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My doctor doubled surgery fees after the surgery, pls help

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piggySGexpat
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My doctor doubled surgery fees after the surgery, pls help

Postby piggySGexpat » Wed, 08 Apr 2009 3:02 am

Hi,

I'm just wondering whether this is legal in Singapore. I had a big surgery to remove 17 uterine fibroids at KK hospital. Before the surgery the hospital gave me the estimated bill with surgeon + anesthetic fees of S$1200, then about one month after the surgery, the fees were adjusted to more than S$3,000 (and the total hospitalization costs jumped to $7300).

After talking to many workers at the KKH, finally they told me the doctor requested the adjustment. Is this a normal practice? I might have to pay this out of my pocket. What should I do?

Please help as I just moved to Singapore and do not know much about how the medical industry works here. But, so far has been very upset by this whole thing.

Thank you so much for any comments or suggestions.

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jpatokal
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Postby jpatokal » Wed, 08 Apr 2009 11:16 am

First question: do you have any insurance cover for this? If yes, explain what happened to the insurance company and let them fight it out.
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piggySGexpat
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Postby piggySGexpat » Wed, 08 Apr 2009 2:55 pm

Hi, My insurance will not likely cover it due to the pre-existing condition clause which I was not aware until recently. So, most likely I will be paying.

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ksl
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Postby ksl » Wed, 08 Apr 2009 5:12 pm

piggySGexpat wrote:Hi, My insurance will not likely cover it due to the pre-existing condition clause which I was not aware until recently. So, most likely I will be paying.
You would need the first estimation on paper, to be able to lodge a complaint, otherwise I don't see much of a chance at all.

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Postby piggySGexpat » Wed, 08 Apr 2009 5:26 pm

Hi ksl,

I do have the first estimation on paper, the pre-admission document detailing the estimated costs of the surgery.

Currently, I'm demanding an explanation from KKH in paper as well for the reason that they allow the doctor to increase the fees, but they have been quiet about that.

Does anyone have any recommendation for lawyers that I can talk to?

Thank you.

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ksl
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Postby ksl » Wed, 08 Apr 2009 5:31 pm

piggySGexpat wrote:Hi ksl,

I do have the first estimation on paper, the pre-admission document detailing the estimated costs of the surgery.

Currently, I'm demanding an explanation from KKH in paper as well for the reason that they allow the doctor to increase the fees, but they have been quiet about that.

Does anyone have any recommendation for lawyers that I can talk to?

Thank you.

You should go to CASE the consumer association

http://www.case.org.sg/

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road.not.taken
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Postby road.not.taken » Wed, 08 Apr 2009 5:39 pm

I'd have another doctor look at the surgical notes first. It could be that there was a complication that led to the higher surgical costs. Our former maid had to have an emergency surgery to remove an ovarian cyst which was about to burst. In the time it took for the consult and to guarantee payment (don't get me started) it had ruptured and the procedure was much more difficult. She also had to have an emergency appendectomy because it too was infected. Your's could be a similar scenario.

piggySGexpat
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Postby piggySGexpat » Wed, 08 Apr 2009 8:52 pm

Hi road.not.taken and ksl,

My surgery went well with no complications. I left the hospital after two-days. As you suggested, I'll wait for the explanation by the doctor (however, I think that there cannot be any reasonable explanation for Anesthetic fees to increase from $400 to $1000.) If they cannot explain it in letter, I'll file a complaint with CASE then. Thank you so much for your help.

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Postby sleepydog » Wed, 08 Apr 2009 10:45 pm

How long did u stay in hospital? any complications after surgery? what type of room were u stay in hospital? any medications prescribed? 1000 to 2000 sgd surgery fee(only) is reasonable, but plus all the medical expense together may rise your bill, I guess. Printed hospital bill receipt should listed in details, u can check with hospital about your doubt! BTW, as we known, medical expense is reasonable charged with unreasonable price everywhere! :mad:

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jpatokal
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Postby jpatokal » Thu, 09 Apr 2009 6:02 pm

CASE is a toothless paper tiger, they can't force anybody to do anything. Instead, take the case directly to the Small Claims Tribunal:

http://app.subcourts.gov.sg/sct/index.aspx

You'll also find that Singaporeans and Singaporean companies magically become more cooperative when you merely tell them that you're going to do this...
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piggySGexpat
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Postby piggySGexpat » Thu, 09 Apr 2009 11:10 pm

Sleepydog,

I stayed for two days at the hospital with three other patients in the same room as they could not give me a private room (I don't know how much i would have had to pay total if I had one). I had no complications after the surgery and after I was discharged.

jpatokal,

Thank you very much for your recommendation. I'll definitely do that. Thanks again.

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Postby sleepydog » Fri, 10 Apr 2009 6:14 pm

piggySGexpat wrote:Sleepydog,

I stayed for two days at the hospital with three other patients in the same room as they could not give me a private room (I don't know how much i would have had to pay total if I had one). I had no complications after the surgery and after I was discharged.

jpatokal,

Thank you very much for your recommendation. I'll definitely do that. Thanks again.


Under this condition, the charge was REALLY too much! :???: ! You should check it out! Good luck!

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Postby BBC » Sat, 11 Apr 2009 4:24 pm

hi, i think u should check it out, last time i went to KK and asked my doctor about the fee of surgery( similar to yours), she told me around S$3000, so if S$7000, can not believe it!

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ksl
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Postby ksl » Tue, 14 Apr 2009 4:27 pm

Well I can finally explain what could have happened!

I was admitted early monday morning with chest pain, yesterday that is.

We discussed the fee for an angiogram which was around 5K, so I agreed, although today on discharge the bill was 8500$ I wasn't shocked, because of this posters post, although i wanted a full explanation in detail, after 20 minutes of discussion I finally received a detailed bill.

I have to agree that it is very misleading of consultants not to include possible extra charges, when making a quote, and also the quotations given, which i had before accepting the operation, is misleading.

Hidden under the term consumables is a list which if you ask for the detailed bill, it will show clearly these extra items. My extra item was 4200$

Shocked because i didn't have a stent or a ballon put in, I decided to query the bill, this special wire was a pressure wire, they used to measure resistant at the point of narrowing, my argument is that, that should be standard procedure of a angiogram, although it is not...

Anyway I didn't require a balloon or a stent and have been told that i do not have to pay the full bill, until i am happy with getting an explanation from the consultant.

I found the hospital staff very helpful, and cooperative, and suggested with billing that they need to be more clear of likely extras, in a quotation, as i also felt it was terribly misleading.

True enough it was right, they had used this item, so now i will take it up with the consultant on why it wasn't clearly pointed out to me, and only the ballon or stent was.

It's certainly a blow, if one has no medical insurance, which i do not, not because I haven't tried to purchase it, but because you have to declare your past illnesses for it to be valid.

Insurance for myself is 3 times the normal rate so at 3k pounds a years normal its 9k for me, although it is just money, and my life was at stake, I could still have got to Taiwan and paid half the price, because i had already been once to Taiwan and stayed overnight at the hospital.

I decided simply on the consultant saying, that it was vital for the angiogram to be done, and i could have the stent done elsewhere, and the fee was 4.5k, totally misleading from a true estimate of the minimum price of an angiogram, which would have included the consumer item has a minimum with a stent or a ballon being also additional.

It does state on the estimate, that the estimate may not be complete, and other charges may be included. Like consumer items, which are not listed.

Like i say i was prepared for the bill to be doubled, for me it was a matter of life and death, so it was a cheap alternative in the end.

So we have all learnt something, when you get an estimate go through all the small print with a fine tooth comb. Ask the consultants for a detailed minimum fee and the maximum it could be, and shoot for the middle figure.

I would also like to point out, the service was very good, and the facilities room too was excellent. Conclusion customer care needs improving, they will lose expat clients based on their practice. Room price was 450$ a day thank god i was only there 1 day.

piggySGexpat
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Postby piggySGexpat » Tue, 14 Apr 2009 8:33 pm

Ksl,

Thank you for sharing. I'm glad that your operation went well and you are doing well now. May I ask which hospital did you go to?

My case was a little different though as I got few detailed bills with $5000+ for one month and a half after the surgery (during the period that I thought my insurance company was going to pay). Then suddenly they just sent a letter saying the fees were increased to $7000, due to the increase in the surgeon and the anesthetic fees.

Best wishes.


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