The Ministry of Health announced in August 2018 that a national health insurance scheme for the B40 would be unveiled with the Budget 2019 and planned to be rolled out in January 2019.
While details of the scheme remain unknown, it has been reported that B40 households shall have an annual coverage of RM10,000 – RM 20,000 for medical treatment in private hospitals. Recipients will have the option of topping up to increase coverage limit for their families.
- The Ministry of Health (MOH) announced that the bottom 40% (B40) households shall receive annual coverage of RM10,000 – RM20,000 for medical treatment in private hospitals as part of a proposed National Health Insurance Scheme.
- The structure of the proposed scheme remains unclear, including service coverage, type of risk pooling (community vs risk rated), compensation to health professionals and staff, and potential effectiveness.
- The scheme would incur significant and unsustainable cost – possibly incurring RM30 billion in expenditure, not inclusive of additional coverage purchased and claimed. Yet, the planned coverage of RM10,000 for private hospitals may also be insufficient due to high private medical costs and inflation.
- Increased depletion of health professionals and staff from public to private sector as a result of the scheme could further deteriorate public healthcare services.
- Questions arise on how marginalized communities will be affected by the scheme, and how it fails to provide adequate financial protection to B40 and middle 40% (M40) households.