Medical inflation: 2.4 or 9.6%? Is Singapore the most expensive in Asia after adjusting for purchasing power parity?

I refer to the article “S’pore ranked No. 4 for medical inflation” (Straits Times, Apr 8).

The ST article states that “Earlier this year, the MOH said Singapore’s average annual healthcare inflation rate was 2.4 per cent between 2011 and 2016.”

Indeed, Minister of State for Health Chee Hong Tat had stated in the Parliament that the average annual healthcare inflation rate was 2.4 per cent between 2011 and 2016 after taking into consideration government subsidies.

However, the article also wrote, “According to Aon’s report, healthcare inflation fell from 20 per cent in 2014 to 9.6 per cent last year. These figures were based on claims received by the insurance firms it surveyed.”

Granted that the methodology in measuring medical inflation is different between Ministry of Health and the Aon report – why is it that the difference is so great – “average annual healthcare inflation rate was 2.4 per cent between 2011 and 2016” (MOH) versus “20 per cent in 2014 to 9.6 per cent last year” (Aon)?

According to the report by Aon– “Through the early part of this decade, Singapore was a market characterised by high levels of medical inflation. Harking back to 2014, Singapore had a medical inflation rate of 20 percent, double the regional average. It declined to 15 percent in the years 2015–2016 with the encouraging estimate that in 2017 it will fall below double digits to 9.5 percent before climbing to 10.9 percent in 2018”. With an AMII score of 95.1, Singapore narrowly avoids joining the high inflation markets of
Pakistan (115.3), Malaysia (132.4) and Vietnam (164.5) – all distinguished by recording index scores above the threshold 100 point barrier.”

Image from AON Asia report

On a relative basis, after adjusting for purchasing power parity (PPP) – is Singapore’s healthcare costs the highest among all the countries in the report?

To find out more ways to support us, visit this link: Donate