people. Who says that Singaporeans don’t get healthcare subsidies? You don’t ask for too much and no Singaporeans will be left to walk alone.”