Insurance companies' unwillingness to make payment commitments has caused problems for consumers. Consumers cannot always afford to have expensive treatment, such as surgery, even if their insurance would pay for expenses, because normally they cannot apply for compensation until after they have paid for treatment. If a consumer cannot come up with funds, often the only way out would be a commitment by the insurance company to cover costs.
As a rule insurance companies' contract terms do not contain any mention of payment commitments in advance. A customer can ask for such a commitment but in general insurance companies have reserved the right to consider each case separately.
When consumers take out an insurance policy their purpose is to make sure they will get treatment in case of serious illness or accident. If an insurance company's compensation practices are such that a consumer cannot count on compensation even when a policy covers an eventuality, this is unfair. When consumers take out insurance they should be able to trust that a company will make the arrangements necessary to provide coverage in fact. Borrowing thousands of euros is not easy for everyone, even in the form of a short-term loan.
The Consumer Agency has sent insurance companies a letter urging them to arrange the handling of compensation so that situations do not arise in which consumers fail to use coverage at the expense of their health. The letter also emphasizes that information concerning compensation procedures should be clear and easy for consumers to obtain.