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Using Daughter’s Medisave to pay for Mother’s Outpatient Cancer Diagnostic Tests

March 31, 2010

 

One of the best things I love about Singapore is that I can use my Medisave contributions to pay for my mother’s outpatient Cancer Diagnostic Tests and even her Hospital Bills (Mastectomy).

What I hate the most about Singapore are the following:

1.        that it seems the administrative staff of Public Hospitals are unaware that I can used my MEdisave to pay for Diagnostic Tests for Cancer (test costs from $90- 800 sgd).

2.       That nobody in these hospitals will warn you about the side effects of Conventional Cancer Diagnostic Tests like MRI, CT Scan, Xray and most of all Mammograms to both abnormal/cancerous and normal cells (note: in fairness, I think this is common to all hospitals regardless if it is a Singapore Hospital or overseas hospital)

After the Ultrasound, Mammograms and Biopsy at Raffles Hospital confirmed that my mother have Breast Cancer, we went to National Cancer Centre Singapore Clinic A for a second opinion.  The surgeon ordered another series of diagnostic tests for my mother.  

Here is our experience:

1st visit: We produced my NRIC and my mother’s Green Card (LVTP or Dependent Pass) ,as per the instruction #1.  I told the admin staff that I will use my Medisave to pay and even showed my birth certicate. She said, is your mother a PR? I said No, I am PR and she is my mother.  She said, oh you have to pay cash or credit card for her diagnostic tests. My mother having cancer is already stressful as it is, but this lady made our day more stressful than it could be. So, for the first diagnostic test, not knowing how to justify my case, I just paid in cash.

The night after the 1st visit: I went home to research about my right to use my Medisave to pay for my mother’s diagnostic tests. In addition, printed my CPF Statement, as well as the Medisave Authorisation Form.

2nd visit: So, the following week, we were again at the National Cancer Centre (NCCS) Clinic A, for another diagnostic test. Same discussion, they insisted that we have to pay in cash and credit card. I told them, NO, I want to use my Medisave! I gave them the copy of my CPF statement and still all of the girls behind the table did not seem to understand what I am trying to say. I had a feeling that this is the first time they have to deal with a Foreigner (my mother), who will be using her Daughter’s Medisave to pay for diagnostic tests. After a few minutes of “educating” this administrative staff, they finally allowed me to use my Medisave for the diagnostic tests, without even apologizing for their ignorance. I went home feeling so tired and helpless. Is this what I have to deal with in Singapore hospitals?

So, for all daughters/sons who will be bringing their Mothers in Singapore and will be using Medisave for their Healthcare or Diagnostic Tests related to Cancer, here are some tips:

The night before or even before you leave the house in the morning

1.       Pray that God will help you to make an informed decision (invasive or non-invasive diagnostic tests—Yes, you have a choice!) and that God will send you angels to make this trip to the hospital as smooth as possible (this was my mistake when I accompanied my mother to Raffles Hospital and NCCS, I came without a weapon, no Prayers, no angels—I just have to use my own personal strength to get through the system.)

2.       Prepare the following documents and put it in a clear plastic envelope

a.       Print your CPF Statement of Account

b.      Bring your birth certificate to prove your relationship to your mother

c.       Bring your NRIC and your mother’s Green Card (LTVP)

d.  Print out the MEdisave Authrization Form (most hospitals uploaded this to their websites, otherwise get the forms from CPF website)

e.      And be ready to “educate” the hospital staff (if Necessary) by printing this and showing it to them if they insist that you pay by cash or credit card:

What do I need to make a claim for Medisave

And this too:

List of Outpatient Treatments covered under MEdisave

Then Highlight this:

Note: there are a few other Outpatient Treatments that are covered , to know more click here

 

While in the Clinic or when paying for the fees

3.       Note to self:  You do not have to pay Cash or Credit Card. If you were not able to buy insurance for your mother, do not despair. They can simply deduct the fees from your Medisave.  Be also ready to educate the admin staff, if necessary, using your print outs from CPF website.

 

4.       Be assertive and professional when dealing with them. Do not sound as if you are begging them for freebies or claiming for Insurance, because Medisave is not insurance, it is your hard-earned savings allotted for your or your immediate family member’s Healthcare. The admin staff is not doing you a favor in processing a Medisave Authorisation Form

 

5.       When a doctor Orders a diagnostic Test, he/she will sign a form and pass it to you. Ensure that he ticked the box that is says, this is a diagnostic test related to neoplasm treatment.

 

Neoplasm – Abnormal growth of new tissue. Also called a tumor. A neoplasm results when cells divide more than they should, or do not self-destruct when they should. A neoplasm can be either benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Finding a neoplasm, or tumor, in the body could indicate the potential presence of cancer

 

Take note: a diagnostic test is not a form of treatment! It is just a test. So, if your mother/parent does not have insurance, you better allot your Medisave claims for Surgery and Hospitalization instead. Using Medisave to pay for my mother’s surgery proved to be a lot easier than using it for her diagnostic tests. Again, I do not recommend Surgery, Chemo or Radiation to all cancer patients. We made a decision for my mother to undergo surgery, because at that time, we were pressured and we did know that we have a choice and that is not a matter of emergency, that we can take days or weeks to think about treatment options.

 

Most of all, MRI, CT Scans, Xrays, and Mammograms are radiation related diagnostic tests. If you can avoid these type of tests, try to avoid it as much as you can, there are other diagnostic tests that are not invasive. However, I am not sure if this will be qualified under “diagnostic tests related to neoplasm treatment.”

If I had known that these scans are invasive and will compromise my mother’s health rather than treat it, not to mention that using my Medisave to pay for the tests will be quite stressful, I would have opted for the following Cancer Diagnostic Tests:

          Breast Thermal Imaging or Breast Thermography Screening

          Cancer Tumuor Markerks (Blood Tests)

          Functional Health Screening (Thyroid, Liver functions, Hormone Profile)–also blood tests

          HCG Navarro Cancer Test (something like a urinalysis)

On the D-day of diagnosis, do not immediately go for Surgery . See a medical oncologist first (not a surgeon)  who practices integrated medicine, both conventional and alternative/complementary medicine, so you have a better view of the options available for you.

Then have 2-3 more second/third opinions. 1 from a Naturopath, 1 from another conventional doctor or better yet, have a 5 day detox protocol at TIaong Breast Haven first (www.pbcn.org)

Then, you can make an informed decision and then you can ask for divine guidance on which course of action you will need to take.  You can ask for your spiritual counselors to help you to pray that you make an informed decision. Steer away from people who insist “their way or your way”, and who would immediately judge one treatment option to another, without even researching for it. This is your family. You know what is best for you. You should research all possible options, make a decision and stick to your decision and not be steered from one direction or another.

I have due respect to conventional doctors and I know that they may have good intentions. They have been successful for decades in treating emergency cases like heart attacks, but never have been successful in curing cancer. I have known several medical oncologists, who left their conventional practice, because of what they have seen (cancer patients dying earlier because of Chemo or cancer patients who may have lived longer because of Chemo but have very poor quality of live. They have seen so much, that they have to leave and find solace in seeking alternative treatments in connection with their prior experience in conventional practice

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