New insurance scheme to give country’s poor access to private healthcare

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The government is starting the Voluntary Health Insurance Scheme to ensure that the country’s poor (those in the bottom 40% low-income group) have access to health treatment in private clinics. The government will shoulder the cost of the treatments.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said the scheme is aimed to reduce the gap in healthcare services between the government and private sectors.

He also said the scheme could utilise the existing capacity in the private healthcare sector.

Dr Subramaniam said the matter was approved in principle at a cabinet meeting recently..

“This was a decision made at the policy level and will be fine-tuned after the 14th General Election (GE14) to assess its implementation, including determining those eligible for the scheme, the types of illnesses covered, method of payment, and key performance indicators (KPI),” he said.

He said the scheme, once launched, would not only benefit the public, especially the low-income group, but also reduce overcrowding at clinics under the ministry’s purview.

He said a thorough study would be carried out on private clinics, as well as the costs involved.

On another development, Dr Subramaniam said the Health Ministry would carry out a transformation exercise to link the healthcare system via information and communications technology.

This, he said, would enable patients’ data to be stored in a single system, enabling treatment to be dispensed easily even if patients were to seek treatment at different hospitals.

Dr Subramaniam said in the last five years, the ministry had undertaken transformation initiatives to improve the public healthcare delivery system.


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