INSURANCE | Staff Reporter, Singapore

LIA Singapore, AIA counter criticisms of Integrated Shield Plans

Expanding panels to all private specialists may lead to higher premiums.

The Life Insurance Association of Singapore (LIA) and AIA Singapore have responded to the Singapore Medical Association’s statement on Integrated Shield Plans (IPs).

The SMA’s request to expand panels to all private specialists in the country and for all panel doctors to be compensated to the upper bounds of the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) fee benchmark range should be carefully considered as this would likely result in higher premiums, LIA said.

In addition, it labeled the SMA’s analysis of insurers’ costs and claims “misleading”, saying that claim increases are the main driver of premium increases. LIA has also urged the SMA to “promptly” respond to its request for clinical quality measures that would prevent over-treatments.

For its part, AIA stressed that it has been implementing the recommendations by the Health Insurance Task Force (HITF) in managing rising claims costs and healthcare inflation in the country, including expanding its healthcare panel to become one of the largest specialist panels in the IP market.

The insurer also highlighted the value-added services it extends to clients such as Medix’s Personal Medical Case Management and building direct relationships with healthcare providers.

“Our plans are also designed to ensure that benefit difference between seeing a panel and non-panel doctor does not make it prohibitive to see a panel doctor,” AIA said.

On 25 March, the SMA criticised the “highly exclusive” panels which lack private specialists, the opaque criteria for doctors to be selected as preferred providers, and the clustering of IP insurers’ fee scales around the lower limit.

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