By Chino S. Leyco
Insurance Commission said yesterday that it has ordered all insurers to provide a free-look period where policyholders can decide whether or not to terminate their contracts without incurring any penalties.
In a statement, Insurance Commissioner Dennis B. Funa said that he has instructed all insurers to give a 15-day free-look period for health insurance policies with a duration of more than six-months, while a five-day free-look period should be given to the policies with six-months or less duration.
Funa said a free look period allows the policyholder to decide whether or not to continue with the contract, and if he or she decides to cancel it for whatever reason, the policyholder can demand the cancellation thereof.
“If the insured for any reason does not want to accept the coverage or cancel the policy, he or she may demand for the cancellation or termination of the contracts,” Funa said.
Once a policyholder receives the new health insurance policy or contract, the free look period begins. If an insured decides to cancel or surrender the policy within the free-look period, he or she shall be entitled to the return of all premiums paid.
The free look period is for the benefit of a policyholder and can be used to review the policy to make sure it meets the needs of the insured.
According to Funa, “it is that window of time given to policyholders to read the policy provisions, understand the inclusions and exclusions, and if he or she has purchased the right product.”
“A free-look period protects a customer if he/she feels that the policy document is not what he/she signed up for and protects the insuring public from dangers of misselling,” he added.
Funa likewise directed health maintenance organizations to incorporate a similar free-look period in all health maintenance contracts.