In August 2021, MOH first talk about financing cancer treatments in Singapore. The cancer drug list was then announced to be take into effect in April 2023. I believe this is going to affect healthcare cost in Singapore. However, I don’t see many people being aware of this. In this article, I will talk about what cancer drug list is and the potential impacts on your healthcare costs in the years to come.
We are lucky that not all critical illness have a drug list now. In my knowledge, cancer drug list was created to finance future cancer treatments in Singapore. By statistics, cancer is the number 1 causes of death in Singapore. As you can see in the table below, cancer is number 1 followed very closely by ischaemic heart diseases.
Singapore’s healthcare cost will definitely be impacted if more and more people suffers from cancer. At the same time, if treatment cost were to increase, the cost may spiral out of control.
Why aren’t we talking about the cancer drug list
What is the cancer drug list then?
The cancer drug list is is a list of clinically proven and more cost-effective cancer treatments. Through the cancer drug list, MOH can negotiate better prices and extend subsidies for more cancer drugs. These changes will keep cancer treatments and insurance premiums affordable in the longer term.
As you can see that there will now be a limit on how much medishield life can claim per month for each drug. If this is insufficient, the patient will have to pay cash for it.
I have a shield plan. Will I be affected?
Insurance companies selling the integrated shield plan will have to follow MOH guidelines to change their plans accordingly for claims on cancer treatments. I believe that each insurance will give a different limit to their coverage. Let’s take NTUC enhanced incomeshield to illustrate an example.
You can see that under point 6, depending on the plan type that you are on, the multiple of your limits will be different. For example, if I’m holding on to the Enhanced Advantage, I will be having a 4X MSHL (Medishield Life Limited).
You then have to go to the cancer drug list to find the drug that you need to have find the limit. If the MSHL is $2000, your claim limit under NTUC Enhanced Advantage will be $8000 (4X of $2000) per month. This is before any co-insurance and deductible or co-payment.
Please do get a professional financial advisor to clarify the type of coverage that you have as I have no intension to go deeper into the calculations of the claims.
What should I do then?
We have to ask ourselves at this stage is our coverage for cancer sufficient. The insurance policies that some of us will have are coverage for critical illness. These policies tend to pay off in one lump sum to replace the income that we are supposed to have while resting.
We have to ask whether we have enough savings to “afford” the second critical illness or cancer especially during relapse.
This is something that you will have to discuss with your professional financial advisor.
Final Thoughts By Wealthdojo
I believe that there will be more of such healthcare treatment cost changes in Singapores in the years to come. While having coverage it important, it is also important to build an asset that will be able to sustain and maintain such coverages in the years to come.
Wishing you good health!
Chengkok is a licensed Financial Services Consultant since 2012. He is an Investment and Critical Illness Specialist. Wealthdojo was created in 2019 to educate and debunk “free financial advice” that was given without context.
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The views and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organisation, employer or company. Assumptions made in the analysis are not reflective of the position of any entity other than the author.