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     FrontPage Edition: Mon 21 August 2006

Publication of data on affordability of healthcare


Publication of Data on Affordability of Healthcare

All Singaporeans have access to good and affordable healthcare, through government subsidies and our 3Ms (Medisave, MediShield, Medifund) framework. This is a Ministry of Health (MOH) commitment.
To reassure Singaporeans that this framework is effective, MOH will publish key affordability indicators on its website and update them every six months.
The first report is now available, based on 2005 data. The data for the first half of 2006 are being compiled and will be published once available.
We are starting with 4 data sets.
First, the sizes of hospital bills in public acute hospitals (AH, CGH, KKH, NUH, SGH and TTSH). The data are tabulated to show the average figure as well as the 50th, 75th, 85th and 95th percentile figures. They will show if the trends for public hospital bills are affordable.
Second, Singaporeans' savings in their Medisave Accounts. The data are tabulated to show the average figure as well as the 50th, 75th, 85th and 95th percentile figures. They will show if Singaporeans have sufficient savings in their Medisave Accounts to pay for the expected hospital bills.
Third, the number of Singaporeans who have subscribed to MediShield Insurance. This will show if adequate numbers of Singaporeans are protected financially against very large hospital bills.
Fourth, the total amount of Medifund disbursed to needy patients in Singapore. This will show if the safety net for the very needy patients is working.
The 2005 data show that public hospitals are affordable. This is especially so for the Class B2 and C wards. The average B2 and C bills are below $1,100. 95% of all B2/C bills are below $3,500. Considering the high standard of clinical care provided in our public hospitals, this is quite an achievement.
In addition, the data show that Singaporeans, including many pensioners and those not working, have significant savings in their Medisave Accounts. Half have more than $9,000 of Medisave savings. On average, each Singaporean has more than $13,000 of Medisave, sufficient to pay for several episodes of B2/C hospitalisation.
For large bills, there is MediShield to help cover payment. Today, more than 77% of all Singaporeans, or 90% of the working population, are covered by MediShield.
Since the reform in July 2005, MediShield is helping patients to cover about 60% of large medical bills above $5,000. An Occasional Paper on MediShield reform outcomes has been published on the MOH website.
Finally, for the needy Singaporeans who require special help, Medifund is there to assist them. In 2005, Medifund disbursed about $40 million of such financial assistance. This was a 16% increase over 2004.
MOH will continue to build on our robust healthcare financing framework to make healthcare affordable for Singaporeans.

Source: Press Release 22 Aug 2006

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