Separate those with riders from general health insurance pool

ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

Monday's editorial (Treat what ails healthcare market) has iterated the salient points of why healthcare costs have risen to stratospheric levels in recent years, namely overconsumption, overtreatment and overcharging, all in a laissez-faire, free-market environment where there are no caps on what doctors and hospitals can charge.

There are two legs to holding down medical costs and making them affordable to all.

The first is to take individual payments away and pool societal resources together. This we have done sensibly through MediShield Life.

The second is to curb wanton charges. This will not stop until actuarial computations define how much each medical procedure should be, and doctors and hospitals stick to the derived payment framework.

With regard to pooled insurance, I do not see how imposing a 5 per cent bill payment for policies with copayments and deductible riders will help much to manage premiums for the general insurance pool, who must still bear 95 per cent of the cost of excessive consumption.

Those who buy medical insurance with riders should be separated from the general insurance pool, and their premiums calculated together with others who have bought them.

If their premiums rise, then they will do so without influencing the general pool.

Yik Keng Yeong (Dr)