A health think tank today urged the government to expand free national health scheme mySalam to expand its coverage for the lower-income B40 group to include patients who were diagnosed two years ago.
“In order to work towards the best possible outcome and truly assist B40 households in dealing with financial hardship due to chronic and non-communicable diseases, coverage must include those who were diagnosed at least two years ago,” the Galen Centre for Health & Social Policy chief executive officer Azrul Mohd Khalib said in a statement.
Azrul said the B40 insurance programme must be based on the principle of inclusion rather than exclusion.
“The scheme should seek to include the bulk of people in the B40 group needing assistance now. It still seems to require that you are of the right age, have the right kind of illness, and be at the right time of diagnosis.
“For example, a 58-year old single mother paralysed by a stroke and diagnosed last year would still have no chance benefiting from mySalam’s income replacement assistance. This must change,” Azrul said.
He pointed out that changing the approach and coverage of beneficiaries would increase the awareness among the public on the need to invest in health insurance and in preventive health measures.
Meanwhile, Azrul welcomed the government’s recent decision to extend the programme across five university hospitals and five military hospitals.
“These 10 medical facilities, particularly Hospital Universiti Sains Malaysia and Universiti Malaya Medical Centre, are vital components in the provision of essential healthcare services to their respective communities.
“They see hundreds of thousands of patients annually. With this development, patients with critical illnesses and their families, will no longer be forced to consider relocating treatment to a Ministry of Health hospital in order to benefit from mySalam,” Azrul said.
Azrul said the government’s announcement today proved that it is open to refining and improving the programme.
Bernama earlier today reported that the number of hospitals covered by mySalam had been widened to include five university hospitals and five military hospitals.
The five university hospitals are the University of Malaya Medical Centre (Kuala Lumpur), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Centre (Kuala Lumpur), International Islamic University Malaysia Medical Centre (Kuala Lumpur), Universiti Sains Malaysia Hospital (Kelantan) and UiTM Hospital in Sungai Buloh (Selangor).
The military hospitals are Hospital Angkatan Tentera (HAT) Tuanku Mizan in Kuala Lumpur, HAT Lumut (Perak), HAT Terendak Camp (Melaka), Hospital Tentera Darat, Gemas (Negri Sembilan), and HAT Wilayah Kota Kinabalu (Sabah).