Salma Khalik kpkb about medical insurance

Following closely behind Han Fook Kwang’s unhappiness about the free hand given to medical insurers to change their premiums and terms of coverage, Salma Khalik has written another piece to highlight the ‘abuses’ or liberties given to insurers at the expense and interests of the insured. Not only can insurers raise premiums, but could stop insuring someone with serious conditions, change the coverage or not even paying for what they deemed should not be covered under the insurance plans. And the insured is stuck with an insurer and changing to another insurer would be difficult or not possible. Salma is yelling at the MAS to do something for the good of the insured.
Medical insurance has always been a commercial transaction with the insurers thinking only of profit as their main objective. And the insured would be at their mercy, to be made to pay for their profits all the way. And this can become a scam to the consumers. And this is something that is not addressed in the proposed Medishield Life Scheme.

To be serious, for the interests of the the people, the Medishield Life must not be farmed out to any private insurers. It must be managed as a govt service like the CPF, ‘for the good of the people’. I know some of you are sneering. Nevermind that this is a truism that is found wanting. The profit motive of the Medishield Life must be taken out from the equation. And to ensure that this will be the case, all the excess revenue from premiums should be ploughed back to lower the premiums of the insured in the scheme.

This is a govt initiated compulsory national scheme and must be managed with morality and social responsibility as the key principles, not profit. No one should be allowed to covet the revenue churned out by this Medishield Life Scheme and to lay their hands on the surpluses for whatever devious schemes they have in mind in the future. Any surpluses must go back to the people in the Scheme.

In a small way this could ease the buffet syndrome and cut down on excessive consumption of medical services if the insured know that by not over consuming they could end up paying less, paying just enough.

And it should remove totally the desire by anyone to think there is money there for harvest. Oh, there are so much money in the Scheme, let’s make it more affordable, or the money can be put to better use. Take your hands off the money!

Don’t touch the money in this compulsory Scheme. It is the people’s money, forced to pay ‘for their own good’ and it must stay that way. If the govt is serious in its intent ‘for the good of the people’, keep this out of private insurers or any insurers. This must be a non profit making govt scheme, with govt regulated terms and conditions and coverage for all with no exceptions and exclusion clauses.

Not that I have agree to a compulsory scheme, but it is not going to be otherwise, so everyone must make the govt know that the surpluses in the Scheme must be retained in the Scheme for the benefits of the people in the Scheme.

Kopi Level - Green


Anonymous said...

KNNH, first we have HDB raiding our Ordinary ccounts with affordable HDB flats, now we have insurers raiding our Medisave accounts with Medisave life, what else ?

Anonymous said...

....... what else ?
@ February 26, 2014 1:06pm

What about politicians raiding our reserves with million dollar salary demands?

Anonymous said...

Hi rb,

Your concerns are well founded. It is almost certain that Medishield Life would be farmed out to private insurance companies such as GE, NTUC, etc. You have to look no further than the CPF Life Scheme, that was heavily structured with them in mind.

The government had long abandoned the non-profit platform (or cooperative model) in their planning and administration. Even NTUC Income had shifted to a profit oriented mode years ago and their products/services and returns are fast matching those of the private insurers. I have no doubt, it would be a major beneficiary of the Medishield Life.

What is most abhorrent about profit-oriented/market efficient approach of the government is the continuing ripping off of monies from CPF members of what is rightly their hard-earned funds.

CPF members are paid fixed interests of 2.5-4% p.a. while Temasek/GIC are earning market returns for years and keeping the bulk of it and building hidden reserves reportedly to the tune of more than $1 trillion. The great diversion of billions from CPF to hidden reserves through the sale of HDB flats at inflated price.

Instead of providing low cost and not-for-profit public services (including insurances), CPF members have to feed the private sectors buying products and services that are expensive and at times of suspicious values. You can add the new Medishield Life to this continuing obsession with profits.

For oldies (especially those of pioneer generation), don't be too happy with the $8 billion fund provided in the 2014 budget (please note, funded in ONE year). This is just 0.8% of $1 trillion is estimated hidden reserves. Or 2.67% of CPF funds of $300 billion.

Let me ask the big question. Who is paying for all these?


b said...

There are 5 important things a country should not be privatised - housing, healthcare, transport, education and pensions. No need to be a genius to understand why they are privatised.

Anonymous said...

Keep the dirty hands of the private insurers from the Medishield Life!

Anonymous said...

I am an Australian working in Singapore more than 10 years ago. While i was there i took up a life insurance policy with AIA singapore for myself and my spouse. Year after year they increase the premium and require yearly medical check up. It went on for a few years and to the point that the premium has become ridiculous high. I gave up the policy and sign up the same insurance with the same coverage back in Australia. The premium now for both of us is less than what I paid for in Singapore for me alone. Top that with no pre-existing condition clause, no medical required at time of signing on and all the subsequent year. Also i may paying the premium on a fortnightly installment.

i really think it is a big reap off in Singapore by the insurance companies with the support of the singapore government.