Forum: Only laws can ensure that those with autism get insurance cover

Being among many caregivers facing difficulties insuring our children upon disclosing autism, I am heartened by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Ministry of Social and Family Development's (MSF) reply (Insurers expected to deal fairly with all clients, including those with disabilities, Oct 7).

After an extensive search, I was left with no option but to pick an expensive international medical insurance policy which excluded autism and comorbid conditions for my child. I have since stuck with this, seeing no alternative to protect my child.

Low-income families cannot afford such premiums, especially single mums.

I am not alone; other parents have told me about their outright rejections, exorbitant premiums, excessive loading fees, and overly broad exclusions across several categories - for example, hospitalisation and life insurance.

Being autistic does not mean you have an illness or disease, and nobody should be denied essential insurance on the basis of an autism diagnosis.

Developed nations like the United Kingdom legislate against discriminatory practices by

service providers. For insurers, this essentially means non-discriminatory terms for people with disabilities.

In the United States, 46 states and the District of Columbia have laws requiring insurance coverage of autism services.

Disability inclusion is a hallmark of developed nations and international bodies like the World Economic Forum.

I urge those facing insurance discrimination to write to MAS and MSF about their situation so that they will draft comprehensive laws prohibiting insurance discrimination quickly and effectively. I hope to see insurance inclusivity added into the fourth Enabling MasterPlan, giving all, including the disabled, the right to life, independence and dignity.

Rowena Chan Lian Wah