Insurers of the Malaysian healthcare industry have anticipated an increase in the premium rates from 12% to 15%, every year. Of late, the rise in premium rates has been mainly factored by high inflation in the healthcare costs across the country, which throughout the period of 2010 to 2014 remained around 12% pa. Going ahead, healthcare insurance premiums in Malaysia is anticipated to increase at a rate of 15% every year because of various reasons:
- Demand for enhanced healthcare insurance services from a more prosperous & high-spending section of the people
- Growing rate of chronic diseases which are affected by lifestyle, for instance – diabetes, obesity and hypertension
- Technological improvements in healthcare services prompt an expansion in the use of radical healthcare treatment technologies in public facilities
- Rise in the cost of medications and treatments.
- Demand for more clarity in the healthcare sector.
This was announced in a joint report by three insurance associations – Malaysian Takaful Association, Life Insurance Association of Malaysia and Persatuan Insurance Am Malaysia.
Malaysian Authorities to Address Insurer Woes
The insurance companies and takaful operators will keep on working with the Ministry of Health, Bank Negara Malaysia and healthcare providers to address the above-stated causes and assure that medical treatments are charged at reasonable costs, and that the treatments prescribed are clinically required. Best efforts will be utilized to keep up health insurance premiums at a reasonable and moderate level, with the participation of all the partners directed towards the advantage of customers. The associations also suggested that the Malaysian Government should take control and publicize the prescribed retail costs of pharmaceutical items, medical devices and medicines.
At present, consultation and execution of processing fees charged by medical representatives in private hospitals are government-controlled. On the other hand, different divisions of hospital charges, for example, expenses for hospital stays, research center investigations, nursing care, utilization of equipment, operation rooms and medications, are certainly not regulated. Hence, there is an extensive variety of cost differences between private & public hospitals in Malaysia.
Solution for Cost Discrepancies
To resolve this, hospitals are recommended to inform customers that a more comprehensive billing of rates can be given upon, if requested, taking into consideration a cost breakdown of the medications and treatments given.
In Malaysia, all permanent residents can choose either of privately-owned healthcare insurance scheme or a government sponsored general healthcare plan. Both the plans offer access to healthcare, but the public schemes only allow the insured to utilize public healthcare facilities while private health insurance allows patients to discretely and conveniently select the right treatment, along with covering the whole cost of care. Key Malaysian Health Insurance Companies are BUPA Malaysia, Blue Cross Malaysia, AXA Malaysia and Allianz Worldwide Care Malaysia.