Chief Executive Azrul Mohd Khalib was frank in his opinion about the potential longevity of the newly proposed National B40 Healthcare Protection Fund. It is said that the latest initiative’s practicality will the biggest challenge in making it as effective as it is attended to be.
“We are concerned about the introduction of the proposed National B40 Health Protection Fund. Coverage of up to RM 8,000 per annum for the top four critical illnesses is considered by healthcare experts to be inadequate to provide the intended protection under private healthcare, especially applied to a household.”
The protection fund essentially is meant to help people from B40 household to get treatment from private healthcare, instead of going to public healthcare. Though most of the time they will inevitably be referred to public healthcare for further treatment.
“It is at best a stop-gap measure at the primary care level. Once they are referred to a public healthcare facility, these patients will be unfairly imposed with First Class treatment charges as required under the Fees (Medical) (Amendment) Order 2017. These rates are significantly higher than for patients referred from the public sector, as it is heavily subsidized.”
“Unless the legislation is amended, this scheme could end up victimizing enrollees. It might actually be more advantageous for B40 households to not enroll, and to access primary care services through public facilities as they do now,” Azrul cautioned.
“It is also unfortunate that there was no announcement of the development of a long-term solution to healthcare financing such as a social health insurance scheme for all.”
“In order to ensure that Malaysia’s healthcare system is able to continue to provide quality, affordable and accessible health services in the decades to come, the government must summon the will and commitment to invest now in a new sustainable approach to funding health.” That was absent during the recent 2019 Budget announcement.