Stakeholders all play part in keeping healthcare sustainable

The outpatient pharmacy at the Singapore General Hospital.
The outpatient pharmacy at the Singapore General Hospital.PHOTO: ST FILE

We thank Mr Pua Hock Kee for his letter (Tackle high inflation in medical industry, May 15).

Building a sustainable healthcare system requires all stakeholders to play their part.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) has been working with different stakeholders on a range of initiatives to help keep healthcare costs and insurance premiums affordable and sustainable.

Last year, MOH published fee benchmarks for private sector professional fees for common surgical procedures.

The benchmarks guide private sector healthcare providers in charging appropriately, and enable patients and payers to make more informed decisions about their care and treatment.

The Agency for Care Effectiveness has also published appropriate care guides and drug guidances to guide healthcare professionals in making decisions that are clinically appropriate and cost-effective.

Co-payment is a key feature of our healthcare financing system to encourage prudent use and appropriate pricing of healthcare services.

All Integrated Shield Plans (IPs) are required to have a co-payment component, and MOH introduced co-payment requirements for new IP riders from March.

Collectively, these initiatives will empower providers, insurers and policyholders, patients and caregivers to make better informed choices on the appropriate care and treatment that best serve their needs.

Responsible pricing and use of healthcare services will help to moderate the rise in healthcare costs and claims over time.

This should correspondingly help to slow down the increases in insurance premiums.

All Singaporeans are covered for their basic hospitalisation needs under MediShield Life, for life.

Private hospitalisation insurance plans such as IPs and riders are optional, to cater to those who prefer additional coverage.

We encourage Singaporeans to seek treatment in line with their insurance coverage, preferences and affordability level.

Cham Daosong

Director, Finance Policy

Ministry of Health

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 28, 2019, with the headline 'Stakeholders all play part in keeping healthcare sustainable'. Print Edition | Subscribe