Medical inflation: 2.4 or 9.6% – most expensive?

Piggy bank in the hands of the doctor.Piggy bank in the hands of the doctor.

Is Singapore the most expensive for healthcare in the study?

I refer to the article “S’pore ranked No. 4 for medical inflation” (Straits Times, Apr 8).

It states that “Earlier this year, the MOH said Singapore’s average annual healthcare inflation rate was 2.4 per cent between 2011 and 2016.

According to Aon’s report, healthcare inflation fell from 20 per cent in 2014 to 9.6 per cent last year. These figures were based on claims received by the insurance firms it surveyed.”

Granted that the methodology in measuring medical inflation is different between MOH and the Aon report – why is it that the difference is so great – “average annual healthcare inflation rate was 2.4 per cent between 2011 and 2016” (MOH) versus “20 per cent in 2014 to 9.6 per cent last year” (Aon)?

According to the report – “Through the early part of this decade, Singapore was a market characterised by high levels of medical inflation. Harking back to 2014, Singapore had a medical inflation rate of 20 percent, double the regional average. It declined to 15 percent in the years 2015–2016 with the encouraging estimate that in 2017 it will fall below double digits to 9.5 percent before climbing to 10.9 percent in 2018”.

On a relative basis, after adjusting for purchasing power parity (PPP) – is Singapore’s healthcare costs the highest among all the countries in the report?

Leong Sze Hian

About the Author

Leong Sze Hian has served as the president of 4 professional bodies, honorary consul of 2 countries, an alumnus of Harvard University, authored 4 books, quoted over 1500 times in the media , has been a radio talkshow host, a newspaper daily columnist, Wharton Fellow, SEACeM Fellow, columnist for theonlinecitizen and Malaysiakini, executive producer of Ilo Ilo (40 international awards), Hotel Mumbai (associate producer), invited to speak more than 200 times in about 40 countries, CIFA advisory board member, founding advisor to the Financial Planning Associations of 2 countries. He has 3 Masters, 2 Bachelors degrees and 13 professional  qualifications.