Insurance in Singapore: Direct Billing

posted Apr 14, 2015 by travis jones

Singapore has one of the best health care systems in the world, offering a high level of medical service in both the public and private sectors. Although health care costs are quite low for permanent residents of Singapore, many expats, as well as residents interested in accessing private facilities, choose to have a private insurance policy. In recent years, many employers have also begun to offer private insurance as they hire high caliber employees or find new ways to offer benefits in the workplace.

Reading: What is direct bill in insurance

When choosing a health insurance policy in Singapore, or anywhere in the world, it’s important to weigh your options, including copays, deductibles, and lifetime limits. All of this will affect how much the policyholder pays to access health care services. Most insurance buyers also know to check for exclusions (for example, a plan may not pay for traditional or alternative Chinese health care), but it’s also important to ask yourself: Does this policy offer direct billing?

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what is direct billing?direct billing means that the clinic or hospital bills the insurance company directly. the patient does not have to pay up front (unless there is a copay in person), and the patient does not have to send any paperwork to her insurance company; All of this is arranged between the hospital administration and the insurer. Patients typically receive a health insurance card with a personal policy number, which they can give to the clinic or hospital administrator at the time of treatment. if the card is lost, patients can usually contact their insurer to obtain a temporary virtual replacement copy, or they can simply use their personal policy number to continue receiving medical services with direct billing as usual.

Most patients find direct billing an extremely helpful service. With direct billing there are no worries about scheduling bills, keeping records of receipts and wire transfer receipts, or personal information being lost or stolen in the mail. Direct billing means that an experienced administrator will prepare an invoice on behalf of the patient, including itemized prices for consultations, treatments, tests, pharmaceuticals, etc. the patient can usually review these charges if she wishes, and then the bill is sent from the hospital or clinic to the insurance company.

Not all hospitals in Singapore have a direct billing agreement with all insurance companies. Choosing a policy from a reputable insurer with a global presence is a good way to ensure that you will have a wide range of hospitals and clinics that can offer direct billing. all insurers will have a directory of hospitals; Check this list to see which stores offer direct settlement, or contact your insurance company if that information isn’t available online. It’s also important to find out if you need to contact your insurer prior to treatment to arrange direct billing; Insurers sometimes ask you to confirm direct billing details before you receive care.

Does your insurance plan have direct billing?Some insurance companies only offer direct billing for hospitalization insurance, which means that a patient who does not stay in the hospital is still responsible for pay the health care provider up front and send those bills to the insurer to claim that money. however, most insurers that offer direct billing will make it available for almost all medical services, assuming you access those services through a designated direct billing facility. An insurance network is typically larger than a direct billing network, so don’t assume direct billing is available everywhere your insurance policy is accepted.

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Please note that if your insurer denies part or all of any direct billed insurance claim, the hospital will ask you to pay that amount as soon as possible. Some insurance companies take this money directly from your bank account or credit card if that is how the policyholder normally pays monthly insurance fees. To avoid unexpected and potentially expensive bills, make sure you’ve read your policy carefully and understand exactly what’s covered and what’s not. As always, ask an insurance representative if you’re unsure about any procedures related to direct or indirect billing, and get in touch if you receive a bill or note a bank withdrawal that you didn’t expect.

If you have an insurance plan with a good network of hospitals and direct billing is an option, you’ll certainly appreciate the convenience of having third-party administrators handle your bills. however, it is still important to understand your out-of-pocket copayment responsibilities.

A copay is a fixed amount of money that the patient must pay when receiving certain services. the copay is usually due in advance or immediately after care is completed. Costs vary based on medical service and coverage plan details. for example, a copay could be S$10 per visit to a general outpatient physician, or 10 percent of any given medical bill. insurance companies use copays to reduce their cost burden, as well as to prevent patients from overusing non-essential medical services. (Inpatient or emergency copays are sometimes low or nonexistent.) Since copays must be paid in full by the patient, they will not be sent to an insurance company for direct billing; therefore, patients should be prepared to pay these costs to the hospital or clinic as soon as possible.

If you have any questions about direct billing, copays, or any other aspect of your Singapore health insurance plan, contact Pacific Prime Singapore today. our helpful and knowledgeable agents are available to provide you with information, as well as free quotes and plan comparisons from the world’s best insurers.

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