SINGAPORE: From Jan 1, 2017, it will be compulsory for all general practitioners (GPs) and dental clinics on the Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) to issue itemised bills to subsidised patients, announced the Ministry of Health (MOH) in a press release on Friday (Oct 28).
Improving the transparency of clinics’ charges and CHAS subsidies will facilitate greater understanding and trust between clinics and patients," said Minister of State for Health Lam Pin Min.
According to MOH, the itemised bill to all CHAS and Pioneer Generation (PG) patients must minimally show the following:
(i) The total charges before CHAS subsidy, with a breakdown into Consultation, Medication, Investigation and Others for medical bills or individual dental procedures for dental bills.
(ii) The total CHAS subsidy given.
(iii) The remaining amount payable by the patient.
Example of an itemised bill from CHAS GPs. (Source: MOH)
Itemised bills must also be issued to patients whose bills are covered fully by CHAS subsidies and do not make any out-of-pocket payment.
Currently, some clinics may not issue the breakdown of bills to CHAS patients or only do so upon request.
Dr Lam had said in Parliament in July that MOH was "seriously considering" making itemised billing mandatory. This was in response to cases of overcharging and over-servicing by GPs and dental clinics on CHAS, which allows lower- and middle-income households to receive subsidies when they visit participating clinics.
In June, two dental clinics were suspended from participating in CHAS for filing false claims.
MOH also announced on Friday that the CHAS subsidy guidelines for dental services will be updated from Jan 1, 2017 to define more clearly the types of dental services that are subsidised under CHAS, as well as their claim limits.
Example of an itemised bill from CHAS dentists. (Source: MOH)
While the exact format of the bill may vary across clinics, MOH said that bills issued must carry at least the information as illustrated in the samples, and are allowed to more detailed.
There are about 1.3 million Singaporeans on CHAS who can receive subsidised care at any of the 1,600 CHAS clinics islandwide.