Sunday, December 23, 2012

Inceased in Polyclinic medical fee

I just noticed Polyclinic has increased their consultation fee effective from Dec 2012, which without subsidy is already way higher than GP charges in HDB estate.  Seems like there is no announcement on this.

This is not surprising as we have seen 'secretive' changes in fee and policies. Seems like if the govt can avoid making an announcement, they will do so.
(see post -  Medical fee being increased on the sly )

As far as I know, in Nov 2012, full consultation fee (without subsidy) at Polyclinic is $35.05. In Dec 2012, the fee has hiked to $36.82. This 5% increased  is higher than local inflation rate. The daily volume of patients at Polyclinic island wide is very HIGH. So wonder how much the govt rack in from needy patients with this increase in fee.

The full consultation rate in Polyclinic is much higher than private GPs in HDB estates. Normally the consultation charge in GPs are around $20. Our govt loves to jerk up the fee and then give a subsidy so that it looks good.

Likely most did not even know there is an increase. I would not have noticed it if not because of my blogging and reference make to my own Polyclinic bills.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

$2.42 million for a 2-bedrooms unit

Fancy paying $2.42 million for a 2-bedrooms unit. It translate to $2645 psf. This transaction just took place on 3 Dec at The Vermont on Cairnhill.

Then there is this other buyer who got 2 units at one go, paying a cool $8.13 million for each unit ($2950 psf).  The units are at Hamilton Scotts.

No thanks to these ultra rich investors/speculators, they are helping to speed up the property bubble burst locally. With low interest rate and so much positive feeling in the property sector, looks like we are heading the way of Japan and US property cliff. Some signs are already there - new home sales for Nov heading a low, high numbers of unsold units in the up end market and so many new launches in the months ahead. Overbuild and undersold ?

Medisave - White Elephant Scheme

Bad news again. CPF which is famous for perpetual policy changes to retain more and more money from us has just announced that from the 2013, the minimum required amount in Medisave account will increase from $32,000 to $38,500. That amounts to $6500 which translate to 20.3% hike ! The amount has been going up steadily year after year, but this round the increase is quite drastic due to local medical cost shooting up.

This will be followed by more bad news as there will be the yearly increase to the CPF minimum sum. The 2013 figure which the govt has yet to announced. In the year 2012, the increase was $8K (from $131K to $139K).

Retirees already have problem with daily expenses, and yet CPF does not spare this group. Thus, CPF account holders aged 55 and above must have at least $38,500 in their Medisave accounts, on top of the minimum sums set in their Ordinary and Special accounts, before being able to make a withdrawal.

For work done in 2013, they will be increasing the amount of contribution by low wage earners to their CPF Medisave account before these workers are eligible for WIS (Workfare Income Supplement). To add salt to injury, the amount of contribution required for those above 55 is more.  We know for a fact that for low wage workers, the older you are, the less you earn. Yet CPF insists on sucking more from this group of workers.

Besides, Medisave is a White Elephant to most of us. There are so many rules to its usage that unless one is critically sick, it is unlikely to meet normal aging medical needs. For example chronic diseases such as eye problems which are likely to hit the elderly, Medisave is of no use. Medical expenses which is out front cash payment for such regular eye examination and the many eye tests required are heavy as they are all under specialist consultation. 

A personal experience.  Just went for a MRI scan this month which cost bomb even after subsidy. Medisave cannot be used. How to survive if unforeseen medical all have to pay cash, especially if one is a low wage earner ?

Medical cost keep increasing, how can we keep up with forever increasing Medisave minimum sum and at the same time have to fork out cash for our medical cost ?  This does not make sense !

Besides - this so call 'subsidy' govt is giving, are they for real ?  First they jerk up the fee and then give us a 'subsidy'. Even doctors in private practice don't charge so much. For example, in HDB estate, GP general consultation charges is below $30.  Govt Polyclinic charges is $36.82 before subsidy. Then some medicine dispense in Polyclinic even after subsidy still cost more than Guardian Pharmacy.

Our 'subsidized' medical fee is just like HDB. Jerk up the flat cost sky high and then give a subsidy.  CPF is another big CON scheme.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Talking Point on CNA

This week Talking Point (last episode) over Channel News Asia (CNA) topic is 'Was 2012 more eventful year than 2011'.  The participants consist on Baey, MP for Tampines, Singh (SMU lecturer) and MediaCorp, Ken Teh.

Baey wanting to be politically correct said there is no single event that sticks out for him in 2012. According to him, it is just the internet that stirred things up. The Singh guy said that the single most newsworthy event is the 'National Conversation'. Good grief ! Is this guy for real ?  Of all things, he thinks the wayang where everyone terms the 'National Con' job stands out !  He is naive or what ? PM himself admitted as much it is not so much to get public feedback than to align the public to PAP thinking (in other words, brain washing time). It is always through slip of tongue that we double confirm what we already know. 

Listening to these 2 PAP apple polishers is painful. The only guy who is 'REAL' and in touch with public sentiment is Ken Teh. He pointed out the SMRT bus drivers strike stands out as it highlighted many teething issues in one event - plight of  foreign workers, industrial & racial relation, cost of living....

He is the guy that saves the program. If CNA Talking Point wish to keep its rating, better watch who they invite to the program and not insult viewers' intellect.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Jersey Boys

Jersey Boys a Broadway musical based on the American pop group Four Season is very entertaining. So many great songs couple with lively dance steps.  Some of the evergreen ones are :

- Sherry
- Big Girls
- Walk Like a Man
- My Eyes Adore You
- Can't Take My Eyes Off You

STI highest dividend paying stocks

What a coincident - the top 5 dividend paying companies in S'pore this year all start with the letter 'S'.
They are :

1) Starhub (service - telecommunication)
2) SingTel (service - telecommunication)
3) S'pore Press Holding (manufacturing - media)
4) Sembcorp Marine (manufacturing - oil and gas)
5) SIA Engineering (service)

Food over Electronic for Japaness graduates

Seems like the electronic era is over for Japan. Even their University science graduates are choosing a career in the food industry. So company like Meiji Holding Co. is favor over Sony and Panasonic. Looks like Japan will be churning out more innovative food stuff with so many bright brains. 

The Koreans will be dominating technological market in electronic gadgets.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Patients 'stumble' around Eye Center

If our government is serious about making S'pore more elderly friendly to cater for our aging population, they should be looking into local healthcare providers to see if they are up to the mark.

Take for example our national eye center - SNEC (Singapore National Eye Center) which has large elderly patient base. Currently the layout of SNEC is a safety concern for elderly patients with eye diseases and poor vision.

Their clinics are on the ground floor, while the eye test rooms are located on the 3rd floor. Patients are to register at the ground floor clinic, then they will be send to the 3rd story to do the eye test(s) if required. After that, patients will return to the ground floor clinic to see the doctor.

Elderly normally have mobility problem and SNEC make these folks struggle around just to consult the doctor. Just the other day, I saw an  elderly man who is bend double and he was asked to report to the 3rd floor for his eye test. Out of concern, I asked the nurse to get him a wheelchair. The reply was, "He can manage."  The man shuffled along slowly with his walking stick, supported by his family member on one side and the center attendant on the other side. Can't SNEC provides wheelchair for such patient, even if they still can walk ? Must they be paralysis before they are eligible to sit on a wheelchair?

To compound the issue further, patients' eyes are often dilated before the test. So their already poor vision becomes even worst. SNEC expect the patients to stumble around the eye center from one floor to the next and back again !

The poor layout at SNEC resulted in manpower problem for them as well.  As some patients may be new to the center, the practice is that an attendant will lead the patient up to the test rooms. However, patients have find their way back to the clinic themselves due to SNEC manpower shortage.

That day when I was there, seems like they did not even have enough attendant to guide the patients to the 3rd story. A nurse tried to give direction to a patient on how to go to test center. The patient looked worried and was told to ask around when she was on the 3rd floor.

Then the nurse tired another strategy, she waited until there were 3 patients before asking the attendant to bring them up to the test center. Hello - so the test center medical staff are idling around while waiting for patients to be sent up to them. Is this productive ?

Due to the poor layout, besides safety concern, it is also non productive and time consuming. No wonder the average consultation time at SNEC is around 2 hours ! Should not SNEC be more patient centric?

SMRT stations announcement

So after the trail run, SMRT decided to scape the controversial announcement of station name in Mandarin. The reason they gave was to cater to our senior citizens who do not understand English.

Come on, stop all the bull shit. For our elderly ? Really ? Last time when PAP ban dialects, do they care for our seniors who do not speak nor understand Mandarin ? NO! Our grandpa and grandma are expected to pick up Mandarin if they do not want to be isolated in their homeland.

The truth be told, it is likely to cater for the increasing population of mainland Chinese here.