Rider purchase shows people taking ownership of healthcare

Last Friday's report noted that the Ministry of Health frowns upon insurance riders, believing that they remove the sense of personal responsibility for one's healthcare ("Policyholders with riders run up higher treatment bills").

However, in purchasing a rider attached to an integrated plan, the policyholder would need to consider factors such as affordability, given that only cash can be used to pay for these additions.

This means that some thought has been put into the level of care that the person thinks he requires.

This represents taking ownership of one's healthcare arrangements.

We should not penalise people for this.

The report noted another alarming issue - that some doctors, knowing that their patients have insurance riders, tend to overtreat and overcharge patients.

How would doctors know what sort of insurance coverage a patient has before prescribing a treatment? Does this mean the quality of treatment is based on affordability rather than need?

This issue of doctors making charging and treatment decisions based on patients' insurance arrangements must be addressed.

Benny Tan Cheng Kiat

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 18, 2016, with the headline 'Rider purchase shows people taking ownership of healthcare'. Print Edition | Subscribe