Proposals to rein in health insurance costs unveiled

A B1 ward at Changi General Hospital.
A B1 ward at Changi General Hospital. PHOTO: ST FILE

To arrest a worrying rise in health insurance premiums, a task force has proposed wide-ranging measures, including discouraging riders that let insured patients get treatment without paying a cent.

Set up by the Life Insurance Association and with members from the Health Ministry and the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the Health Insurance Task Force also suggested fee benchmarks to prevent overcharging, and for insurers to list preferred health providers that charge reasonable fees.

On the issue of riders, it has been found that patients under such schemes run up bills that are up to a quarter higher than those of patients who have to bear a share of the cost - and this could cause premiums to rise for everyone else. So the task force wants to persuade insurers to include a co-payment element in future schemes.

The 54-page report comes amid expectations that premiums for integrated plans, frozen for a year after the introduction of MediShield Life, could go up by as much as 15 per cent once the moratorium is lifted next month.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 14, 2016, with the headline 'Proposals to rein in health insurance costs unveiled'. Print Edition | Subscribe