Medical insurance industry in need of care


DEAR Health Minister, congratulations on your appointment.

I’m an actuary in charge of product development in a Malaysian insurance company.

I’m writing to ask for the ministry to intervene and regulate the costs charged by private hospitals for medical treatment.

The current model for private hospital medical care is broken, as medical costs are inflating by about 15% per annum, one of the highest (or highest) in Asia!

In the past, the regulator (Bank Negara Malaysia) and media have been painting the insurance industry as the villain when we increase medical premiums. But the truth is there is a lot of fraud, waste and abuse being committed by private hospitals which are going unchecked.

It is a well-known fact that hospitals inflate the medical bill significantly (some say by 20%) when they know the patient has a medical card. But who foots the bill in the end? It’s the customers – the people of Malaysia – in the form of higher insurance premiums and charges.

Meanwhile, private hospitals are reaping big profits, as can be seen in the large number of corporations opening private hospitals in Selangor and elsewhere in Malaysia. It is not wise of Bank Negara and the media to blame the insurer in this, as we are powerless to control hospitals without the assistance of the government. Even our industry association LIAM (Life Insurance Association of Malaysia) has been rendered powerless due to the new competition laws.

Please look into this urgently. If the Pakatan Harapan government is serious about addressing the cost of living for Malaysians, containing medical costs is key.

The industry is very willing to help the government in this if you reach out to us. I’m a very young actuary but we have many other skilled and experienced actuaries in Malaysia and many of us (or most) would be willing to help you find a solution. Also, there are many Malaysians who are working abroad in the health insurance industry. I am sure they will respond if you reach out to them. God bless Malaysia.

LK

Petaling Jaya

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Opinion , Letters; Bank Negara; LIAM

   

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