Regular health screening reins in costs

PHOTO: Regular health screening reins in costs

SINGAPORE - I agree with the views of senior health correspondent Salma Khalik ("Next on the agenda: Rein in rising costs of health care"; last Saturday).

Prevention is always better than cure. More can be done at the government, employer and individual levels. This is not easy and it requires commitment at all levels.

Adopting a healthy lifestyle and work-life balance could go a long way towards enhancing a person's well-being.

With a greying population, more attention should be paid to early detection of medical illnesses. One way is through regular health screening. But with the wide array of health screening packages available, costs may vary greatly.

Health-care providers, insurance companies and employers should work towards providing affordable but comprehensive health screening packages.

To reduce the mind-boggling array of choices in the market and cut costs, these packages could be streamlined to, say, three standard ones based on age bands.

These packages should include tests for major illnesses in Singapore, to ensure targeted screening, especially for older people.

Also, annual health screening costs should be claimable from health insurance policies.

Lastly, tax incentives could be given to employers that promote healthy lifestyle practices, and to employees who adopt such habits.

If people remain healthy or if medical problems are detected early, the financial burden on society and insurance companies will be reduced, and companies will enjoy higher productivity with less downtime for staff. It will be win-win for all.

Raymond Koh Bock Swi

This article was first published on July 01, 2014. Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.