Playing an active role to keep healthcare costs sustainable and affordable for all

Taming healthcare inflation is a collective responsibility. Learn more about how medical professionals, insurers, financial adviser representatives, and policyholders can work hand in hand to keep healthcare costs in Singapore remain affordable and sustainable.

Some 2.8 million policyholders1 hold private Integrated Shield Plans (IPs) which give coverage against large medical and hospitalisation bills that’s on top of the basic national MediShield Life plan. Both these health insurance plans are reviewed periodically to ensure they meet policyholders’ needs, and keep pace with evolving medical practice, healthcare cost inflation and medical advancements.

One way we do this at Aviva is by adding benefits to our plans, such as coverage for proton beam therapy to treat cancer, inpatient psychiatric treatment, as well as cell, tissue and gene therapy.

Healthcare cost increases outpace general inflation

In 2018, medical care costs grew by 10%, which was 10 times the estimated rate of inflation2. This number is expected to rise to 10.1% in 2019. What are some key factors driving up healthcare costs?

• Our ageing population

• Advancements in medical technology

• Increasing operating costs

As healthcare cost increases continue to outpace general inflation in Singapore, insurers have had to increase health insurance premiums to cover rising medical costs. Even so, they’ve been recording large financial losses. In 2019, the insurance industry saw an underwriting loss of S$11.2 million3. If nothing is done about the continuous rise in healthcare costs, insurance premium hikes will persist and financial protection will become less accessible to Singaporeans.

Initiatives to tame rising healthcare costs

It’s crucial for everyone to play an active role when it comes to managing the rise in healthcare costs. Here’s how we plan to tackle this issue, and how policyholders can help:

  • Enhanced risk management system

Enhanced risk management system

Since 2019, Aviva has been rolling out initiatives to help keep our health insurance premiums affordable for all our customers. The latest is an enhanced risk management system that automatically assesses claims for accurate and consistent payment. It also helps to identify any irregular claims and weed out any potential fraudulent claims.

Alongside this system, we’ve invested in clinical expertise and data analytics to better identify potential over-consumption, over-servicing or over-charging of healthcare services. 

Such tools help to keep healthcare costs in check and ensure future insurance premiums remain sustainable.

  • Panel specialists and pre-approval for certainty of claims payout

Panel specialists and pre-approval for certainty of claims payout

Preferred healthcare providers, or panels, are a common part of the global healthcare landscape, as doctors and insurers work together to pursue better outcomes and experience at a sustainable cost. Currently, Aviva has about 300 private medical specialists on our panel. This gives our policyholders the assurance of a curated panel that is continually assessed to offer quality healthcare services.

In addition, our panel specialists offer value-added services and benefits to our policyholders. These include expedited appointments and preferred rates for outpatient consultation. They’re also equipped to help our policyholders request for claims pre-approval if treatment is needed, so that policyholders can go for their planned treatment with peace of mind, knowing that the cost will be covered.

Panels also play a role to curb rising healthcare costs as the specialists within our preferred network commit to – for most cases without complications – charging fees that are reasonable and customary, and largely in line with MOH’s fee benchmark.

  • Patient Support Programme

Patient Support Programme

We understand that our policyholders may need support after undergoing hospital treatments for potentially life-threatening chronic illness like diabetes, cancer, heart disease or kidney disease. Hence,  we’ve introduced a Patient Support Programme exclusively for MyShield and MyHealthPlus policyholders. Those under the programme will be supported by a team of dedicated healthcare professionals who will design a personalised care plan based on their unique healthcare needs. This helps to ensure our policyholders receive optimal support for their treatments at the right time and in the right way that will promote their recovery and enhance their quality of life.

  • Co-payment features

Co-payment features

Following recommendations by the Health Insurance Task Force, Aviva has implemented co-payment features – co-insurance and/or deductible – from 1 April 2021 for all MyShield and MyHealthPlus plans. By fostering shared responsibility between insurers and policyholders and encouraging more prudent consumption of healthcare services, healthcare costs will stay sustainable and affordable for all in the long term. 

You can play an active role, too

As a customer, you can make more conscious healthcare decisions to help keep healthcare costs affordable. For example, you can choose specialists under our panel, and if you’re unsure about a prescribed treatment plan, remember that you’re entitled to ask for more detailed explanations and a better understanding of the need for treatment. Having a clearer picture on the diagnosis and prescribed treatments can help to enhance the overall healthcare experience too.

Collectively, we can make a difference

Collectively, all these efforts are aimed at actively monitoring and intervening any potential over-consumption, over-servicing or over-charging of healthcare services. They will help us to manage rising healthcare costs to ensure long term sustainability and affordability. 

1Source:https://data.gov.sg/dataset/medishield-and-integrated-shield-plans, “Number of Policyholders for MediShield and Integrated Shield Plans, Annual”, 2 December 2019, obtained as of 15 March 2021

2Source:https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/health/insurance-linked-to-high-medical-inflation, “Insurance linked to high medical inflation: Experts”, 28 June 2019, obtained as of 15 March 2021

3Source:https://www.straitstimes.com/uncategorized/singapore-general-insurance-sector-made-28m-underwriting-loss-last-year-on-higher, “Singapore general insurance sector in the red with $28m underwriting loss last year on higher claims”, 24 March 2020, obtained as of 15 March 2021

Need to see a medical specialist?

There are over 300 specialists across various disciplines on Aviva’s panel. Start your search here or download Aviva ClaimConnect app from the Apple App Store or Google Play store

You can also ask your specialist to help you with pre-approval of your claim before going for your planned hospitalisation and medical treatment.  

Alternatively, speak to your financial adviser representative or 

give us a call to book an appointment

1800 8800 880

Available 24 hours daily

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