Quadruplets cost family more than $180k in hospital fees

The quadruplets born on July 19 are still in hospital, and their estimated hospital bill is around $180,000. Their grandparents are frustrated over the large sum, which is still increasing, as the babies have been warded for about 30 days and have not been discharged.

Madam Lily Lim, 52, told Shin Min Daily News that the babies were born premature and had to be warded in the neonatal intensive care unit, which costs $1,000 a day for each baby.

The current bill is around $135,000, as the babies have been warded for 28 days as of August 15. The eldest child Janessa Phua is 1.8kg, and Madam Lim says she is likely to be discharged next week.

However the other three - Joelle, Jovianne and Kingsley - might have to stay in hospital for a few more weeks. Madam Lim estimates the bill to hit $180,000 when her grandchildren are finally discharged.

She lamented that while the government encourages having more births, her family is unable to bear the high costs of having quadruplets.

Madam Lim said the family considered using the Child Development Account to pay the bills, but they found out that the money cannot be used for this hospital bill.

The paper understands that Madam Lim has filed applications with the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board and Ministry of Health to request to use both her husband's and her CPF accounts to help ease the financial burdens of her son and daughter-in-law.

As of yesterday, Madam Lim has not received a reply.

She says that with their combined CPF of about $90,000, they would be able to pay for half the fees.

A spokesman from the Ministry of Health told the paper that they have contacted Madam Lim and Gleneagles Hospital to enquire about the details to evaluate the case.

The family has paid her daughter-in-law's medical bill of over $40,000. Madam Lim said that they had appealed to the hospital and received a discount of $1,500.

Others have questioned the Phuas' decision in choosing a private hospital over a government one, as the latter would be a much cheaper option.

Madam Lim told Shin Min Daily News on Thursday that the family chose Gleneagles, because they felt that delivering quadruplets would be risky. Also, a Chinese practitioner recommended the hospital when her son and daughter-in-law were trying to conceive.

When the paper contacted National University Hospital and Singapore General Hospital, both spokespersons said the hospitals have adequate resources to manage multiple births.

natlim@sph.com.sg

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