A letter published in The Straits Times (ST) on July 16 pointed out an apparent anomaly in the prices of dental procedures.
Png Siew Ai wrote a letter to ST, claiming that they had compared the prices of a wisdom tooth extraction with surgery at multiple clinics, and found out that prices varied quite drastically.
More expensive if can use Medisave
Png said that they had compared the quotations at three different clinics.
At the first clinic, they were given a quotation of S$950 for the procedure, but was told that Medisave could be used.
The second clinic also said they could use Medisave to offset the charges, but was quoted $1,000 for the procedure.
The third clinic gave a quotation of $500, but they would be required to make payment in cash.
Png added: "I can't help but feel that there is some loophole when it comes to these charging practices which is being exploited, targeting people's hard-earned Medisave funds, as well as other government subsidies."
Another ST Forum letter
Possible reasons for increased costs were postulated in another ST forum letter published September 23 last year.
Dr. Wilson Goh, a Singaporean dentist with a background in health management, suggested that the increase in costs could be due to three reasons.
The first is the increasing costs of getting a degree in dentistry, renting premises, and hiring staff.
Another reason is the introduction of a requirement for dentists to acquire certificates of competency for certain procedures. Dentists will also have to get re-accredited after two years and subsequently four years, before they can obtain a permanent approval.
Goh also suggested that the introduction of Medisave use for some dental procedures while "convert[ing] needs into demand in a positive manner, it also inevitably drives the situation into over-consumption and over-prescription, increasing the costs of dental care."
Mothership has reached out to the Ministry of Health for comment on the matter.
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