Sunday, August 31, 2008

Consequences of No Insurance

I went Malaysia to visit a well known Chinese Physician for a routine check recently. I heard about his reputation and want to improve my health from the Chinese Medicine perspective. This Chinese Physician is quite well known in Malaysia with people all over Malaysia seeking his advice. The queue was long and I waited over 4 hours in his clinic.

The 4 hours wait was worthwhile because this doctor is really fantastic. He diagnosed my back problem by just looking at my urine, fingernails and pulse. He can even pinpoint which part of my back was always in pain. He also explained to me how my kidneys are affected and how it subsequently affects my mental alertness. He told me all my problems without me telling him any. He gave me a prescriptions of about 16 chinese herbs to be eaten every 4-5 days but the bad news is "I have to look for him in Malaysia once every 2 weeks. For my health, I think I have to sacrifice my precious time.

Anyway, my topic is not on the above.


After my checkup, I was invited to a friend's friend house to take a look at his insurance policies. His name is Mr Teo. He is a Malaysian, worked as a air-con fitter in Singapore as a contract worker. He rides a motorbike to Singapore daily to work.

When I reached his Johor Jaya home, he was moving around with his hands. He met an accident with another Malaysia Car while on his way to work in Jurong 2 months ago. The accident was serious and he is not expected to stand within 6 months and to work within 1 year. He is now in a very bad financial situation and was harassed by his Singapore friend and hospital over the medical bill he incurred.

He was unconscious after the accident and was sent to NUH. He stayed 2 days in ICU and 13 days in a normal C ward. Total bill he incurred was around $30k as he was unsubsidized. The hospital require a guarantor when he was warded. Due to the life and death situation, his Singapore friend decided to be his guarantor for the bill, thinking that his company or some insurance will help pay this bill eventually.

I thought I am supposed to see his Insurance policies when I reached his house, I was instead shown a stack of medical bills. When I asked for his policies, he only passed me a certificate of Insurance for his Motor Insurance. When I asked him about the Workman Compensation that his employer supposed to get for him, he told me, his employer confirmed their Workman Comp don't cover journey to work. When I asked on the verdict of the accident, he told me that the other party claims that Mr Teo is in the wrong and hence insurance in dispute. When I asked if he has any other insurance in Malaysia or Singapore, he said no.

I felt quite sad for Mr Teo as I don't know how to help him. He is currently weaving ketupat with his wife at home to help finance the family expenses. He has 2 young boys age between 4-6 yrs old. He was harassed by his friend and hospital over the $30k almost daily. He is still required to go for follow-up treatments in NUH but has no money for it. He is not sure if he can move over to the Malaysia Hospital. He do not have much savings and he will not be able to pay this bill even if he sell his home away. He is feeling very sad because he is uncertain when he can really work again and the trouble he caused for his Singapore friend.

When I asked him why he never thought of getting an insurance before I left. He gave me this answer.
"I never thought such thing will happen to me. Insurance is too expensive and is only for the rich."

When I asked him if he knows Insurance can be cheap. He answered,
"I was recommended by agents a few times and each time was recommended policies with over few hundred dollars premium, you call that cheap?"

Singapore and Malaysia alike. Many agents like to focus more on Life Insurances and ILPs without a proper fact-finding. Thats why people shun agents as they thought insurance are too expensive for them.


Wilfred said...

Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Hi Adrian,
I experienced such a TCM expert more than a quarter of a century ago. He practiced at Ang Mo Kio Ave 10. He was able to cure me of my tonsillitis problem which was recurring every two weeks. SGH doctors and the army doctors all recommended an operation to remove my tonsils. I was put on heavy dosage of antibiotics which included the Ampicillin for months. My urine literally smelt of the medicine.
All the TCM physician did was take my pulse and looked at my tongue. He was able to describe to me the problems and I was cured of the disease from then onwards.
Unfortunately I could no longer find this person.


Anonymous said...

Adrian, good sharing. May I forward your story to my friends, citing source? Thanks.

Khiat Han Hwee Adrian said...

Hi Sure... Its a true story anyway.

Anonymous said...

So how do you pay him when you cannot talk about money?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this. How come you never mention you are going with your wife? Do you have a wife anyway?

Felin's supporter

Khiat Han Hwee Adrian said...

Yep. Felin is my wife. She was with me that day. I'll write more about her if chance arises.