Health care systems

I came across this article while reading The Straits Times today. I thought the information are very beneficial for those who are curious about the health care systems in different countries.

What happens if a healthy person breaks a leg in the US?

- At the hospital emergency room, her leg is X-rayed two views for about US $30 (SGD $43) and radiologist fee of US $100 to US $200.If it is a simple fracture, the cost of having an orthopaedic surgeon tend to her would be about US $3,000 to US $4,000. But a more complicated break would mean operating room, hospitalisation and medication fees of about US $15,000. Follow up visits and physical therapy would add US $200 to US $300 a session.

- If she has a private insurance policy, the provider picks up in full or part the bill depending on the policy. For example, the monthly premium for for a 45 year old person ranges from US $60 to US $600, depending on the amount of co-payment.

- As she is under 65 and healthy, she is ineligible for Medicare, a government funded insurance scheme for citizens over 65 or who are disabled.

- To qualify for Medicaid, another government programme, the patient has to be poor. In addition, she may have to meet other criteria - which vary in each state - such as being a certain age or is disabled.

- If uninsured, she pays out of her own pocket, and the bill may be higher than that for a patient who's insurer has an agreement with the hospital.

- In an emergency, all hospitals are required by law to accept all patients, regardless of the ability to pay. Otherwise, hospitals and doctors are free to decide which medical insurance policy to reject, including Medicare and Medicaid.

What happens if a healthy person breaks an arm in Singapore?

- At the accident and emergency department of a public or restructured hospital, he is charged a basic fee of between SGD $75 and SGD $90, which includes costs for an X-ray, doctor's consultation and medication.

- If he needs to be warded for surgery, he can either pay using cash, personal insurance or Medisave.

- Should he choose to use his compulsory medical savings, Medisave, he can withdraw up to SGD $450 a day for hospitalisation expenses, which include surgery, ward accommodation, doctor's consultation fees and drugs.

- Even with the cap, it is generally adequate to cover full expenses incurred in C class (nine-bed) and B2 (six-bed) wards. The government subsidised rates for such wards at the Singapore General Hospital, for instance, range from SGD $28 to SGD $57 per day.

- If his Medisave is insufficient, he may be able to offset expenses if he is covered by his company's medical insurance. The claimable amount would depend on the insurance plan.

- He cannot use Medishield for his broken arm as it is an individual catastrophic medical insurance designed to help Singaporeans pay part of the large hospitalisation bills for treatment of serious illnesses or prolonged hospitalisation.

- If he still has difficulties paying his bill, he can apply for Medifund through a medical social worker. To qualify for government aid, he has to meet certain criteria, such as his income level.
(sources; Websites of Ministry of Health, CPF Board and Singapore General Hospital.)

Ref: What happens if... (2009, September 12).
The Straits Time, p. C19.

What happens if a healthy person breaks any bones in Brunei?

- At the emergency section, just present your yellow I/C. That's pretty much the only reason why you'll need to open your wallet.

I gotta admit that although Brunei might not have the best medical care, i am still thankful that we have a caring monarch who's government is fully subsidizing the health care system for the locals. If you thought the article was interesting, or you're curious about health care systems in the States, you should watch Michael Moore's Sicko to get a rough idea of how the health care system in the States is like.


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