Going for heart bypass surgery because of coronary heart disease, heart failure or heart pain can be expensive. But whether you’re getting a coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), coronary angiogram or heart stenting (PTCA) procedure, here’s your guide to how Integrated Shield Plans, Medisave, MediShield Life or private health insurance can cover you – so that you can focus on getting well.
Calculating the cost
Often, one of the first concerns is whether you can afford your heart treatment. At Mount Elizabeth Hospitals, treatment costs can be found online, along with ‘bundles’ – packages for common treatments, which allow you to easily understand the total cost of a procedure. Here are the charges for three common heart procedures:
- Coronary angiogram, including a one-night stay in a four-bedded room: S$4,500.
- PTCA (heart stenting), including one standard stent and one balloon, plus a one-night stay in an ICU (intensive care unit) or HDU (high-dependency unit): S$19,300.
Heart bypass (coronary artery bypass grafting or CABG): costs vary so it’s a good idea to talk to your specialist to find out the estimated cost.
Using Medisave and MediShield Life
Once you know how much a procedure costs, how are you going to pay for it?
As part of your Central Provident Fund (CPF), Medisave can be used to pay for certain basic health costs for yourself or on behalf of your dependants. Alternatively, Medisave can also be used to pay for MediShield Life, a low-cost medical insurance scheme introduced by the government to help meet large hospital bills.
In 2015, MediShield was replaced by MediShield Life. This upgraded scheme covers more of your hospital bills, but premiums – which can be paid via Medisave – are higher (although some subsidies are available). So take note!
Before you commit to anything, you should always feel comfortable that you have all the information you need. Find out what you can expect to pay for your treatment and hospital stay at Mount Elizabeth Hospitals, or speak to your personal financial advisor to get independent advice.
Using Integrated Shield Plans
Apart from the Integrated Shield Plans scheme, there are also Medisave-approved Integrated Shield Plans. Anyone who contributes CPF can use his Medisave to buy Integrated Shield Plans, which offer better benefits and greater coverage for you and your dependants.
Purchase an Integrated Shield Plan with the relevant ‘cash rider’ to eliminate the need for you to pay upfront for deductibles, co-insurance and other items that may not be covered under your basic MediShield Life cover.
Check out the Mount Elizabeth Hospital website for a list of Medisave-approved private insurers.
Of course, you can also get health and medical insurance via private insurance companies, such as BUPA, Prudential Financial, Great Eastern Life, AIA, Aviva, or whichever insurance provider you feel most comfortable with. Depending on the package and premiums, these can provide widespread coverage.
Paying for your treatment
Paying for your treatment is straightforward. Just follow these steps:
Step 1: Ensure you have your NRIC/Passport with you.
Step 2: At admission, inform the admissions staff that you wish to use your Medisave to pay.
Step 3: Sign the Medisave Authorisation Form, which authorises the CPF Board to deduct your hospital bill from your Medisave account. If you have Medisave-approved insurance, go to Step 4. If you don’t, go to Step 5.
Step 4: For Medisave-approved insurance, let your insurer know and they may give you a Letter of Guarantee, which is an assurance that the insurer will pay all or a portion of the hospital bill. This may reduce the amount of money you need to pay upfront.
Step 5: If you do not have Medisave-approved insurance, payment has to be done upfront. The hospital will send the receipt to you, and you have to forward it to your insurance agency for review. The claims process will then take place between the hospital and the agency. This process will take between three and six months.
At Mount Elizabeth Hospitals, you will undergo financial counselling before your procedure, and the hospital will inform you the amount you owe. The hospital will also check what health insurance you have and clarify the amount of Medisave and private health insurance that can be claimed. When you are discharged, the Business Office will also explain and arrange your final bill for you.
Health insurance can be confusing. Here are the 6 questions you should always ask your health insurance agent.
What happens when you go for a heart procedure? We explain all in our step-by-step guide to a heart bypass, heart stenting or an angiogram.
Find out some of the medical procedures available should you need to undergo heart treatment. With the correct insurance coverage, your bill size can be better gauged and managed, while Mount Elizabeth Hospitals can assist with all Medisave, MediShield Life and Integrated Shield Plan claims.
For your peace of mind, talk to one of our heart specialists today or read about how to make healthcare insurance claims to cover your hospital bills.
Gain more clarity on your hospital bill size.