People who suffer from chronic diseases like diabetes or high blood pressure will be eligible to subscribe to non-life insurance policies next year, if they have no record of being treated recently. The move is part of the financial regulator's customer-centric plan to reform the financial industry.
Mr Choi Jong-ku, Chairman of the Financial Services Commission (FSC), stressed that the government will pursue financial policies that concentrate on consumers, not financial companies, as the first priority.
“There have been efforts to improve the irrational systems in the financial industry from field evaluations to reforming past practices,” he said. “However, these were mostly concentrated on the financial companies, improving the system for consumers as a result.”
Under current regulations, those who suffer from chronic diseases, and have not been treated for the disease in the last five years, are barred from insurance coverage, reported JoongAng Daily. As a result, many in the older generation have had trouble subscribing to such policies.
Under the new rule, those with chronic disease histories will be eligible to subscribe to such policies if they haven’t been admitted or undergone surgery in the last two years, been treated for those illnesses in the last seven days or taken medication in the last 30 days. However, the amount that patients with chronic diseases will have to pay on their medical bills will be about 30% of the total cost. Patients without chronic diseases generally pay 10-20%.
The government will also be lowering insurance premiums on non-life insurance policies, and helping to monitor insurance policies that are dormant or have matured so that policyholders can collect their claims, according to the FSC. About KRW7.6 trillion (US$6.7 billion) of insurance claims remained uncollected at the end of last year.
The Korea Life Insurance Association and the General Insurance Association of Korea will be developing a system next year on which policyholders can check whether they have collected their insurance proceeds.