Singapore:Govt to work with insurers to "manage escalation of healthcare costs"

| 04 Dec 2017

The Ministry of Health (MOH) will introduce medical fee benchmarks and work with insurance companies to improve and strengthen their claims process to ensure that health insurance premiums will be sustainable in the long term.

The Ministry will appoint a committee by early next year to propose fee benchmarks. The fee benchmarks, which should be available next year, will help patients know how much they are expected to pay for medical treatment, help doctors decide on reasonable fees to charge, and help insurers know what are the reasonable reimbursement rates for treatments.

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said in an interview with the local media last week that the Ministry is seeing how it can implement some of the recommendations from the Health Insurance Task Force report released in 2016, which highlighted the sharp rise in claims -- a major driver of healthcare costs. One of the task force recommendations is to provide benchmarks for professional fees "given the urgency to manage escalation of healthcare costs".

Mr Gan said that there will be a range of fees that take into account factors such as the complexity of a medical case and the varying expertise of doctors.

LIA welcomes move

The Life Insurance Association (LIA) of Singapore, welcoming the Ministry's plan, said: "This is a key step to enhance the transparency of medical costs in Singapore."

The LIA added: "By providing a baseline for assessing what are reasonable charges, the market will be able to operate with greater effectiveness."

The Ministry already publishes fees for different medical procedures, which highlight price differences among healthcare providers in the market.

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