Singapore Medical Association urges insurers over fair remuneration

Doctors’ group says insurers must follow fee benchmarks set by Ministry of Health

Singapore Medical Association urges insurers over fair remuneration

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

The Singapore Medical Association has called on insurers to work closely with doctors in order to ensure that healthcare costs are lowered while doctors are remunerated fairly.

In an opinion piece published by the Straits Times, Singapore Medical Association president Dr Lee Yik Voon responded to AIA Singapore medical director Alan Ong, who said that collaboration between doctors and insurers is a critical aspect of controlling healthcare costs.

According to Lee, collaboration is a two-way process. However, the status quo is that insurers unilaterally determine the fees paid to doctors that are part of insurance panels. These fees, Lee said, are mostly pegged substantially below the doctors’ usual rates.

“While it is reasonable to set a cap on doctors’ fees, doctors deserve to be properly remunerated,” Lee said.

“In deciding on fair remuneration for doctors, we suggest that the insurers refer to the fee benchmarks published by the Ministry of Health… Unfortunately, many insurers have not adopted them but instead offer remuneration rates below the lower bound of the benchmarks.”

Lee said that the Singapore Medical Association supports the efforts of insurers to keep insurance premiums affordable. However, the association also maintained that patients must not be overly restricted in their choices, and that doctors should be remunerated appropriately.

“Our view is that if fair remuneration is provided, more doctors will come on board, and patients will benefit from being able to choose from a wider pool of providers,” said Lee.

“Along the same lines, insurance panels should not be closed panels that benefit only a select group of providers.”

Related Stories

Keep up with the latest news and events

Join our mailing list, it’s free!