THE Ministry of Health (MOH) yesterday released information on five medical insurance companies to make it easier for consumers to choose which policy suits them best.
The figures show that NTUC Income is the slowest when it comes to settling claims, with only 1% of claimants receiving their money within a week, and only half having claims settled within 28 days.
In contrast, 56% of AIA and 50% of Aviva policyholders were paid within a week of their claims between April and June this year. Great Eastern Life paid half of its policyholders within 10 days. There were no figures available for the fifth company, Prudential.
MOH hoped that publishing these figures would make the industry more competitive.
NTUC Income released a statement within hours of the ministrys announcement.
It blamed the delays in payments on the move to a new computer system needed to integrate with MOHs system.
The system was changed this year after it won the tender to take over the MediShield Plus scheme, effectively doubling the number of claims it received.
But it said the delay did not matter to the 40% of its policyholders warded in public hospitals, as they had asked for letters of guarantee. With these letters, patients do not have to pay the portion of the bill covered by the policy in advance.
Income is the only insurer that provides these letters.
Income said it expects to speed up payment by October when about 80% of the claims can be settled within seven days, as they will be automatically processed. The Straits Times / Asia News Network