|Given Singapores changing demographics,
including an ageing population, MAS enacted a new Health Insurance
Regulatory Framework in the IA in 2004. There were previously
no provisions in the IA which were specifically applicable to
the health insurance business. Existing provisions were geared
towards regulating short-term, yearly-renewable health insurance
products. The IA has been amended to help ensure that insurers
can better provide long-term health insurance coverage for consumers.
As a member of the Ministry of Healths 3Ms Review Committee,
MAS is helping to review the Medisave, Medishield and Medifund
schemes. The committee will also consider the medium- to long-term
role of medical insurance in Singapore.
In addition, we participate in the Economic Review Subcommittee
on policies related to taxation and wages. The subcommittee
is looking into setting up the Transferable Medical Insurance
Scheme, which will have two key features transferability
and continuity. The scheme will allow employees of selected
companies to retain the coverage under their companys
group policies for up to a year while they are between jobs.
In view of the importance of health insurance products to a
wide spectrum of the population, MAS introduced a new regulatory
framework for accident and health (A&H) insurance effective
1 April 2004. The new framework governs the conduct of intermediaries
selling A&H products, ensuring that customers are adequately
advisedon how to make sound product choices. Rules under the
new framework are aligned with those which intermediaries have
to follow under the FAA. Insurers are also required to be more
transparent in their policy documents so that customers are
fully informed and aware of the features and implications of
each health insurance policy.
During the year, MAS worked with the Life Insurance Association
of Singapore (LIA) to standardise the definitions of critical
illnesses (CI) used in CI policies. This helped toreduce confusion
among consumers when comparing CI policies across insurers and
ensure that they do not inadvertently end up with less coverage
than they need. It also allows for greater competition and a
more level playing field among the insurers. Currently, all
insurers offering CI policies use the standardised CI definitions.
The Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003
had raised fears that, due to policy exclusions, insurance companies
might not offer coverage against SARS, or withdraw this coverage
if the situation deteriorated. MAS undertook a survey to investigate
the extent of coverage. The survey revealed that coverage was
largely available. A list of the insurers which provide SARS
coverage is available on the websites of LIA and GIA.