Today’s Editorial: Insurance surgery

It appears health insurance in the Cayman Islands is about to go through a painful birthing process.

Members of the Legislative Assembly yesterday gave their nod to an amendment to the country’s Health Insurance Regulations.

Much of the onus is being placed on the physicians who treat Cayman Islands residents and visitors.

The members OK’d the legislation with the full knowledge that doctors and the companies offering health insurance won’t be 100 per cent pleased.

They’ll certainly catch some flak from the two groups, but something had to be done to change the way health insurance works – or doesn’t work – in the Cayman Islands.

Patients will still be required to pay deductibles and co-pays, which is only fair.

But once the legislation is gazetted, patients will no longer have to be insurance experts as they are required to be now. As it stands now, getting a refund from health insurance can be a hit and miss situation.

The legislation forces practitioners to submit complete claims correctly and in a timely fashion to ensure they are reimbursed.

The legislation also puts into place measures that ensure employees remain insured when leaving one employer for another.

For the downside, it is almost certain health insurance providers will increase their rates, which the legislation allows. It is hoped those providers will exercise good judgement and keep health insurance affordable.

Patients shouldn’t have to suffer financially because the Government is trying to rectify the health insurance problems.

Members of the Health Insurance Commission will be watching those rate increases. The commissioners are given the right in the legislation to review the rate increases and take retrospective action if it finds those hikes are excessive or unfair.

The way health insurance has been handled in the Cayman Islands needed to be fixed. Members of the Legislative Assembly are to be commended for taking this issue through the long and difficult surgical process.

It is now time for health insurance illnesses to heal.

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