Forum: Insurance landscape a maze for those with special needs

There are hardly any medical or life policies available to people with autism or Down syndrome in Singapore. This segment of the population is just as susceptible to ageing and diseases as the rest. Without insurance coverage, they may add to the cost and burden borne by society.

As this group of people age and face health issues, and if they cannot afford even average healthcare, then the state may have to step in with subsidies and grants for their upkeep and medical needs.

Presently, the insurance landscape is a maze for those with autism and their caregivers.

Mr Wesley Loh described how openly autistic people with low support needs can face exclusion on the total permanent disability coverage under the Dependants' Protection Scheme (Govt help needed to tackle insurer bias against autism, Sept 17).

While we advocate the inclusion of people with special needs in our society and workforce, we do not seem to provide adequate coverage for them, unlike what is readily available to working people with no special needs.

The Ministry of Social and Family Development and the Monetary Authority of Singapore said they are building a set of guidelines for private insurers, under which insurers should not treat people with disabilities differently from those without, unless such differences can be justified (Insurers expected to deal fairly with all clients, including those with disabilities, Oct 7).

I hope it will be a comprehensive framework that cannot be easily compromised.

Like Ms Rowena Chan Lian Wah (Only laws can ensure that those with autism get insurance cover, Oct 23), I think it is time for Singapore to legislate equal access to healthcare and adequate insurance coverage for its citizens with special needs.

Elaine Phang Min Nyuk

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