In addition to exclusive partnership with tele-medicine provider WhiteCoat, Pre-authorisation and a panel of healthcare partners are also amongst AIA's key initiatives to provide its policyholders with peace of mind and continued access to quality healthcare
Singapore, 17 March 2020 – AIA Singapore today announced that the insurer will cover the costs of 50,000 video medical consultations1 provided by WhiteCoat, an on-demand tele-medicine provider, for all policyholders of AIA HealthShield Gold Max – a MediSave-approved Integrated Shield Plan (IP). This is the latest in a series of proactive initiatives from AIA Singapore to protect individuals and families from the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Individuals who require professional medical advice can engage WhiteCoat's Singapore-registered doctors from the comfort of their own home, exclusively via the AIA Healthcare App. After 50,000 video medical consultations have been utilised by AIA HealthShield Gold Max policyholders in Singapore, they can continue to engage WhiteCoat's services at a pre-negotiated rate of S$12 per consultation2.
First to provide policyholders Pre-authorisation of medical claims at all private hospitals and healthcare providers nationwide
AIA Singapore also announced today other enhancements for AIA HealthShield Gold Max plans, including the extension of claims pre-authorisation to cover all non-emergency admissions and day surgeries at all private hospitals and healthcare providers across Singapore. Pre-authorisation is already available for policyholders seeking treatment with AIA Quality Healthcare Partners, a curated panel of private specialist doctors.
This extended service will be provided to all AIA HealthShield Gold Max policyholders – representing approximately 1 in 5 Singapore Residents3 – effective 15 April 2020. The initiative is aligned with the recommendations of the 2016 Health Insurance Task Force's report4 on managing the cost of health insurance in Singapore.
Policyholders will be able to obtain a Certificate of Pre-authorisation prior to admission or day surgery at any private hospital and/or healthcare provider. Requests for pre-authorisation should be submitted at least 3 working days prior to the intended date of admission. Policyholders will be notified via SMS and/or email once the request has been approved.
Pre-authorisation is not required for emergency treatments including COVID-19 cases, as eligible claims will be accepted automatically.
Key benefits of Pre-authorisation include:
- No bill shock: Policyholders get assurance and peace of mind that their procedure will be covered and are informed of the amount AIA will cover – all before the admission or surgery.
- Minimal cash outlay: Policyholders will not have to make a deposit and cash outlay will be limited to applicable deductible and co-insurance. Remaining charges will be directly settled between AIA and the hospital/healthcare provider5
- Ensuring that charges are reasonable and that treatment is in line with norms: Pre-authorisation will allow AIA to ensure that proposed charges are reasonable and customary based on national fee benchmarks and agreed fee schedules with panel doctors (if applicable). It will also allow AIA to ensure that the proposed treatment is in line with norms and advise policyholders if this is not the case.
- Continued access to quality healthcare: Policyholders, by going through the pre-authorisation process, are supporting long-term efforts to mitigate health claims inflation so that all IP insurers, including AIA, can continue providing medical coverage to Singapore Residents.
"Even as we tackle the immediate challenge of COVID-19, we also need to take steps to manage the longer-term challenge of rising healthcare costs. Pre-authorisation was a key recommendation put forth by the Health Insurance Task Force and complements AIA's other efforts such as our panel of AIA Quality Healthcare Partners, and AIA Vitality – our comprehensive health and wellness programme. As an industry leader, we need to help moderate healthcare inflation, and ensure that people have assurance regarding the coverage of their medical costs," said Dr Alan Ong, Medical Director, AIA Singapore.
In 2018, Singapore's medical inflation was 10%6, more than 20 times the nation's average inflation rate of 0.44 percent7. In a recent survey conducted by AIA Singapore8, 90% of respondents were concerned about the cost of healthcare, and more than 80% highlighted concerns about being charged more than necessary for their medical treatment. In addition, 87% were concerned about being fully reimbursed for their medical bills.
The expansion of pre-authorisation to cover all other private providers will help address these pain points so that policyholders can focus on recovery.
"When your health is called into question, it can be a worrying and unsettling time. The last thing a person needs is additional uncertainty around the pay-out of a claim or high medical charges, when they should be focusing on getting better. It's positive to see steps being taken, so we can have the assurance that our healthcare needs are taken care of," said Mr Chong Jee Leck, 31 years old, an AIA HealthShield Gold Max policyholder.
Simple and hassle-free pre-authorisation process for policyholders
Going forward, AIA HealthShield Gold Max policyholders will be able to easily activate pre-authorisation in 3 simple steps, accessible via multiple channels. These include the My AIA SG mobile app and the AIA Singapore website. AIA will also be setting up a dedicated 24/7 AIA HealthShield Gold Max hotline – 1800-248-8000, which would be available from 15 April 20209, to provide round-the-clock assistance to policyholders regarding pre-authorisation and other aspects of their AIA HealthShield Gold Max policies.