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Higher claim limits enough for typical cancer treatments, say doctors

Under the review committee's recommendations, patients can claim as much as $3,000 a month for chemotherapy, up from $1,240 now.

SINGAPORE: Doctors said the higher claim limits for outpatient cancer treatments under the new MediShield Life will be sufficient to cover typical cancer treatments.

Under the review committee's recommendations, patients can claim as much as $3,000 a month for chemotherapy, up from $1,240 now.

They will also be able to claim more for radiotherapy, with claim limits set between $140 and $500 for a session, compared to between $80 and $160 under the current scheme.

Mr Chua Peng Bong, 62, was diagnosed with gullet cancer seven years ago.

He went for several chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments.

But years later, Mr Chua suffered a relapse which saw the cancer cells spreading to other parts of his body, affecting his vocal cords.

Mr Chua said he is happy to hear that the MediShield Life Review Committee is recommending higher claim limits for cancer treatment.

He hopes that the cost of his treatment will be reduced under the new scheme.

The recommendation was also welcomed by doctors, who say this will help cushion the cost of treatment for most patients.

Dr Lim Soon Thye, Head of Division of Medical Oncology at the National Cancer Centre, said: "These changes (under the MediShield Life scheme) are very useful, especially (for) radiotherapy, chemotherapy, because they do form the bulk of cancer treatment costs.

"Going forward, I think it might be useful perhaps to look into other areas of coverage, in particular newer methods of radiological scannings such as the PET-CT (Positron Emission Tomography-Computed Tomography) scans."

Doctors said the higher claim limits will largely benefit the middle-income group, as they may not qualify for most of the subsidies compared to the lower-income group. 

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