In a Today Online report dated 7 March (Wednesday), it is reported that Senior Minister of State for Health Chee Hong Tat has announced in Parliament on Wednesday that to curb the “buffet syndrome” among healthcare consumers who do not have to pay out-of-pocket for their hospital bills, new Integrated Shield plan riders must feature co-payment of at least 5 per cent, adding that new riders incorporating co-payment of 5 per cent or more will be available by April next year.
Mr Chee noted that in the meantime, insurers can still sell existing rider plans, some of which are full riders that cover the entire co-payment sums for hospital bills. But the insurers must inform new policyholders that they will transit to new riders with co-payment from 1 April 2021.
Many netizens who have commented on this issue, stressed that it is always the middle class which seems to always get the short end of the stick.
Stanley Chuan Yong wrote,
"Ridiculous. Overcharging from the private Hospitals and Doctors why are consumers paying the price of it. Shouldn't MOH look into the private hospital and Doctors instead of asking consumers to bare the responsibility?
- Riders are not free. Consumers are paying for the riders premium.
- If all insurer decide that all current Intergrated shield plans are to change to the new model isn't it a breach of contract? E.g Prudential already have variable premiums that fluctuate according to the claim amount "To encourage prudent claims". Then shouldn't prudential abolish the variable premiums models?
- How can MOH decide without any public consultation?
Forcing it on us for us to accept. Consumers are always on the losing even as we are coming to the point MOH is siding with the insurer side.
Case or Competition Commission Singapore should step in and look into the situation."
Samuel Lee wrote, "Why did the government bow to pressure from the insurers ? Whether hospitalization or motor insurance, everyone knows that the hospital/medical practioner/workshop is out to gain as much as possible from the insurance claim. Why penalize the patient? Go after the service provider!"
Phua Hui Sim wrote, "Shouldn't MOH be regulating the doctors to minimize such moral hazard and not penalize all other genuine patients with the co-pay."
Raymond Soh wrote, "You owe us an apology MP Gan or minister of health. We are slogging our life paying for high premium rate of integrated shield that have the umbrella to shield when rain. Now we still have a umbrella but with small holes in between around leaving us wet with a torn umbrella. We have been paying for years and have not claim the hotel chalet stay that a person might at least stay there once in a life time. No one like to stay in hospital. Stamp your authority and don’t bully Singaporean rights and entitlements against insurance company and look at your high cost rate at even our public hospital . Even neighbour country like Malaysia which is less well off than us, in Taiwan the Government take care of the citizen as far as I know, till they fully recover! Majulah Singapura!"
Tea Eng Peng wrote, "Since the root of the problem is identified as the doctors who are over charging, why are the policyholders being penalized?
Regulator should look into ways in catching unethical doctors like how they impose on the real estate agents and financial consultants!"
Kelvin Seet wrote, "These things that benefit companies, always comes into immediate effect. When it comes to giving people things or money, it is 6 months to few years time."
Kum-Fai Chew wrote, "Is Government also stepping in to prevent any further increase in premiums with this co payment feature? This has to work both ways."
Wayne Lim wrote, "To use the word 'buffet' is just wrong. Of course if nothing happen we don't want keep going 'See Pai Por' mah. You think we siao meh horsepeter is hotel meh."
Wong Yin Yin wrote, "Again, it is the middle class who is at the losing end. So does this mean the government is encouraging us to use government hospitals? Appointment takes months and even with appointment, queue for a few hours?"
Liang Liang wrote, "It's a matter of time where bulk of salary goes to such increase in compulsory expenses while remaining salary can only pay for food."
Xavier Chow wrote, "Fatter wallets for the people who charge the bill, fatter wallets for insurance companies, thinner wallets for the actual guy who is seeing the doctor. Smlj?
Instead of catching these bad practices by errant providers and claimants,reviewing costings etc, we are pushing the blame on the users?
So what peace of mind are we actually buying when we are buying said policies?"
Dennis Chan wrote, "When taking or making citizen pay always take effect immediately when giving, however little or infrequent always one year or more later."
Tong Yi Kai wrote, "I sort of understand why there is a need. Although I don't really agree. But, why didn't government set a max cap too? I mean, if you are going to set a minimum (I.e. A quantum or a %) for the insurer to follow, why isn't there a max? I mean, theoretically, the insurer can say the insuree have to Co pay 20% and it's still following the guideline?"
Malik Mehmood wrote, "This is unacceptable and favor to insurance industry. Why we must co pay when rider already bought to cover cash free medical coverage.
It is purely favoring insurance companies. They should also add a condition if we do not use it than 10% return of full premium including rider."
Chia Bobby wrote, "So stress again even with a safety net called Medisheild/ Medisheild plus and plus either with higher premium or co- payment from us.
Wow, now Hospitals are making patients to overcomsume with their high class buffet medical cares. So who should oversee these overcomsume practices and stop its.
Making comsumers to paid and paid higher premium will solve this problem. I doubt so."
Ben Oh wrote, "I hope to vote you all out. Even insurers can play us out by not honouring riders! By paying more and still have to co-pay, why don't you become the banker again and eat all?"
Lisa Horvejkul wrote, "These insurers allowed the policyholders to claim in the first place. Once paid out means its a done deal. That means that the insurers themselves have thoroughly assessed the situation and approved the claims. Why are they complaining now? These insurers assured us that we will be fully protected during the point of sale. Ever so eager to earn their commissions. Now they are going back on theirs words and pointing fingers. Isn't that a breach of contract? A miss-sell."
Choy Weng Leong wrote, "Paid higher premium to get full coverage, now add co-payment = any reduction in premium? So far what i experienced, after this new shield thing = premium keeps going up. Now premium going up but still must co-pay."
Chan Raymond wrote, "Rider was introduced by insurance companies for patient who can afford higher premiums to cover the deductible and co-insurance.So will this change come with a revised lower premiums."
ShaoWei Li wrote, "This additional payment should only be applied to those who seek private hospital treatments. Those who patronize government restructured hospitals should not be affected."
Daniel Wong wrote, "“Those who are currently insured under full rider policies will not be affected, unless the insurer changes the terms of their existing contracts.”
If contracts can be changed without consent then what’s the point?"
Desmond Ding Nai Rong wrote, "This is what it means by the rich take care of the rich and let the poor suffers. When MOH turns a blind eye on errand doctors and yield to pressure of insurers, commoners suffers."
Mimi Melati Gunawan wrote, 'Insurance companies reported huge profit increase year after year and yet we need to co-pay despite riders. Haiz."
Jonathan Tee wrote, "The hospitals and practices must be investigated. I was once overcharged $700+ for a simple X Ray which the nurse agreed was an oversight but AIA paid the bill in full and no questions were asked. My expat client was overcharged for 200 packs of gauze for an operation when no more than twenty were used. Go figure what happened."
Roger Lim wrote, "Frankly, instead of putting this ridiculous rules. Why no investigation on overcharging. BTW, if this apply to all, then government hospital will also be charging too? If yes, this is very obvious win-win for both government and insurance company. Then what is the use of buying insurance where we are still exposed to these? Is this really what our government want? (Squeeze all the can from the people? Who already paying your super high salaries with our blood?)"
Liow Kian Tat wrote, 'Middle income will be worst hit again. Sigh."
Sebastian Chong wrote, "A common cholesterol drugs like Crestor 10mg, greedy Dr would charge S$4 a piece to the insurance company because they know you are not paying. The same Crestor 10mg is sold in Malaysia pharmacy for S$1. Maybe it is time to let insurance company selling drugs, not the clinic."
Chua Aik Hong Desmond wrote, "Hospitals and medical practitioners also should adjust down their fees."
Ho Victor wrote, "So will we be given a rebate if there is no claim for the year?"
Bing Wen wrote, "If the intention is to penalise those who abuse the system. Please find the black sheeps and not us."
Augistine Lee wrote, "Why are insurers asking MOH to curb the 100% payout when they are the ones coming out with the 100% payout riders?"