As a financial adviser who has helped clients with claims, I notice that there is a systemic issue behind the trend senior health correspondent Salma Khalik reported on ("More patients choosing C-class wards for subsidies"; July 18).
Currently, MediShield and its related Integrated Plans do not have any facility to "pre-authorise" the cost.
The Letter of Guarantee is merely an advance to cover the deposit.
Hence, for those insured with higher benefits, such as private ward benefits, it is not so much that they are reluctant to use their benefits, but because they are concerned over the final bill.
Insurers generally say that they will assess the bill once they receive the medical report, subject to the policy's terms and conditions.
The insured are unable to obtain confirmation of coverage and amount from their insurers before undergoing treatment and, so, do not want to take any chances.
This may result in the insured downgrading themselves in order to play it safe.
I hope this serious shortfall can be addressed and a facility to "pre-authorise" the cost can be added, which will give greater peace of mind to all.
Tan Yang Seng