Doctors should reject patients' requests for excessive treatment

It is popularly believed that purchasers of medical insurance riders are trying to escape co-payments ("Rider purchase shows people taking ownership of healthcare" by Mr Benny Tan Cheng Kiat; Tuesday).

However, they are actually pre-paying, with the premiums being a hedge against future co-payments.

Many Integrated Shield policyholders choose public hospitals, rather than the private hospitals that their plans cover, to maintain their policy limits for a possible catastrophic condition.

We should not get rid of riders and, in the process, hurt the majority who are responsible patients ("Panel suggests doing away with medical insurance riders"; last Friday).

A better solution is for doctors to refuse requests from patients for excessive treatment, and to notify a central bureau in the event a patient doctor-hops.

All doctors and hospitals should be required to check with this bureau when a new patient shows up requesting unnecessary medical procedures, and take appropriate action.

Many Integrated Shield policyholders choose public hospitals... to maintain their policy limits for a possible catastrophic condition.

We should not get rid of riders and, in the process, hurt the majority who are responsible patients.

The root of the problem is irresponsible drug manufacturers, pharmacies, hospitals and doctors who regularly overcharge.

When overcharging occurs, patients and insurance companies can do nothing but pay, with the patient suffering ever-increasing premiums.

The Ministry of Health should set up an agency to monitor the prices of drugs and fees charged by doctors and hospitals. This agency should have the power to take profiteers to task.

Francis Zhan Jun Shun

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 20, 2016, with the headline 'Doctors should reject patients' requests for excessive treatment'. Print Edition | Subscribe