SINGAPORE: The MediShield Life claim limit for cancer drug services will be increased to S$3,600 per calendar year from Apr 1 this year, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Saturday (Mar 4).
A separate claim limit for outpatient cancer drug services was introduced on Sep 1, 2022 “to cover costs of services that might be incurred over the course of one’s cancer drug treatment”, said MOH, adding that the services included scans, blood tests, doctor consultations and supportive care drugs.
Currently, the MediShield Life claim limit for such services is set at S$1,200 per calendar year, and the MediSave limit at S$600 per calendar year.
“Since its implementation, we have received feedback that the MediShield Life claim limit for cancer drug services may not be adequate for some patients who require more frequent tests to monitor disease progression or who require more supportive care drugs to manage their side effects,” said the Health Ministry.
Upon reviewing the data of latest available claims, MOH will increase the MediShield Life claim limit to S$3,600 per calendar year.
Patients who made cancer drug services claims in 2023 will be able to make additional MediShield Life claims from Apr 1, up to the new limit.
The Integrated Shield Plan coverage will also be adjusted to cover only treatments on the Cancer Drug List from the same date upon policy purchase or renewal, said MOH.
There is no change to the MediSave limit of S$600 per calendar year, MOH added.
MOH announced in August 2021 that more cancer patients will be subsidised for their outpatient drug treatment under changes to MediShield Life, with the changes taking effect last September.
These patients will be able to make claims of between S$200 and S$9,600 per month under a list that will cover 90 per cent of existing cancer drug treatments used in the public sector, said MOH.
“MOH will continue to review our healthcare financing schemes to ensure that they remain adequate to address Singaporeans’ needs, while ensuring the long-term sustainability of healthcare costs,” said the Health Ministry.
‘FEEDBACK LIKE THIS CAN HELP US IMPROVE THE POLICY’
On the increase in MediShield Life claim limit for cancer drug services, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said in a Facebook post on Saturday it was in response to feedback received.
“We have therefore reviewed the limits and have decided to increase it,” he added.
“Like many policy changes, the recent moves on cancer drugs serve to make treatment affordable. But it requires the support of stakeholders, and feedback like this that can help us improve and fine-tune the policy.”
Mr Ong also recapped the introduction of two key changes in September last year.
They are the Cancer Drug List (CDL), which has given MOH more leverage to negotiate for lower prices of cancer drugs, and a separate claim limit for outpatient cancer drug services such as scans, blood tests, doctor consultations and supportive care drugs.
“We have since managed to reduce prices of drugs in the CDL by 30 per cent on average, and by over 60 per cent for some drugs,” Mr Ong said.