ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Important to find out how much S'poreans willing to pay for insurance: GPC
SINGAPORE: A member of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Health has said it is important for the MediShield Life Review Committee to find out just how much Singaporeans are willing to pay in insurance premiums.
Dr Chia Shi-Lu said on Friday that this should be done before deciding what kind of coverage should be offered to them.
He also suggested giving rebates to healthy individuals. This could help to allay concerns that healthy people will have to pay for premiums that will be used to pay for others with health problems.
Dr Chia added that this would be preferential to penalising those who have health problems, noting: "We want to be careful about messaging because we don't want to be overly discriminatory. This is a shared safety net, and so everybody plays a part."
In determining how MediShield Life will be designed, Dr Chia said that it must be sustainable, and that the committee's key challenges lie in determining how much in premiums Singaporeans will have to pay and what will be their out-of-pocket expenditure.
He noted that different people have different needs, and it may be tough to find a one-size-fits-all solution.
Dr Chia said: "Most patients want something that is simple -- I think those who are a bit older and those who may be a bit less particular or sophisticated in their healthcare-seeking behaviours would just want something simple that will look after everything and still give them quality.
"However, among my younger patients, I think they are more discerning. They always ask about different options, different tiers, what they can do, and so on. So I think it also depends on the patient. I think everyone wants something simple, but especially among the younger generation, I think they want a bit more choice.
"The problem with choice is that sometimes it is a bit more expensive in the short, medium, and long-term, than if we make everything standardised for everyone. Because if you standardise everything, it does mean there will likely be some restrictions."
Dr Chia also pointed out that having a blanket insurance system like MediShield Life is an important first step in changing the perception that Singapore's healthcare system is not affordable.
Dr Chia said that while the GPC for Health will not be directly involved in the work of the review committee, it will continue to put forward viewpoints and suggestions from the ground for the committee to consider.
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