In case you have not heard about 1Care social health insurance (another 1Malaysia “initiative”) yet, here is a summary of what we all will be facing if the proposal is passed as law in Parliament soon. This definitely affects your wealth, but most importantly, it also impacts the well-being of your spouse, your children, your parents and everyone you care about.
In the current health care system, when you seek medical treatment at private clinics/hospitals, you either pay from your own pocket or, if you have medical insurance, your insurance company will pay for your expenses.
For government clinics or hospitals, you pay a small fee only because the expenses are paid using taxpayers’ (our) money.
1Care is going to change all this. It would be a major revamp whereby the government wants you to believe that 1Care will make health care cheaper and better for citizens from all walks of life. All private clinics and hospitals need to join this sytem for standardization. A noble intention, yes, but wait until you read about some of the salient points regarding its proposed implementation below.
- You pay a mandatory 10 percent deduction of your monthly gross salary to contribute to National Health Care Financing Authority (NHFA).
- You cannot opt out. Your employer will face legal action if they do not participate.
- You cannot choose your doctor to seek free medical treatment. 1Care system will assign one for you. If you want to consult other medical practitioner, you need to pay your own.
- You only have the basic health care services for free. How “basic” is anyone’s guess for now. If your medical treatment is not under the “basic package”, you need to pay your own.
- NHFA will pay RM 60 to the assigned doctor whom you seek medical treatment from. This only covers consultation fees and injection, if needed. Patients will be charged current private health care rates instead of public health care rates.
- You need to go the the pharmacy for the prescribed medicine. Insurance companies will have major say in the price and the range of this standardised medicine list. It will likely to be the cheapest medicine. This will save cost for 1Care and maximise profit for the insurance companies. If you don’t like the medicine prescribed, you need to pay for your own medicine.
- Like all medical insurance, there is a limitation on the number of visits to your assigned doctor – 6 visits per year. Exceeding this limit means you need to pay on your own. Find out more options for medical insurance here, if you need to pay your own.
- Your assigned doctor decides which specialist you can go to. If you wish to see the specialist or go to a hospital of your choice, you need to pay on your own.
- There is NO refund on your 10 percent monthly deduction even if you do not seek any medical treatment at all!
My financial thoughts
One thing is certain, our health care quality will deteriorate under such proposed implementation, at a less affordable cost.
Is it fair for all age groups to pay a flat rate of 10 percent of one’s income? This contradicts with the very core concept of mortality & morbidity rate in insurance.
How about unemployed people? Are they eligible? If no, how can they seek medical treatment? If yes, does that mean the employed is essentially paying the health care expenses for the unemployed?
Details are vague, and there are many more questions yet to be answered.
Share your thoughts on this.
LCF is an engineer with keen interest in financial planning and investing. He maintains a personal finance blog at http://www.howtofinancemoney.com/ which aims to spread financial literacy to the masses through practical and simplified how-to money tips.