Soon, our Shield Rider may no longer cover 100% medical bills, and why it is happening?
[With reference to The Straits Times article dated 7th March 2018, "Insurers want all patients to pay part of hospital bills"]
Here is my 2-cents worth
If you chance upon this article today in The Straits Times, do not panic. For those who hasn't got a clue, here's the article IN A NUTSHELL:
Our Shield Riders (in which we are using cash to purchase currently), may no longer cover up to 100% of hospital bills very soon.
This means if we get warded next time (touchwood!), we may have to CO-PAY a portion of the medical bill, even though we'd added the Shield Rider.
WAHLAO EH, WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?
To be honest, I kinda of anticipated this industry-wide movement would happen. And here's why:
In my past 6 years of business, our Shield Plans premiums have been adjusted upwards for about 3 to 4 times. (I'm a Shield Plan policyowner myself, so i feel the hike too)
The trouble is, it doesn't seem like it is going to stop increasing anytime!
WHY ARE SHIELD PREMIUMS INCREASING THEN?
This is because when Shield Plans can cover up to 100%, everyone starts to abuse it.
More expensive procedures, or tests NOT medically-necessary may be prescribed. Because ultimately, everything is fully paid by your Shield Plan.
Patients simply abide by the doctors' instructions because:
1) they don't know better,
2) it is going to be paid fully by their Shield Plan. So why not?
Here's the kick:
Over-consumption by some patients + Over-servicing + Over-charging by some healthcare providers
= increase healthcare costs
= insurance premiums for all Singaporeans.
As a result, claims have been hitting ALL-TIME-HIGHS for insurance companies, and they have no choice but to increase your premiums to keep a profit margin.
The scary thing is this trend does not seem to stop.
HUH SO NOW WHAT?
Therefore, the insuers are recommending we do not cover up to 100% anymore in order to curb the misuse of Shield Plans. Here's how i believe things would pend out:
1) Healthcare providers would be more careful recommending procedures and tests because clients now would feel a pinch paying a portion of the bills too.
2) When patients have to pay, they would likely question if they would require certain lab tests or consumables recommended by the private hospitals and doctors.
3) Clients would also take better care of their health, to avoid unnecessary hospitalisation.
When Insurance companies maintain a healthy level of claims, premiums could be kept friendly for the long run, for everyone.
It is a WIN-WIN for everyone, except for those engaged in unethical medical practice.
SO WHAT'S THE PLAN?
Alas, nothing is finalised. So do stay in tune for more details soon.
I'll keep you all updated here.