Thursday, 11 March 2010

Medisave use in hospitals abroad allowed

From March 1, Singaporeans and permanent residents will be able to use their Medisave to pay for hospitalisation overseas, starting with two providers - Health Management International (HMI) and Parkway Holdings.

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Guanyu 道 said...

Medisave use in hospitals abroad allowed

Scheme starts on March 1, with HMI and Parkway

By NISHA RAMCHANDANI
11 February 2010

From March 1, Singaporeans and permanent residents will be able to use their Medisave to pay for hospitalisation overseas, starting with two providers - Health Management International (HMI) and Parkway Holdings.

They may also use their Medisave to pay for overseas treatment for immediate kin if the family members are residents here.

The new scheme is expected to give Singaporeans a wider variety of choice which could translate to cost savings. Presently, Medisave can be used overseas only for emergency hospitalisation.

However, on top of the existing conditions generally applicable to treatment in Singapore, additional ones will apply for the liberalised scheme which kicks in from March.

Firstly, Medisave cannot be used for outpatient treatment in overseas hospitals. The overseas hospital must have an approved working arrangement with a Medisave-accredited institution/ referral centre here in Singapore, which will refer patients to the overseas hospital. The local centre must also provide pre-admission clinical assessment and financial counselling to the patient.

Explaining initial concerns about allowing the use of Medisave for non-emergency hospitalisation, Minister for Health Khaw Boon Wan wrote in his blog yesterday: ‘For non-emergency hospitalisation, MOH had a number of concerns. We have no regulatory jurisdiction over these hospitals. We cannot be sure of their standard.’

He went on to add that it would be difficult for the Ministry of Health (MOH) to audit the hospitals when it comes to instances such as fraudulent claims.

HMI has set up its local Medisave-accredited referral centre at its Balestier Clinic and Health Screening Centre. It will work with its two overseas subsidiaries - its 218-bed Regency Specialist Hospital in Johor Baru and its flagship, 235-bed Makhota Medical Centre in Malacca.

Since its official launch last November, Regency has seen an increasing number of patients and enquiries from Singapore, HMI said yesterday.

‘Regency has 15 Singapore-based specialists credentialed to treat patients on both sides of the border. HMI is also in the process of applying for Malaysian practising licences for more Singapore specialists, so that Singapore patients can benefit from their dual practices in both Singapore and Regency or Mahkota,’ highlighted Dr Gan See Khem, executive chairman of HMI.

Meanwhile, Parkway Holdings’ Medisave-accredited referral centre is 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.