Alternative Health Scheme in Planning

The Health Ministry is planning a non-profit health financing scheme aimed at addressing weaknesses in private health insurance and out-of-pocket payments.
Minister of Health, Datuk Seri Dr S. Subra­maniam said that while the existing highly subsidised public health care service will continue, the alternative scheme was to address the financial catastrophe that Malay­sians faced when out-of-pocket payment and limited private insurance funds run out.
“This is a voluntary thing. Those who want can subscribe to it,” he told reporters after a Health Ministry/World Bank joint meeting yesterday on the role of collaboration and knowledge-sharing in strengthening health systems. 
Dr Subramaniam said the people would have a choice whether they wanted to opt for the private healthcare or the new scheme when it is introduced.
Presently, he said more than 50% of the population opted for private health services, with over 30% of their health expenses being out-of-pocket payments.
“If your pocket is deep enough, you will be able to meet the expectations but if not, you will end up in crisis and financial catastrophe,” he said.
For the new scheme, a company will be set up under the Ministry to manage it on a non-profit basis, he said. The minister said it would be completely run by the Government to make it be more efficient and better able to regulate the industry.
“Of course, the Government’s responsibility to provide healthcare to the public through the public healthcare system will continue. We will not change this,” he said.
/theSTAR 22-07-2-016
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