The cost of cancer treatment is rising at a much faster pace than other treatments.
The MediShield Life Council has reported to the Ministry of Health (MOH) that spending on cancer treatments has increased by 20% annually, compared to 6% of other medicines.
With more cancer patients seeking treatment, MediShield Life’s payments for outpatient cancer treatment increased by more than 50% from $ 109 million in 2017 to $ 168 million in 2020.
To curb soaring costs, MOH announced in August last year that insurance would only cover effective and cost-effective treatments on the new anti-cancer drug list.
This list covers 90 percent of the treatments given in public hospitals.
The MOH Care Effects Agency states that cancer patients make up about 2% of all patients, while cancer treatments make up 35% of public sector drug spending.
On average, 50% of newly discovered uses of new or existing drugs enter the market and there is no evidence that they improve survival or quality of life.
In the five years from 2017 to 2021, this spending increased 90% to $ 275 million and the national age-adjusted cancer mortality rate improved by 2.1%.
The institution was established in 2015 to assess the impact and value of medical technology.
From September 2022
MediSave withdrawal and MediShield coverage are limited to Cancer Drug List drugs and treatments.
This list is based on the views of public and private cancer doctors and covers treatments that have proven to be effective and cost-effective.
You cannot cover anything that is not on the list.
At the same time, MOH has changed the coverage of cancer under MediShield Life, a compulsory national health insurance policy.
It covers only the most expensive medicines when multiple medicines are prescribed, rather than a flat rate of up to $ 3,000 per month. If the list is a combination therapy, all combination therapy medications will be covered for amounts ranging from $ 200 to $ 9,600 per month.
MOH will also raise the upper limit for Singaporeans who can benefit from the Dosing Assistance Fund (MAF), with per capita household income of $ 2,800 to $ 6,500 and subsidies ranging from 40 to 75%.
With the change, MOH will be fully funded by a self-paying subsidy and MediShield Life that nearly 90% of Singapore patients subsidized to use treatments on the Cancer Treatment List can pay using MediSave. Said to have a bill for a cancer treatment covered in Singapore.
From April 2023
The rules regarding insurance coverage for drugs on the anti-cancer drug list and their use only will be extended to the Integrated Shield Plan (IP).
IP insurance companies are not allowed to continue to cover patients for treatments that are not on the list.
About 70% of people here buy IPs that pay for private care. “Billings and premiums will increase unsustainably and become out of reach for many,” MOH told The Straits Times as IP continues to cover cancer treatments as it does today.