The government is taking several actions that could lead to lower insurance health and motor premiums.
In November 2017, the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced that it will introduce medical fee benchmarks and work with insurance companies to improve and strengthen their claims process to ensure that health insurance premiums will be sustainable in the long term.
The Ministry will appoint a committee in early 2018 to propose fee benchmarks. The fee benchmarks will help patients know how much they are expected to pay for medical treatment, help doctors decide on reasonable fees to charge, and help insurers know what are the reasonable reimbursement rates for treatments.
The MOH is seeing how it can implement some of the recommendations from the Health Insurance Task Force report released in 2016, which highlighted the sharp rise in medical claims – a major driver of healthcare costs. One of the task force recommendations is to provide benchmarks for professional fees “given the urgency to manage escalation of healthcare costs”.
The Ministry already publishes fees for different medical procedures, which highlight price differences among healthcare providers in the market.
Removal of restrictions on existing and new motor insurance warranties
Meanwhile, the Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS) has announced that it had worked with major car dealers to remove restrictions on existing and new warranties. The move means that from 2018, car owners will be able to repair their cars at a workshop of their choice without fear of losing their warranty.
Under current warranty restrictions, drivers can service or repair their cars only at authorised workshops. Fixing their cars at independent workshops will void their warranty.
The liberalisation can lead to lower motor insurance premiums on two fronts. One is that lower car repairs and maintenance costs could result in lower premiums. According to the CCS, market feedback indicates that authorised workshops can charge two to three times more for comparable parts and servicing.
Another is that vehicle owners would be spared from paying several hundred dollars more to insurers just for the option of choosing alternative workshops to their motor insurance policy.
Currently, car dealers and insurance companies specify which service centres a driver can send his vehicle to. The dealers’ authorised service centres are often different from insurers’ preferred workshops. A