Insurance advisers face non-Pharmac poser
Insurance advisers could face legal challenges if they fail to recommend health insurance that includes non-Pharmac benefits, according to Hallam Jones director Mark Jones.
Wednesday, August 29th 2012, 7:29AM 44 Comments
by Benn Bathgate
Jones said he is in the process of contacting all of his clients that have health insurance - but not pre-existing conditions - to recommend they switch to a policy that includes cover for non-Pharmac benefits.
"If my client got even a whisper that there was a product out there that could help and he's sitting there paying $300 a week for his medication, he would be naïve not to at least explore legal channels," he said.
"I'd want someone's head on a platter."
He said he was aware of clients with trauma cover taking payouts and travelling to Australia for cancer treatments unavailable in this country, and that under the current adviser regulations, he believed not recommending non-pharmac health insurance was just too risky.
He said he would write to each client recommending non-pharmac cover, and if they decline, send a second letter confirming the fact they were offered the option.
However, QuoteMonster's Tim von Dadelszen said care needed to be taken when recommending a client change a policy - especially health insurance.
"The level of complexity at claim time, you've got to be pretty nervous and have pretty good reasons to transfer a client from one policy to another."
Chatswood Consulting's Russell Hutchinson raised another concern around the value of non-pharmac cover.
"Although there was a lot of fuss over Herceptin, it's a narrow treatment that is unsuitable for lots of clients - that's common with non-funded treatments. If they are really useful, they tend to get funded."
For Jones however, the regulatory climate justifies the effort.
"It'll just take the slightest thing [to prompt legal action] in this day and age," he said.
"I don't want to be on the front page of any paper."
Benn Bathgate is a business reporter for ASSET and Good Returns, email story ideas to email@example.com
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