Insurance

Let doctors join panel if their fees are reasonable

The main reason insurers have a list of approved doctors is because charges by some doctors, especially the specialists, are exorbitantly high. To reduce the cost of compensation, the insurance companies adopt two deterrent approaches.

One is to introduce the co-pay system and the other, to have a list of approved doctors.

The question is not so much about having a list of approved doctors, but about the number of practitioners on that list.

In his letter, Dr Tony Ho, who wanted to continue treating his patients, said he was told by his patients' insurance companies that the list of approved doctors was full and they could not accept him on their panels (Long-term patients had to look for new doctor on insurers' approved lists, Feb 22).

The companies had set a limit on the number of doctors on the list.

Limiting the number and choice of doctors is unfair to the patients.

If the cost of compensation is the main concern, the list should be open to all doctors who ask to be on the approved list, as long as their fees are reasonable, based on their track record.

By doing so, the problem of patients having to pick a doctor who is unfamiliar to them but is on the insurer's approved list will be solved.

Yao Chee Liew

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 26, 2021, with the headline 'Let doctors join panel if their fees are reasonable'. Subscribe