SINGAPORE – A new chemotherapy and cancer treatment cost calculator was launched on Friday (19 August) to help patients estimate costs in light of upcoming changes to the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) cancer insurance model .

Starting next month, only clinically proven, cost-effective drug treatments on the new list of cancer drugs will be available through Medisave and Medishield Life as part of efforts to curb the rising cost of cancer care. will be billed under

“This means that each drug currently has specific and individual billing limits, and subsidy eligibility depends on the reason for prescribing,” said the National University Cancer Institute’s Division of Hematology and Oncology. Dr. Jen Wei Ying, Associate Consultant, said. Singapore (NCIS).

“Subsidies are also determined by a patient’s per capita household income, eligibility for other government programs, and residency status,” she said.

Additionally, most cancer drugs are prescribed in combination, so only a single claim can be made. This will be the drug with the highest billing limit. This makes out-of-pocket cost estimates and financial counseling more complicated for patients prescribed combinations of drugs with different billing limits, she noted.

Expenses incurred during cancer treatment, such as the cost of anti-nausea medication, for example, are now subject to separate reimbursement restrictions, she added.

That’s why the team at NCIS and local artificial intelligence health tech startup Bot MD devised a cost calculator known as ChemoCalc to estimate the cost of patient care and provide financial counseling.

CEO and co-founder of Bot MD Dorothea Koh said that various schemes are integrated such as Pioneer and Merdeka Generation schemes as well as pharmaceutical subsidy schemes such as Cancer Drug List, Medication Assistance Fund and Standard Drugs List. said there is. calculator.

All NCIS staff have access to calculators via an app or web browser.

Physicians can use calculators to understand patient costs and determine treatment options and next course of action, such as referring a patient to a medical social worker, says Dr. Jen.

The calculator will be updated with national revisions and price revisions to ensure that the estimated costs match the actual amounts patients are expected to pay, Koh said.

ChemoCalc can also be adapted for use in other medical institutions.

NCIS is trying to develop a version of the tool for patients, Dr. Jen said.

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