LIA Singapore weighs in on IPs row with doctors

Medical community's analysis is "misleading", says insurance industry body

LIA Singapore weighs in on IPs row with doctors

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

The Life Insurance Association (LIA) Singapore has issued a response to earlier pronouncements by the Singapore Medical Association (SMA) regarding Integrated Shield Plans (IPs).

Last week, the SMA criticised IP insurers for allegedly limiting the public from seeing the doctor of their choice by creating medical panels that exclude many private specialists and by pricing doctor’s fees around the lower limit of the ranges set by the Ministry of Health.

In its response, the LIA said it has implemented all the recommendations issued by the Health Insurance Task Force in 2016, which aim to keep insurance costs down.

LIA called for increased transparency, urging the SMA to create clinical quality measures and guidelines to prevent over-treatment, which the insurers’ group alleges to have happened on numerous occasions.

On the subject of medical panels, LIA said this has been a common practice, and it has advised insurers to make sure their panels are large enough to offer a wide range of medical services to policyholders. However, LIA argued that expanding the panels to include all private specialists may result in the need to increase premiums, and that there were “trade-offs” in raising compensation to the upper bounds of the government benchmarks.

LIA also accused SMA’s analysis of insurers’ costs and claims costs as “misleading”, and the insurers’ group said that it will come out with a more detailed rebuttal to the medical community’s position.

Furthermore, LIA added that all parties involved should be proactive and work collaboratively to ensure the continued accessibility of quality healthcare in Singapore.

“We look forward to greater collaboration amongst all parties with the formation of a trilateral committee, comprising LIA Singapore, SMA and the Academy of Medicine, Singapore already set up by the Ministry of Health (MOH) to discuss and resolve IP-related issues, and to refine the implementation of HITF recommendations together in a constructive manner,” LIA’s statement said.

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