More restrictions needed to rein in medical costs

I welcome the suggestions of the task force looking into the rising cost of insurance, including doing away with riders ("Panel suggests doing away with medical insurance riders"; last Friday).

This will make policyholders aware of the medical cost they are required to pay out of pocket, hence preventing them from requesting unnecessary treatment.

The authorities should introduce restrictions on how much an insurance company can increase premiums per review. The increases must be endorsed by a committee.

We also need to focus on medical service providers to prevent overcharging.

This can be done by stipulating a range of fees that doctors are allowed to charge. This should not be a guide but be mandatory.

To prevent overtreatment, the Ministry of Health can come up with a list of general tests and treatments for common illnesses.

A board should be set up to hear any disputes in this area.

More can be done to reduce insurance costs, and we are moving in the right direction.

Leong Kok Seng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 18, 2016, with the headline 'More restrictions needed to rein in medical costs'. Print Edition | Subscribe