We thank Dr Thomas Lee Hock Seng for his letters (More flexibility needed over electronic filing of medical claims, March 22; and Higher healthcare costs: Consider less obvious factors too, April 1).
Last year, about four million healthcare claims were submitted by about 1,800 approved medical institutions on behalf of their patients.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) requires Medisave and MediShield Life claims to be e-filed as it is more cost-and resource-effective compared with processing the high volume of claims manually.
Dr Lee suggests that one of the factors contributing to higher costs in private hospitals is the requirement for e-filing.
This observation is however not backed by evidence in practice.
MOH's e-filing system can be integrated with the provider's clinic management system.
In these cases, there is no additional cost involved for the clinic or hospital to submit claims for their patients.
Where clinics do not have such a system, e-filing can still be completed through an Internet Web portal.
It is difficult to understand why the clinic would incur higher costs when they submit claims through the Web portal compared with the alternative of submitting claims manually via hard-copy forms.
The latter arrangement is likely to be costlier and more time-consuming for both the clinic and its patients.
E-filing minimises errors, and enables the high volume of claims to be processed accurately and quickly for the benefit of doctors and patients.
Lim Siok Peng (Ms)
Director, Corporate Communications
Ministry of Health