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Singapore leads the way in healthcare: Sean Masaki Flynn

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Forbes article (Let Singapore Lead The Way: Health Care With Sean Masaki Flynn, September 18, 2020) wrote:

By a wide margin the U.S. spends proportionately more on health care than any other nation, and yet life expectancy here lags many other countries. Singapore spends a fraction of what we do on health care and yet bests us on life expectancy and other health metrics, such as infant mortality.

It turns out that Singapore is by far the lowest-cost and highest-outcomes country in the world, according to noted economist Sean Masaki Flynn, author of the groundbreaking book The Cure that Works: How To Have the World’s Best Healthcare—at a Quarter of the Price.

On MediSave in particular, Sean wrote:

“I’m 47 now, the health insurance policy my company is paying for is $20,000 a year, Scripps College. In Singapore, I could get, actually, better-quality insurance, because you don’t have to worry about in-network and out-of-network and all sorts of things. My insurance bill a year would be less than a thousand dollars. Which is another reason why these health saving accounts work so well is that the cost of buying insurance and even the annual deductibles are, for most people—unless something really catastrophic goes wrong—much less than the money in their health savings account. And the government of Singapore actually guarantees the money 4% returns. So it’s accumulating. Most people are quite healthy until they’re about my age, right. So from, you know, getting out of high school or college, they’ll work 20 years, just pile up savings, they’re very healthy. And what’s really wonderful about this… You know, most healthcare costs are in the last few years of life. And the only country in the world that has money saved up to pay for the graying of the population and people getting older is Singapore, with these health savings accounts. Whereas by contrast, Medicare currently has, I think, a $39 trillion hole in its trust fund over a 75-year planning horizon.” [Emphasis added]

MediSave Grant For Newborns

In fact, in Singapore, saving for MediSave starts at birth.

Every newborn Singaporean baby gets a MediSave Grant of $4000 deposited into their CPF MediSave Account created for them. The grant will be credited automatically approximately 2 months from the registration of birth of the baby. It accumulates compound interest at the rate of 5% per annum (4% plus an additional 1%).

The grant will help to ensure that newborns start out in life with enough MediSave to pay for their MediShield Life premiums from birth till age 21. This relieves parents from having to fork out money to pay for premiums for their growing up children.  The grant will also support other healthcare expenses, such as recommended childhood vaccinations, as well as hospitalisations and approved outpatient treatments if required.

Affordable healthcare

Without a doubt, healthcare in Singapore’s public and restructured hospitals is affordable with generous government subsidies, MediShield Life and MediSave.

Take this example.

A 9-day stay in a C Class ward incurred a bill of $13,154.94.  After government subsidies and MediShield Life, the bill is reduced to just $1728.94 and payable by MediSave. Out-of-pocket payment is zero.

This is not an isolated case of affordable healthcare.

The parents of a premature baby who spent 5 months in a neonatal ICU ran up a bill of $326,152!

The parents were naturally worried but what a relief in the end when they discovered that after generous government subsidies and MediShield Life, they needed to pay only $4248.99.

Check it out here. There are many more examples of affordable healthcare.

What about the poorest among us who cannot afford to pay their bills after subsidies, MediShield Life and MediSave?

There is MediFund.

MediFund is an endowment fund set up by the Government. It provides a safety net for patients who face financial difficulties with their remaining bills after receiving Government subsidies and drawing on other means of payment including MediShield Life, MediSave and cash.

Taken together – government grants, MediShield Life, MediSave and MediFund – we do have a great healthcare system to be thankful for.

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