Integrated Shield Plans need more transparency

I fully agree with senior health correspondent Salma Khalik ("IP insurers should pass on savings to consumers"; June 30).

What is needed is more transparency and accountability from the insurers, to ensure that Integrated Shield Plans (IPs) are priced fairly, with the insurers managing healthcare inflation and passing on savings from healthcare policies to the people.

This can include the following:

  • Full explanation - backed by data - of why savings are not passed on to consumers ("Medical insurance claims have escalated" by the Life Insurance Association Singapore; last Saturday).
  • All IP premiums to be clearly broken down to illustrate the difference between MediShield Life premiums and IP premiums of the private insurers, and the respective coverage of the two.

IP plans from the five insurance companies could be listed on the CompareFirst portal so the public can make informed decisions when purchasing a plan.

  • Projections of premiums going forward, with the next 10 years of premiums fully guaranteed or with limited increment based only on national healthcare inflation rates. Insurers are experienced in making long-term projections. Thus, this should not pose a big challenge to them.
  • Making the profitability of such IPs, together with claims history and healthcare inflation data and analysis from the insurers, accountable to the Government and regulator.
  • If necessary, explore the feasibility of the "nationalisation" of IPs, with private insurers acting as administrators of the plans, with their profitability based on the effectiveness of the administration of the claims and healthcare cost management.

Evelyn Tan-Leong (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 11, 2015, with the headline 'Integrated Shield Plans need more transparency'. Print Edition | Subscribe