KUALA LUMPUR: Insurance associations are urging the Government to ensure that doctors' consultation fees and all charges for common medical procedures are disclosed to patients upfront.
They also asked for the Government to benchmark prices for medical supplies against other countries.
Life Insurance Association of Malaysia (LIAM), Persatuan Insurans Am Malaysia (PIAM) and Malaysian Takaful Association (MTA) in a statement on Thursday (Dec 12) said they welcomed the government's move to mandate the disclosure of consultation fees upfront as these would help the public make informed decisions and encourage competition, which will hopefully help control prices over the long term.
They also hoped the transparency be extended to charges for common medical procedures in all private hospitals, they said.
"In this regard, private hospitals in Malaysia should publish their actual average costs – similar to what is currently practised in some countries," it said, adding that it is important to ensure that deregulation of fees will encourage competition among doctors to offer affordable rates to the people.
Currently, doctor's charges make up about 20% and 35% for inpatient stays for non-surgical and surgical treatments respectively, it said.
The associations also urged the government to set up benchmark prices for drugs and pharmaceutical supplies against other countries.
They pointed out that according to the Willis Towers Watson's 2019 Global Medical Trends Survey Report, Malaysia's medical costs were among the highest in the region and is expected to rise by a further 13.1%.
In response, the industry has formed a joint task force to understand the issue better and address it, they said.
On Friday (Dec 6), Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad announced that the Cabinet had decided to deregulate consultation fees of doctors in private clinics and hospitals.
This follows after general practitioners in standalone clinics had asked the ministry to increase their consultation fees in tandem with their counterparts serving in hospitals.
However, the Cabinet decided to deregulate the consultation fees, which would allow private doctors to set their own fees.
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