Malaysia’s hospitals expect more patients after Singapore’s Medisave move

February 25, 2010
Singapore Democrats

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Lee Wei Lian
The Malaysian Insider

A private hospital in the nation’s capital is planning to capitalise on the Singapore health tourism market by partnering with tour operators and community airline Firefly.

This comes as the Singapore government has authorised Singaporeans to use their Medisave savings to pay for medical treatment in 12 hospitals in Malaysia beginning March.

Gleaneagles CEO Amir Firdaus Abdullah said that the hospital has seen an increase of enquiries from Singapore and has received over 40 calls since the announcement was made earlier this month.

The hospital typically sees between 20 to 30 Singaporean patients each month. Amir added that Singaporeans will be able to save on their medical bills by coming to Malaysia.

“A heart by-pass costs USD9,000 (RM30,600) here but USD18,000 in Singapore,” he said at a media briefing at the partnership signing here today.

Gleneagles Hospital Kuala Lumpur is working with Firefly and Holiday Tours and Travel to offer seamless travel and medical services to Singaporeans seeking treatment here.

Firefly managing director Datuk Eddy Leong who was at the briefing said that it could even be arranged for the ambulance to drive up to the Firefly aircraft.

Amir assured that Singaporeans, who pay the same rates as Malaysians under the hospital’s single-tier pricing policy, would not drive up prices at the hospital.

“We do not see costs escalating other than the normal price increases that happen globally,” he said. “The Singaporean market will not be a contributing factor.”

He added that about 15 per cent of Gleneagles’ patient volume are foreigners, including Americans, Indonesians and Singaporeans, but declined to discuss targets for Medisave patients.

Gleaneagles, one of Kuala Lumpur’s premier private hospitals, was opened in 1996, and has 330 beds.

Medisave is the Singapore government mandated medical savings scheme. Every Singaporean is required by law to contribute to Medisave.

The Medisave fund now stands at SGD42.4 billion and the average Singaporean has SGD14,900 in their account.

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/index.php/business/54463-hospitals-expect-more-patients-after-singapores-medisave-move