Rising insurance premiums: Call on the government to introduce a subsidised National Health Insurance Scheme

Press Statement
Kerk Kim Hock

(Petaling Jaya, Thursday):  The introduction of various measures effective next year, including raising medical and health insurance premiums by 20 to 30 % by the insurers is unfair to the insured and ineffective in solving the alleged abuse of claims.

When the government authorities were unable to reduce high traffic accident and car theft rates, he motorists were made the scapegoats as they were asked to pay higher premiums for their car insurance policies.

Now when the government authorities are not able to solve the problem of high hospitalisation and surgical costs, the insured are made the victims as they are now slapped with higher premiums and stringent conditions for their medical and heath insurance policies.

The higher premiums and new conditions set by the insurers will solve or minimise the problem faced by the industry which has blamed a rise in claims and abuse of claim procedure as reasons for the rise in rising hospitalisation and surgical cost.

However, not only the measures will not solve the causes identified by the insurers, they will in fact increase the financial burden of the insured and result in more people being unable to take up insurance coverage or only taking up limited coverage.

Hence, the measures are unfair to the insured and ineffective in solving the real problem, if the hospitals are the culprits as alleged.

As such, the Bank Negara and the Health Ministry must step in to address the real problem.

While it is undeniable that it is a world trend that insurance premiums are on the increase, this is actually due to a combination of factors like higher fees charged by hospitals, higher drug cost and the availability of new medial technologies.

Therefore, in order to ensure that the insured will not become helpless victims of unaffordable escalating premium cost now and in future, the government must treat medicine as a public service and not a business. It must therefore be prepared to provide some subsidy.

It is therefore time that the government introduces a subsidised National Health Insurance scheme which can really cater to the needs of the people.


* Kerk Kim Hock, DAP Secretary General and MP for Kota Melaka