SHI for B40 group to be made known during Budget

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 31 Oct 2018

KUALA LUMPUR: The social health insurance (SHI) for the B40 low-income group will be unveiled during Budget 2019 announcement, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad.

The details will be announced on Nov 2, he added.

Some stakeholders had asked the ministry for details of the SHI before it is tabled in Parliament during the Budget 2019.

“Not to worry because it is not cast in stone. It can be tweaked,” he assured when asked about the scheme after the memorandum of understanding signed between Standard Chartered Malaysia and the ministry for the bank to donate RM220,000 to the cost of about 1,000 intraocular lenses for rural communities yesterday.

Dr Dzulkefly said the ministry will engage in townhall meetings with state health excos and other stakeholders after the plan is announced on Budget Day.

He said the emphasis of the health protection plan is primary healthcare and health protection for the low income group, as promised in the Pakatan Harapan’s general election manifesto, and not M40 or higher income groups yet.

He urged people not to make assumptions.

Meanwhile, a foreign-owned insu­rance company has proposed to contribute RM2.3bil to RM2.5bil in return for an exemption from having to sell a 30% stake to local investors as required by Bank Negara, The Edge reported online on Monday.

It also said that sources familiar with the discussions between the insurer, Bank Negara Malaysia and the Finance Ministry (MOF) said an additional RM500mil to RM600mil will also be made available for scholarships in healthcare.

“The discussions are in a very advanced stage and the parties hope to strike an agreement soon,” it said.

It quoted Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad saying the deal could help fund the national healthcare insurance scheme for the poor when tabling the 11th Malaysia Plan in Parliament last Thursday.

In response, the Citizens’ Health Initiative (CHI) urged the Pakatan Harapan Government to stop the swap deals and make transparent all plans to reform the health sector, and practise the consultative approach promised.

In fact, CHI member Dr Chee Heng Leng, a healthcare analyst, raised concern that the scheme will expand the demand in private hospitals, pulling even more specialists and health expertise away from the public sector.