There is no insurance covering newborns diagnosed with congenital medical problems in Singapore (... closest one is from Great Eastern that pays only IF the problem is discovered 2 years after the child is born). 1% of babies are born with heart defects, 1% are born premature, other diseases such as blood disorder Thalassaemia Major, spinal bifida, autism, celebral palsy etc. About 3% of children are born with serious major congenital malformation. The cost of treating newborns with such defects can be quite expensive for Thalassaemia, for example, a bone marrow transplant costs $100K. Heart problems can cost between $20K for a hole in the heart and $100-$200K for more serious defects. Not only that, parents sometimes have to cope with the cost of lifelong care..... theraphy, medication, followup treatment. In many cases, one parent quits the job to take care of the child.
About 1.5% of the population are millionaires. I guess for that 1.5%, it shouldn't be a problem. What about middleclass and poor families? What are the costs like say when you have an autistic child?
Here's a letter from the Straits Times Forum below read it - it is just a sample of the challenges faced by parents of such children.
The PAP govt is not looking at helping such parents but is actually reducing subsidy for treatment that is free in almost all developed countries. I see we are going to top 1st world status in a different way - reducing help for children with chronic illnesses!
I guess Singapore simply cannot afford it. Our spending on healthcare is $2B and we need to continue to invest in other countries such as Shin Corp in Thailand which cost tax payers $5B. We need to spend $10.7B on defense, twice as much as all our nearest neighbors.
The govt of Singapore encourages everyone to have more children - perfect children not one that will cost the state money because they can import healthy people from other countries so why should Singapore Inc bear the cost of less than perfect workers.
July 4, 2007 Straits Times Forum
Help middle-income families with autistic kids
I AM the mother of a young child diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder. My husband and I have had to put up with the incredible cost of seeking early intervention for our child. The cost of treatment and care is about $2,700 per month.
The early-intervention programme at a government-sponsored centre last year was quite affordable at $240 per month. We were shocked when fees were revised in January and we had to pay about four times more. We were told that subsidies from the Government had been reduced for middle-income families and that they would be reduced further over the next few years until they are non-existent in 2010.
I am asking for concrete help for middle-income families like mine to cope with the huge expense of providing our children with early intervention. In places like Australia, the US, UK and Hong Kong, the state bears most or all of the expenses. Why is Singapore so far behind?
Ng Suu-piing (Mdm)