A penny for your thoughts? 3
Mr Tan defends his $30 price-tag for a medical report on his blog.
angry doc is no longer surprised by how people who cannot and do not produce a goods or a service nevertheless feel they have a right to tell those who do how much to charge for what they produce; but he *is* surprised by how someone with Mr Tan's work experience views the issue of medical report.
What exactly does Mr Tan mean when he refers to a "routine report", which he suggested doctors charge $30 for? If it was simply a case of to "write down what is the problem with me relating to a specific medical condition", then angry doc would say that most doctors will probably not charge a separate fee at all, but consider it as part of the consultation. But is that really all that is required "to support an insurance claim or application for insurance"?
Doctors (and patients) who have been asked to fill up a "routine" insurance claim form will realise that that is not the case; the typical insurance claim form runs to nearly a dozen pages, and oftentimes requires a doctor to report the reason for consultation, diagnosis made, and treatment rendered for *every* visit the patient made to a clinic!
Blogger Cyke also points out that the cost of a medical report do not just go to the doctor's fee, but includes the administrative work required.
Those facts aside, we are still left with the subjective question of when a fee is considered "excessive".
Doctors, and the institutions they work for, charge at the end of the day "what the market will bear", which is to say what they can get away with. So if, as Mr Tan seems to believe, "there is no free market here - but a monopolistic situation", why aren't doctors charging say $800 instead of $80 per medical report? Why do most restructured hospitals charge a fee around that mark?
Well, because there is a market here, despite what Mr Tan claims - a doctor (or hospital) who charges $800 per medical report on a routine basis will find himself off the approved list by insurance companies, and unless he is really that good, find that few patients will go to him.
Mr Tan asks: "The consumer would want a low cost, and the doctor would want a high cost. How can this be resolved in the "free market environment" in Singapore?"
Well, angry doc asks: "What is driving the demand for medical reports?"
If you know why people want medical reports, if you understand why they need medical reports, then perhaps you will begin to have a clue as to how to lower the cost for medical reports (or do the reverse...).