According to Mercer Marsh Benefits’ 2019 Medical Trends Around the World Report, Singapore’s medical cost inflation was 10% in 2018, 10 times its economic inflation rate. This is a very daunting prospect and if left unchecked, could put medical care out of the reach of the masses very soon. To stem rising medical costs, the Singapore government has undertaken various measures such as compulsory co-payment as well as national fee standards for procedure fees. For the individual, it is even more critical to take proactive steps today to guard against medical inflation. Here are some tips to combat rising medical costs in Singapore.
Tip 1: Purchase An Integrated Shield Plan
All Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents are eligible for MediShield Life- a basic health insurance plan administered by the Central Provident Fund (CPF) which helps to pay for large hospital bills and selected costly outpatient treatments. It is a national scheme which provides basic coverage. To enhance its coverage, one should purchase an Integrated Shield Plan where the premiums can be paid with MediSave funds, subject to withdrawal limits.
In getting an Integrated Shield Plan, you get higher coverage that covers the cost of private hospitals or Class B1/A wards in public hospitals, seek treatment from your choice of doctor etc. Major insurance companies in Singapore offer a wide selection of Integration Shield Plans to cater to everyone’s preferences.
Tip 2: Visit Panel Specialist Clinics
Should you require a consultation with a medical specialist, do consider visiting one listed on the panel of your insurance provider. More often than not, there is a double advantage of doing so: (i) preferred consultation fee and (ii) higher claim limits.
For instance, policyholders of Aviva MyShield can use the Aviva ClaimConnect app to search for a suitable medical specialist from over 200 medical specialists and secure an appointment within 3 working days. When they flash the e-card through the Aviva ClaimConnect app, they also get to enjoy preferred consultation rates at any of the Aviva panel specialist clinics:
- First consultation fee: S$120 (before GST)
- Follow-up consultation fee: S$70 (before GST)
Please refer to Aviva’s website if you would like to find out more about the benefits of using Aviva’s medical specialists.
Tip 3: Obtain pre-approval to ensure medical expenses are covered
To ensure that your medical expenses at private hospitals will be covered, always obtain pre-approval from your insurer. This gives you certainty over your claim outcome even before you go for treatment.
If you are a policyholder with Aviva, this pre-approval process can be done by your medical specialist if he/she is on Aviva’s panel. Armed with a pre-approval, both the patients as well as the medical practitioners will have the same understanding on what would be covered by the insurer. This also ensures that only necessary procedures are carried out and over-consumption of other medical services would be reduced. The entire process brings certainty, convenience and results in a hassle-free discharge.
These grant the patients peace of mind as they would already know the size of their medical bills and allow them to focus on their recovery.
Tip 4: Reap rewards when working out!
Finally, why not adopt preventive measures such as maintaining a healthy lifestyle? Participate for free in national programmes such as the National Steps Challenge and get rewarded for working out! Regular exercise decreases a person’s risk of developing certain diseases, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure etc, which reduces the need to visit your doctor so often. Indeed, prevention is the best medicine.
This article is written in collaboration with Aviva but the views are his own.