Govt yet to decide on health protection model for B40 group (Updated)

KUALA LUMPUR: The government has not decided whether the health protection plan for the B40 low-income group comes under the social health insurance (SHI), voluntary health insurance (VHI) or other framework, says Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad.

The Health Minister said currently, the scheme that the Government was planning to launch as per Pakatan Harapan’s 14th general election manifesto, was not an insurance scheme but a health protection scheme for B40 that is fully financed by the Government.

“The scheme is not in the form of an insurance.

“This will be borne fully by the government for the low-income group under an agency by the Health Ministry itself. No private insurance is involved in the implementation of the scheme,” he said, claiming that there were many misunderstandings over the issue from various media reports.

Dr Dzulkefly said this in response to a question raised by Dr Kelvin Yii Lee (PH- Bandar Kuching) in Parliament on Wednesday (Oct 31).

Dr Yii had asked about the status of health insurance for the B40 group and whether the government will monitor the activities of managed care organisations.

Dr Dzulkefly said he would also address the health protection scheme for B40 questions raised by four other MPs.

“What I would like to emphasise is for the national health protection scheme for the B40. We did not say whether it will be in the form of SHI or VHI framework.

“It is a protection scheme specifically on health for the B40, fully financed by the government, without compromising on currently available service. What we are going to launch is a health protection scheme for the B40 group.

“Please do not say that national health protection scheme will burden the people because it is a SHI as reported by the media,” he said.

In replying to Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba (BN – Tenggara)'s question on whether an insurance scheme would involve only the B40 group, Dr Dzulkefly reiterated that it is not an insurance scheme but a health financing scheme with consolidated funds from various taxes collected.

He said the country had adopted a tax-based health financing system all these years. The previous Government tried to implement the VHI but it was aborted, he said.

“If we are given more allocation for the health sector, perhaps, we may not need any form of insurance because we can continue to be a tax-based health financing system.

“But if assuming that the allocation is not increased for the health sector, perhaps we have to discuss on the type of social health insurance model needed, one that is tweaked or a hybrid or one that we create ourselves,” he said.