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Gladys Tan

Financial Consultant

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Cancer Drug List: For better or worse?

Cancer treatment is not a topic that most people think about.

But did you know - cancer was the leading cause of death for 26.4​% of total deaths in Singapore in 2021. According to the Singapore Cancer Registry, breast cancer was the leading cause of cancer death for women while lung cancer was the leading cause of cancer death for men.

Additionally, as cancer survival rates increase, more people survive the incidence of cancer, which means more than 1 in 4 Singaporeans will be affected by cancer at some point in their lives.

With such statistics, we cannot afford to be unaware of the changes to cancer treatment coverage under Medishield Life (for Singaporeans and Singapore PRs) & Integrated Shield Plans (IPs), aka hospitalisation plans.

In this blog post, we will be focusing on the revision/implementation of cancer treatment claim limits for as-charged integrated shield plans (ISP) that will take effect from 1st April 2023.

What Is Changing?

  • On 1 Sep 2022, the Ministry of Health introduced a Cancer Drug List (CDL) of clinically proven and more cost-effective cancer treatments.

  • Only treatments on the CDL may be claimed under MediShield Life (MSHL), MediSave (MSV) and Integrated Shield Plans (IPs).

  • Changes to Integrated Shield Plans (IPs) will take effect from 1 April 2023, upon policy purchase or renewal. Customers with riders can claim for selected cancer drug treatments beyond the CDL.

  • As of 1 Sep 2022, more than 90% of about 200 cancer drug treatments approved by the Health Sciences Authority are listed on the CDL. In time, as drug companies continue to lower their prices, almost all cancer drug treatments could be on the CDL. MOH will review the list periodically to keep up with medical advancements and the latest clinical evidence.

  • These changes will keep cancer treatments and insurance premiums affordable in the longer term.

That sounds like a great change!..... Isn’t it?


While it’s great that the CDL has been introduced to ensure greater affordability of cancer treatments, the change from as-charged cover to cover with sub-limits will mean that the sub-limits of ISP + Rider are NOT sufficient, especially in Private Hospitals.

Let’s look at 2 possible scenarios as case-study:

Case Study #1: Multiple Drug Treatment aka Cocktail Drug Treatment

Case Study #2: Cancer Drugs that are NOT on the CDL

Sounds like a scenario I would want to avoid! What can I do?

We have cost-effective solutions that can bring your cover back to as-charged basis.

Depending on your current insurer, you may be able to add it on as a rider, or purchase it as a stand-alone plan. If you are interested to find out more, do reach out to us.

I am currently on a course of cancer drug treatment and have an IP plan. How am I being affected?

To allow sufficient time for affected individuals to adjust to the cancer drug changes, insurers have committed to preserve their current IP coverage until 30 September 2023. After the transitional support ends, these customers will not be able to make IP claims for any treatment not on the CDL, and their claims for CDL treatments will be subjected to the revised limits.

I also will like to take this opportunity to send a gentle reminder that risk management is the forefront of sound financial planning.

If any of your family or friends have yet to secure their basic insurance coverage, and/or are in need of professional advice on how to craft a comprehensive and cost-effective insurance portfolio, please connect for a non-obligatory consultation.

Disclaimer: Please note that this content is not exhaustive. While we have done our best to ensure its accuracy at the point of writing, you are highly encouraged to refer to your policy contract for the precise terms, conditions and exclusions. Feel free to reach out should you require further clarification or details.


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