Major burden of cancer is funding

by S BIRRUNTHA/ pic by RAZAK GHAZALI

BATTLING cancer has become an afterthought for patients not because they have lost any hope of recovering, but because of the cost of its treatment.

Allianz Malaysia Bhd CEO Zakri Mohd Khir (picture) said with escalating medical costs, cancer patients are often resigned in making difficult decisions to give themselves a chance to fight the disease.

“And that is true anywhere in the world, the economic burden brought on by the disease can be grave,” he said in his speech during the launch of Allianz Cancer Protect yesterday.

He also noted that cancer awareness among Malaysians is extremely low and people have failed to take care of themselves.

“The rate of people adopting a general healthcare insurance in our country is only about 40%,” he added.

The Global Cancer Observatory 2018 reported that there were 43,837 new cancer cases among Malaysians last year.

Based on the findings by the Health Ministry (MoH), 60% of cancer cases are only detected at stage three or four. To increase awareness, Allianz Malaysia has launched its first cancer protect plan which aims to help Malaysians manage cancer diagnosis better.

The plan offers policyholders flexible payment terms with a choice of two coverage (Coverage A and Coverage B) with four plans.

Coverage A offers a lump sum insured amount of 200% that can be claimed upon approval if a person is diagnosed with cancer.

Coverage B offers an overseas medical treatment benefit of up to US$4 million (RM16.47 million) with 100% of the insured amount claimable upon approval if diagnosed with cancer.

For the latter, patients will be given a 36-month indemnification period which allows patients to seek a second opinion.

Under the general insurance arm of Allianz Malaysia, Allianz Cancer Protect provides four plans — Plan 125 (for an insured amount of RM125,000); Plan 250 (RM250,000); Plan 375 (RM375,000) and Plan 500 (RM500,000).

Zakri said having options when seeking medical treatment is a lifeline and Allianz Cancer Protect lets patients choose the type of coverage that suits them the best.

“As insurers, it is our responsibility to cushion Malaysians against financial risks posed by an unexpected illness. With this product, we hope to give Malaysians the power to choose how they can fight cancer and provide the financial means to do it.

“But the buck does not stop there, when it comes to the big C, there is a lot more that can be explored, especially in terms of cancer management,” he said.

He emphasised that as critical diseases are more common, so does the accessibility of early diagnosis, better treatment and drugs.

“So, we need to honour our role in the country’s healthcare system by designing products that would supplant these enhancements and meet the needs of policyholders,” Zakri said.

The policy coverage is available for a wide age band, starting from 15 days old to 75 years old.

Allianz Malaysia targets 500 cases for its Cancer Protect plan and hope to have an increased level of cancer awareness among Malaysians.