Because you’ll need the money for an avalanche of diapers later.
Have you ever felt completely unprepared for a baby?
I did. Most of the friends in my inner circle were not married, much less expecting a baby.
It was just a matter of time before a baby came along, but I didn’t realise how incapable I felt till I saw that second purple line on my pregnancy test kit (by the way, buy those cheapo pregnancy test kits off qoo10 for less than $0.50 each instead of the ridiculously expensive ones in pharmacies that can cost close to $20).
The next thing I did after seeing those two purple lines was to go online and google what to do next.
After looking through posts and posts of recommended gynaecologists, hospitals, prenatal and delivery packages etc, I still wasn’t exactly sure what to do.
Being on a tight budget (due to my savings being wiped out by wedding and renovation costs, being saddled by a housing mortgage with a bloody high interest rate of 2.67% from CPF, and a money-sucking van I owned), I really really had to save money on prenatal check-ups and delivery charges.
This was the most important thing I did that saved me a couple of thousand dollars.
Go to a polyclinic
Yeah, the beauty of the Singapore healthcare system is that if you bother to make a trip to the polyclinic to get a referral letter, you’re put on a subsidised scheme when you seek specialist treatment at Specialist Outpatient Clinics and stay in B2 or C ward in public hospitals.
It’s either this or get a CHAS card, which I didn’t qualify for.
So anyway, here are the steps you can expect from going the subsidised route:
1. Go to polyclinic (make same day appointment with NHGP via 6355 3000 or online to save time)
2. Explain to doctor your period hasn’t arrived
3. Ask to take a polyclinic pregnancy test
4. Go to the lab to take a polyclinic pregnancy test
5. See doctor again, show a happy face when he says “You’re pregnant!”
6. Ask for referral to government hospital, e.g. KK Hospital (KKH)
7. Go to KKH A&E with your referral letter
8. Congratulations, now you are under KKH’s subsidised patient’s scheme
Now you can save up to 80% on KKH prenatal checks, scans, delivery charges and more!
And we even managed to get a subsided rate and waiver of registration fee when we took our infant to KKH’s 24 hour clinic to test for jaundice on a Sunday (the polyclinic was closed).
Take note that as a subsidised patient, you cannot choose a regular doctor, but will be shuttled around from one doctor to another (which was perfectly fine for me since I felt the doctors were just an official mouthpiece for the nurses’ and sonagraphers’ reports). And it’s a way of getting second, third and fourth opinions from various doctors too!
Another tip to save money and time is to ensure you always have a scan or test done before you see the doctor, because without the scan or test results, your visit to the doctor will be 5 minutes of him asking you how you feel or if you have any questions. Why would you wait 3 hours to simply tell him you’re feeling fine?
Try the subsidised route first, and if you feel you want to upgrade to choose your own doctor (considered the private route), you can always do so later, but you may have to return the subsidies you enjoyed from your previous prenatal checkups (please double check with the hospital or MOH for advice).
If you are really adventurous, you can try delivering your baby in Malaysia. You can use Medisave to pay for delivery expenses in certain Malaysian hospitals, provided you have a referral letter from the Singapore referral centre (HMI Balestier or Parkway East Hospital). You cannot use Medisave for the prenatal costs as they are considered outpatient costs.
You have 9 months or more to do your own research, and I hope this article came in useful 🙂
Wishing you a smooth delivery!
Also published on Medium.