MoH eyes social health insurance scheme

It plans to introduce the scheme early next year, depending on approval of Budget 2019


THE Health Ministry (MoH) plans to introduce a new social health insurance scheme early next year depending on the approval of Budget 2019, which is slated to be tabled in the fourth quarter of this year.

Health Minister Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad (picture) said the scheme’s framework is almost done and the ministry only needs to meet with the Finance Ministry, as well as the central bank to get it finalised.

“It is almost ready, however, we must detail it before it could be launched. There are important features that we have already discussed, but yet to conclude — including the strategic purchase over the features, as well as the administration and also management of the scheme,” he told reporters at the ministry’s monthly meeting for August 2018.

According to Dr Dzulkefly, the scheme will be parked under his ministry, but managed and operated by the government.

He said the move would ensure the programme does not imitate an earlier health insurance initiative, 1Care for 1Malaysia, that was proposed by the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) government in 2011 and caused a public outcry.

Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye said the public outcry at BN’s 1Care scheme seven years ago was due to a proposed 10% deduction out of monthly salaries, as well as suggestion that a national health financial authority should handle the money.

“Our scheme, which goes beyond basic medical treatment coverage, is completely different from the previous government’s proposed scheme.

“It will not be funded by the federal government. Instead, we will get the funds from other sources which we will table at the launch. Nonetheless, we will have the funds to roll it out,” he said.

According to Dr Dzulkefly, the pilot project will target the below 40% group (B40) before it is opened to all.

“We will start and focus on the B40 first as it is part of Pakatan Harapan’s manifesto (during the 14th General Election) which promised to form a healthcare scheme for this group,” he said.

On a separate note, Dr Dzulkefly said the government has acknowledged complaints and reports on the mushrooming of non-credential cosmetic businesses in the market.

He said at present, the existing rules and regulations are still applicable — however, the ministry will strengthen its enforcement.

“It is important for clients to know where their money is going, especially when it comes to medical treatment. MoH will launch more awareness programmes to mitigate this issue,” said Dr Dzulkefly.