Rita Goh Blog
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Wednesday, February 07, 2007
The Silent Anguish of Mental Patients
I would like to highlight the plight of recovering and recovered mental patients in Singapore. Besides employment difficulties, the second difficulty for mental patients is that insurance coverage is largely unavailable to us here both from the public and private sectors, although such cover exists in the United States and Japan.

MediShield, the government insurance scheme for hospitalization for catastrophic illnesses, is not available to the mentally ill.

And when the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced in March last year a list of chronic ailments such as diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and stroke for which patients could now dip into their Medisave nest egg to pay for outpatient treatment, mental illness was once again left out.

At the same time, the majority of private insurers such as AIA and NTUC Income, continue to leave mental illness out of their health insurance umbrella

Mental patients really face a double blow. It is already near impossible to get insurance coverage for their illness, but they also find insurers looking the other way when they want to buy coverage for other critical – physical – illnesses.

The patients’ plight is also largely unheard because, shrouded in stigma, most are afraid to speak out. The financial difficulties many go through makes life even tougher.

But a few mental patients are speaking up, in the hope that their appeal for financial help will be heard. Now that you know the difficulties faced, all of you can write to the press through the forum. The more people write, the greater the voice will be.
posted by Rita Goh @ 11:42 AM    
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