Assoc Prof Daniel Goh Pei Siong asked the Minister for Health concerning the Health Insurance Task Force report (a) whether the Ministry will (i) study whether it is overconsumption by patients, over-servicing or overcharging by healthcare providers, or poor oversight by private insurers that have led to higher bills for patients with Integrated Shield Plan riders covering the entire bill and (ii) determine the causes before making co-payments by patients with Integrated Shield Plans compulsory.
Mr Gan Kim Yong: The objective of the Health Insurance Task Force (HITF) is to achieve more efficient and sustainable outcomes for patients, healthcare providers and insurers. This is an important priority as we face an ageing population in Singapore.
We are currently studying the HITF’s recommendations. As the Task Force highlighted in its report, the issue is multi-faceted and there are many factors that contribute to the increase in health insurance claims costs. Examples include the longer life-expectancies for our ageing population, better access to healthcare services, advancements in healthcare technology and drugs, over-servicing or over-consumption of healthcare, as well as the design of some health insurance products.
All stakeholders have a role to play in managing healthcare costs and insurance claims. Healthcare providers should ensure that treatments provided are appropriate for the patient’s needs; patients need to make informed decisions on their choice of healthcare services; and insurers should ensure that their products are designed to encourage appropriate care.
Over the years, the Government has taken steps to enhance fee transparency to help patients and healthcare providers make informed choices. We have also designed our healthcare financing system to include co-payment, to encourage prudence and appropriate care. Our shared objective is to achieve a more sustainable and affordable healthcare system, and deliver greater value and better outcomes for our patients.