Insurers welcome Singapore surgery fee benchmarks

Benchmarks can increase transparency, curb rising healthcare costs, and expose inflated claims, says industry body

Insurers welcome Singapore surgery fee benchmarks

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

The Life Insurance Association Singapore (LIA) has welcomed the surgery fee benchmarks published by the Singapore Medical Association (SMA), which can increase transparency and help curb rising healthcare costs.

The SMA, which represents the majority of public- and private-sector medical practitioners, aims to increase trust between patients and doctors, and simplify the health insurance process, the Straits Times reported.

Dr Lee Yik Voon, SMA president, said that patients no longer need to wait for approval from their health insurer before undergoing surgery, as long as the doctors charge within the SMA’s benchmarks. They will also have a wider range of doctors to choose from.

In its response to the move, LIA said that the benchmarks give insurers an additional reference point when reviewing health insurance claims. It can also reduce cases of overcharging by health providers and help insurers detect inflated claims, as well as resolve claims more quickly.

“The fee benchmarks will support efforts to manage overall medical costs by providing an additional source of guidance for Integrated Shield Plan insurers when establishing and working with their panels of preferred healthcare providers,” the association said.

On the flipside, Dr Leow Yung Khee, medical director and head of group insurance at Great Eastern Life, said that while the benchmarks give insurers more information to combat inflated claims, it also opens the window for some doctors who charge at the lower end of the benchmarks to raise their fees.

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