PETALING JAYA: Malaysian healthcare insurers expect premium rates to increase from 12% to 15% per year due to increasing demand for services from the affluent and higher incidences of chronic and lifestyle diseases, such as diabetes and obesity.
From 2010 to 2014, premium rate increased by an average of 12% per year, driven by high inflation in healthcare costs. This was revealed in a joint statement by three insurance associations – Life Insurance Association of Malaysia, Persatuan Insurance Am Malaysia and Malaysian Takaful Association.
They said technological advances in healthcare and an increase in the cost of drugs and treatments also played a role in the premium rate rise.
To address the latter, they proposed that the Government should regulate and make public the recommended retail price of pharmaceutical products, medical devices (such as stents and implants) and medicines.
Currently, consultation and performance of procedures fees charged by doctors in private hospitals are regulated.
However, other components of hospital charges, such as fees for hospital stays, laboratory investigations, nursing care, use of equipment and operation room and drugs, are not. Therefore, “there is a wide range of cost differences among private hospitals,” according to the associations.
To address this, insurance companies and takaful operations suggest hospitals should inform consumers that a more detailed billing of charges can be provided upon request, allowing for a cost breakdown of the treatments and medicines provided.