In­ves­ti­gate them!

Law­mak­ers want Gov’t to ex­am­ine cer­tain prac­tices of in­sur­ance com­pa­nies

Jamaica Gleaner - - FRONT PAGE - Livern Bar­rett/Staff Re­porter livern.bar­rett@glean­erjm.com

TWO LAW­MAK­ERS have called for the Govern­ment and the par­lia­men­tary Op­po­si­tion to com­mence a joint in­ves­ti­ga­tion of lo­cal in­sur­ance com­pa­nies that they claim are de­mand­ing that pol­i­cy­hold­ers, in­clud­ing preg­nant women and per­sons with can­cer, up­front the cost of their med­i­cal treat­ment.

Govern­ment Sen­a­tor Saphire Long­more and her Op­po­si­tion coun­ter­part, Sophia Frazer-Binns, in­di­cated that their call was based on per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ences.

Frazer-Binns re­vealed that dur­ing her first preg­nancy in 2015, she was shocked to learn that she would be re­quired to foot the en­tire cost of her pre­na­tal care then re­claim it from her in­sur­ance provider.

Long­more, a med­i­cal doc­tor and breast can­cer sur­vivor, charged that “many per­sons” are be­ing de­nied ac­cess to care by in­sur­ance providers on the grounds that there is “no cov­er­age for their stated ill­ness” or that there is a “newly recog­nised limit” on their cov­er­age.

IN­DE­PEN­DENT TRI­BUNAL

“It is wrong, sim­ply wrong, Mr Pres­i­dent, and af­fects per­sons when they are at their low­est,” de­clared Long­more, who was mak­ing her con­tri­bu­tion to the State of the Na­tion De­bate in the Se­nate yesterday.

“I won­der if there is need for an in­de­pen­dent tri­bunal, where per­sons who find them­selves in the very cruel cir­cum­stances can turn to for med­i­cal and le­gal guid­ance in seek­ing in­sur­ance cov­er­age jus­tice ,” she added.

For Frazer-Binns, the is­sues de­mand ur­gent ac­tion.

“Mr Pres­i­dent, whereas Govern­ment does not gen­er­ally in­ter­fere in the op­er­a­tions of the pri­vate sec­tor, the Govern­ment has a duty to en­sure the pri­vate sec­tor op­er­ates in a way that is bal­anced and fair to cit­i­zens,” said Frazer-Binns dur­ing her State of the Na­tion ad­dress.

“I, there­fore, call on the Govern­ment – both sides – to in­ves­ti­gate this prac­tice and com­mence dis­cus­sion with our pri­vate sec­tor to see how a more eq­ui­table po­si­tion can be ar­rived at,” she said.

The Gleaner first re­ported in March that there were con­cerns among women’s rights ad­vo­cates that preg­nant women were be­ing re­quired to pay for pre­na­tal care, lab tests, ul­tra­sounds, hos­pi­tal fees, the de­liv­ery of their ba­bies, and in some cases, their pre­scrip­tions, then sub­mit a claim form to the in­sur­ance com­pany for a re­fund de­spite hav­ing health in­sur­ance.

“What mad­ness! What heart­less­ness is this? Our in­sur­ance com­pa­nies are run by men and women of heart, I pray. Let’s have some heart!” Frazer Binns said.

FRAZER-BINNS

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