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Preventive measures key to keeping healthcare costs low: Gan

Keeping healthcare costs affordable is one of the ways to mitigate the future problem of ageing singles with little or no family support, the Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said at a public forum on MediShield Life on Aug 7.

SINGAPORE: Preventive health measures, such as staying healthy, are the most important factor in keeping healthcare costs low in a rapidly ageing society that has an increasing proportion of singles, said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong on Thursday (Aug 7).

“Ageing is not a problem; it’s health that is the problem,” said Mr Gan, responding to a question raised by a participant during a public forum on MediShield Life.

He added that keeping healthcare costs low and affordable is one of the ways to mitigate the future problem of ageing singles with little or no family support.

The dialogue session, organised by government feedback unit REACH, drew about 120 members of the public, in particular professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs), who raised their questions and concerns to Mr Gan and Senior Minister of State for Health and Manpower, Dr Amy Khor.

The event was held at the Ministry of Communications and Information building in Hill Street.

STAYING ACTIVE, STAYING EMPLOYED

Sharing with the audience something he had learnt from Japan, Mr Gan said the key to keeping the elderly healthy is getting them to continue working.

This is why governments in many countries place an emphasis on active ageing, in which the elderly are encouraged to stay employed or active by remaining in the community, so they can age positively.

In response to a participant’s suggestion to introduce a no-claims bonus for those who stay healthy, Mr Gan said he was reluctant to adopt such an approach as he wanted to avoid the scenario where patients choose not to seek treatment for the sake of the bonus.

Instead, he encouraged participants to spread the message of engaging in healthy living by exercising regularly and eating sensibly.

Other questions raised by older participants at the forum included clarifications about the Pioneer Generation Package and how it would affect MediShield Life premiums for those who qualify for the package.

Some participants, representing the business perspective, wanted to find out more about how employers and employees could make better use of corporate insurance schemes to avoid duplication of coverage.

To further engage the public, REACH will also be organising Medi-Shield Life Listening Point sessions for Singaporeans to share their views.

The Listening Point will be held at Jurong Point today and on Sunday.