MediShield Life

Forum: Scheme needs to be more people-centric

Actuarial algorithms involve comprehensive parameters to determine insurance premiums for profit-oriented commercial insurance companies, but for non-profit national insurance schemes, they should be people-centric (Higher claims contribute to higher premium increases for seniors, Oct 24).

It is natural that younger people are healthier than seniors who are more vulnerable, but the percentage of sick seniors in society is relatively small. This phenomenon should not necessarily cause higher premium increases.

The MediShield Life Council should release the assumptions and formula that go into working out the amount of reserves needed for unpaid claims and contingent benefits (MediShield Life review: More to be done on cost control, Oct 1).

Premium increases without justifiable reasons are against the spirit of MediShield Life. Published figures indicate that the claims situation currently should not have an impact on premium increases.

For instance, the 333,000 claims by seniors last year incurred a payout of $541 million, which is about 28 per cent of the total premiums collected.

It is about 52 per cent of the total payout amount last year, slightly over half, while the average per claim for seniors is $1,625. As society ages, claims by older seniors would increase but so far, claims up to $100,000 per policy year have not happened yet.

Reserves are necessary, but excessive provision without valid reasons could cause undue hardship for subscribers.

MediShield Life needs to be more people-centric. The aim of a national healthcare scheme is to provide quality basic healthcare with reasonable premiums. It is more important to rein in rampant increasing medical costs with robust measures to prevent leakage loss.

Paul Chan Poh Hoi

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 31, 2020, with the headline 'Scheme needs to be more people-centric'. Print Edition | Subscribe