Health insurance reforms in Singapore and Hong Kong: How the two ageing asian tigers respond to health financing challenges?

Jason Dean-Chen YIN, Jingwei Alex HE

Research output: Contribution to journalArticles

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Singapore and Hong Kong, two high-income "Tiger economies" in Asia, were ranked as the top two most efficient health systems in the world. Despite remarkable similarities in history and socioeconomic development, both economies embraced rather different paths in health care reforms in the past decades, which reflect their respective sociopolitical dynamics. Rapidly ageing populations and the anxiety about future funding of health care have prompted them to embark on major health financing reforms in the recent three years. While Singapore has transitioned to universal health coverage with the implementation of MediShield Life (MSL), Hong Kong is about to introduce the Voluntary Health Insurance Scheme (VHIS) to supplement its health care financing. Based on secondary materials including policy documents, press releases, and anecdotal reports, this essay compares these two recent reforms on their political context, drivers of reforms, and policy contents, and assesses their prospects in terms of coverage, financial protection, and major implementation challenges. The preliminary assessment suggests that while both programs are associated with certain drawbacks, those of the VHIS may be more fatal and warrant close attention. This essay concludes with a central caveat that underscores the pivotal role of the state in managing health care reforms. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)693-697
JournalHealth Policy
Volume122
Issue number7
Early online dateApr 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018

Citation

Yin, J. D.-C., & He, A. J. (2018). Health insurance reforms in Singapore and Hong Kong: How the two ageing asian tigers respond to health financing challenges? Health Policy, 122(7), 693-697. doi: 10.1016/j.healthpol.2018.04.012

Keywords

  • Singapore
  • Hong Kong
  • Health financing
  • Universal coverage
  • Voluntary health insurance
  • Health care reform

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