By S BIRRUNTHA
THE insurance and takaful industries are expected to provide coverage for Covid-19 treatment at private hospitals, although the nature and extent of the policies remain unclear at present.
In a joint statement yesterday, the Life Insurance Association of Malaysia, General Insurance Association of Malaysia and Malaysian Takaful Association said a majority of life insurers and takaful operators have provided supplementary benefits, such as daily hospital income, to be paid to affected policyholders in response to an immediate need in the early stage of the pandemic.
All three associations are currently working with the Ministry of Health and Bank Negara Malaysia to explore avenues, where insurers and takaful operators can ease some of the expenses of patients whose conditions are required to be treated in private hospitals under the present circumstances.
“The industry is supportive of protecting the policyholders’ interests and in contributing to the success of the private and public partnership in winning the battle against the Covid-19 pandemic,” the statement read.
The associations said the insurance industry had swiftly galvanised to put in place various relief measures to help policyholders cope with the financial impact of the pandemic.
This included the deferment of policy premiums and takaful contributions that have benefitted over one million policyholders and certificate holders with premiums and contributions valued over RM1.6 billion.
A total of RM8 million Covid-19 Testing Fund was also set up in March 2020 to enable medical and health insurance policyholders to undergo Covid-19 testing.
Meanwhile, Osel Group chief clinical and innovative scientist Dr Kris See said the healthcare system is still unsure of the general cost for a Covid-19 treatment in private hospitals.
He said it would likely depend on the facilities used for mild symptoms, such as Category 1 or 2.
“I think a minimal charge would be enough. But for intensive care unit (ICU) patients, then charges would be according to ICU standards,” he told The Malaysian Reserve yesterday.
Previously, the Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia had urged insurance companies to extend their policies and cover the treatment charges for Covid-19 patients.
The government also said it might utilise the private healthcare system for the fight against Covid- 19, as the recent surge of infections has left the government health facilities stretched.