Friday, 5 May 2017

(The Star) An insurance scheme will be introduced next year to bring down the cost of private healthcare

JOHOR BARU: The private health insurance scheme mooted to bring down the cost of healthcare in the country will be introduced by the middle of next year.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said the scheme was aimed at ensuring that the cost of private medical treatment in the country is reasonable and affordable.

“The Cabinet has approved the scheme and preparations are ongoing as we need initial funds to launch it.

“Progress is at 40% and we are still working on the type of packages and other details,” he said after launching the National Conference of Assistant Medical Officers here.

Dr Subramaniam added there would be no obligation for the public to sign up for the insurance scheme as it would be on a voluntary basis.

He added that the scheme’s success would depend on the cost, coverage and products offered and whether they could match others offered by the private sector.

Dr Subramaniam shaking hands with participants after the launch of the event at a hotel here.

Once introduced, the scheme would be managed by a non-profit company under the ministry.

On a separate issue, Dr Subramaniam said the ministry has started a pilot project in the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital in Klang which decentralises ambulances from the hospital’s Accident and Emergency (A&E) Department.

He said there was a need to focus on and improve pre-hospital care in Malaysia where the ambulance “does not only collect and bring patients to the hospital but collects, treats and transports them as well.”

Dr Subramaniam added under the pilot project, ambulances will not be stationed at the A&E bays but near community areas and places with a large population.

“In Johor, ambulances could be stationed near accident-prone areas so that medical personnel could respond to cases quickly and provide the necessary treatment while on the way to the hospital to reduce morbidity and injuries,” he said.

Dr Subramaniam revealed there are about 15,300 assistant medical officers in the country, 14,000 of whom are in the government healthcare sector.

He said more were needed in the rural areas of Sabah and Sarawak.