Action for AIDS: Singapore can lead in reforming insurance practices for people with HIV/AIDS

Action for AIDS: Singapore can lead in reforming insurance practices for people with HIV/AIDS

An article that was published early in The Times of India writes that  people with AIDS and HIV in India may be able to buy life insurance as the country’s insurance regulator has issued draft guidelines seeking views and comments from insurers on issuing life cover policies to persons with HIV/AIDS.

This has prompted Actions for AIDS (AFA), a local non-government organisation, to call for an open discussion about having a similar offering in Singapore, citing positive growth in the insurance industry as a reason.

The Time noted that “the draft circular by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority ( IRDA) on policies for people with HIV/AIDS, issued this month, may come into effect from April 2014. Insurers are expected to put in place a board-approved underwriting manual, claims manual, proposal form and other necessary systems before this date.”

The report also noted that while health cover for people in India suffering from HIV/AIDS already exists, offering life insurance would likely have its own set of issues. Insurance companies will be wary of issues such as claims management and profitability.

Premiums would still be subject to adjustments, as there could be various pricing models to help alleviate costs. Factors such as age and condition of the insured and past claims experience would likely be factored in. One solution could be to ensure dual coverage – that is, making sure that the person seeking life insurance has adequate health coverage before a life cover can be issued – to ensure better claim control.

In response to this development in India, AFA released the following statement:

“As an NGO working for the fair and dignified treatment of people living with HIV in Singapore, we believe that there are lessons to be learnt from what the insurance industry in India is doing for its HIV population which numbers at some 2.4 million.

From reading the article, Indian insurers have made it possible for HIV-positive patients to buy insurance policies that will meet their medical insurance needs adequately.

Our insurance companies and Life Insurance Association of Singapore are capable of doing something given the positive growth figures that they have seen over the years.

We do not see why Singapore insurers cannot do the same and Action for AIDS would welcome a candid discussion on this issue especially since needless numbers here live their lives in fear of not being able to afford medications that will ensure quality of life and the ability to lead normal productive lives.”

In Singapore, insurance policies exclude HIV infections and its symptoms. For those that do, the policies provide some limited coverage but it excludes those who are HIV infected via sexual means.

 

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