Private hospitals should not ignore their social obligations and the government should remind them of just that, Nube General Secretary J Solomon.
“The ministry must have political will to remind the private hospitals that their existence is not merely for profits,” said Solomon.
Solomon said this at an event, where NUBE launched a brand new group hospitalization and surgical insurance scheme for their members, insured by Allianz Life Insurance Malaysia.
“We hope the new cabinet sworn in that is regarded as the ‘transformation cabinet’ will provide group hospitalisation and surgical insurance including outpatient treatment for Malaysian earning a household income of RM 3,000.00 and less.
“This will provide them access to both private and public hospital simultaneously.”
NUBE believes there shall be no distinction in medical consultation and treatment among fellow Malaysians in any hospitals in Malaysia other than those who want luxury, which they have to bear the additional cost that comes with it.
NUBE successfully negotiated with the banks to provide such facilities to our members and their dependants since 2008.
We started with a premium of RM 300 per year and few years later NUBE had to change the insurer for group hospitalization and surgical insurance scheme abruptly after ETIQA insurance decided to increase the premium to a whopping RM1,069 per family.
We believe the increase in premium for such short periods is solely due to the rising charges in the private hospitals.
We have received reports of unimaginable charges for some facilities such as plastic cups to store medicine, operation theatre blanket/towels, room blankets as opposed to a warmer.
These are chargers ancillary to the main charge of operation, treatment or merely consultation. There are also various other charges in relation to administration.
The private hospitals must bear in mind that if their charges were exorbitant, insurance company would transfer those charges on to the people thus resulting in increased cost of the premium.
Ultimately, it will affect the consumers, in our case; it affected our members, which led them to a situation, where they could not protect themselves and their loved ones with adequate coverage.
We are grateful that through discussion and negotiation with Allianz, we managed to obtain the facility with enhanced benefits for RM880.
We would like to stress that healthcare is not a privilege. It is a necessity, which should be made accessible to all irrespective of their status in society.
The onus is now on the Health Ministry and the new minister to start implementing policies, which would allow members of society to fast and effective health care.
Perhaps they could learn from China, which in 2009, unveiled an action plan and ambitious health care reform aimed at attaining universal health insurance coverage by 2020.
Three years later the country has almost reached the goal. We could always learn the secret of the success story to benefit all Malaysians.