Malaysia: Health Minister warns out-of-pocket spending too high
Source: Asia Insurance Review | Jul 2016
Malaysia must address its high rate of out-of-pocket payments for private healthcare services to prevent negative financial consequences to patients, cautioned the country’s Health Minister Dr S Subramaniam.
He said Malaysians’ total healthcare expenditure was MYR45 billion (US$11 billion) annually, of which nearly MYR36 billion was funded out-of-pocket.
“According to international health organisations, any country with an out-of-pocket payment rate exceeding 15-20% has a higher risk of facing financial catastrophe.
“We acknowledge that for Malaysia, the numbers are at an unhealthy level,” he said. “The government is conducting a study on how best to overcome this situation and reduce the weaknesses in our national healthcare system.
“Insurance is good but not everyone can obtain it because of the types of schemes and their selection criteria, as well as coverage limitations,” said Dr Subramaniam.
He said only a small percentage of Malaysians has medical insurance, and given that there is no social health insurance, Malaysians have become accustomed to paying for medical treatment themselves.
“It has worked so far, but we can’t say the same for the future. We hope to find a formula to resolve this because these patients might not continue medical treatment once they run out of money.”