Forum: What checks are there against changes to insurance contract terms?

Dr Tony Ho's letter is most telling indeed (Long-term patients had to look for new doctor on insurers' approved lists, Feb 22).

Unless more experiences are shared openly, policyholders may not realise the consequences of such restrictions. Healthcare costs may or may not be reined in, but what is certain is the odds are unfairly stacked against existing policyholders.

The feedback loop of market forces is non-existent since policyholders can't change insurers like how they can with car insurers. It is most unfair to restrict existing policyholders without placing restrictions on insurers as well.

In the notification letter my insurer sent me, it was explained that the new changes are to encourage policyholders to play a more active role in choosing their medical providers and treatments. How can policyholders encourage insurers to ensure sufficient and fair choices in the first place?

Section 3 of the Unfair Contract Terms Act has a clause that says businesses cannot rely on terms to render a different kind of service from that which was reasonably expected, or not provide a service at all.

Would this clause apply in such an instance, if contracts of insurance were included within the Act, like what Australia will be doing?

Apart from this being a co-payment issue, in its current form, are there checks and balances in place to ensure insurers do not make changes to terms of contracts that are unfair?

Like Dr Ho, I too beseech the authorities to take proactive steps to address this matter.

Tan Siak Khian

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