News

GP recommendations adopted in Parliamentary report on life insurance industry


Amanda Lyons


28/03/2018 1:56:43 PM

The RACGP last year presented the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services with concerns regarding providing medical reports to life insurers – and has now had its recommendations accepted in a Parliamentary report.

The RACGP and Financial Services Council will collaborate to prepare and implement protocols for requesting and providing medical information for life insurance applications or claims.
The RACGP and Financial Services Council will collaborate to prepare and implement protocols for requesting and providing medical information for life insurance applications or claims.

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services (the Committee) last year opened an inquiry into the life insurance industry, providing opportunity for RACGP President Dr Bastian Seidel and then Vice President Dr Edwin Kruys to present the concerns of the RACGP and its members regarding insurance company requests for patients’ medical information, particularly requests for full patient records.
 
‘Feedback from RACGP members is that patients withdraw consent when they know the implications of providing full health records,’ Dr Kruys said at a Committee hearing. ‘They may be reluctant to share issues, concerns, or even seek help for fear that it will be reported to an insurance agency.
 
‘Doctors are thinking twice, “Should I be putting that on record?”. [This is] not good; there are continuity of care implications for patients.’
 
The Committee’s final report on the inquiry was released yesterday, with its reveal that the Committee listened to and accepted the majority of the RACGP’s recommendations.
 
‘I am very pleased that the Committee heard the concerns of the RACGP and its members and adopted many of our suggested measures to protect patients’ privacy, and also their rights to financial cover, in the event they may experience mental health issues,’ Dr Seidel told newsGP.
 
The Committee has recommended the RACGP and the Financial Services Council collaborate over the next six months to prepare and implement agreed protocols for requesting and providing medical information for life insurance applications or claims.
 
In the event that the two organisations do not come to an agreement within the required time, the Committee has made further recommendations that echo suggestions put forward in RACGP submissions, including that life insurers:

  • ask only for medical report specific to a consumer’s relevant medical conditions, rather than a patient’s entire medical record
  • seek consent from patients each time they request access to medical records or intend to share a policyholder’s information with a third party
  • ensure that patient applications are not automatically declined if they reveal a mental health condition.
‘The RACGP will be working with the Financial Services Council and other industry stakeholders over the next six months to find solutions to the issues raised during the Committee’s inquiry,’ Dr Seidel said.
 
Visit the Parliament of Australia website to view the final report on the life insurance industry.



life-insurance life-insurance-inquiry Parliamentary-Joint-Committee-on-Corporations-and-Financial-Services





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