Reserve insurance for big, unpredictable events

It should not be surprising that the cost of health insurance is rising ("Health insurance premiums set to shoot up"; Oct 16, and "Some 1.5 million face premium hikes when moratorium ends"; Oct 14).

Such hikes will be more frequent and steeper in future, due to factors such as inflation, rising expectations and technology.

We should take this opportunity to ask a basic question: Is the reliance on insurance driving up healthcare costs?

Because insurance is basically a third-party payment, the likelihood of overconsumption is high.

Patients, insurers, and health service providers all try to game the system. It is not possible to cut costs without compromising service quality.

Tinkering with riders and the quantum of deductibles has no significant impact ("Panel suggests doing away with medical insurance riders"; Oct 14). A paradigm shift away from reliance on insurance is needed.

Now, insurance provides coverage even for common things such as coughs and colds. Insurance is most helpful when confined to what it is meant for - very big bills, infrequent events and events that cannot be predicted.

Lim Chew