Why Healthcare Costs & Insurance Premiums are bound to increase

The title of a newspiece I read in Focus Malaysia last week is blunt – “Outrageous medical fee hike”. Referring to my previous commentary on medical fee hike – 1 Additional Rise (Surprise) in Cost of Living which will Hit us Hard – up to 300%,  the HCK editorial team really lives up to its slogan “Open to all business but influenced by none”.  Subscription to its newspaper is Highly recommended.

The below are the excerpts from the article why analyzes the whole scenario at a deeper level.

  • Hospital charges are not regulated by the government, thus, the overall cost of private healthcare is going to go up
  • Consequently, you would see this evident in private hospitals
  • Hospitals, in general, are the big winner rather than doctors as doctor’s fees at most constitute only 25% of a patient’s total hospital bill.
  • Correspondingly, insurance companies would likely transfer this cost to policy holders – old and new – by rising insurance charges for medical card rider for the former, and by rising the premiums for the latter.
  • The ultimate paying party in this equation would be patients

Focus Malaysia medical fee hike

How this impact the man on the street

  • Exodus of doctors from public to private practice is the norm
  • This worsen the shortage of doctors in government hospitals
  • Higher costs of private healthcare will further worsen to overcrowding at government hospitals
  • Government effort to promote Malaysia as medical tourism destination would put private healthcare out of reach for citizens but catered to foreigners who’s able and willing to pay more for quality healthcare
  • Interestingly, nearly 2/3 of private hospitals are controlled by GLCs such as Khazanah Nasional, KPJ Group, Sime Darby.

It’s not What was Implemented but How It’s Implemented

  • The increase was approved by then Health Minister before May 2013 and kept secret. It was quietly gazetted in Dec 2013
  • Even Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) were not aware of the increase
  • The way of a gazette instead of amending the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act in the Parliament indicates a lack of transparency.
  • There was a question if this is due to the new rule soon that GP will be unable to dispense medication once a new law is passed?
  • The report also stated doctors generally profit by marking up prices when dispensing medication

In short…

Take care of your lifestyle – diet, exercise, etc. As cliched it may sound, prevention is always better than cure, or even detection. A prudent point highlighted repeatedly by medical professionals – like Dr Wong Yee Choon, Neurologist at Pantai Hospital Penang and a counterpart – Dr Saw Chong Beng, Interventional Neuro Radiologist

And on an unrelated note to the news above…

The below is not a plug of Pantai Hospital but Fin Freedom as a company co-organized a public Health Talk on Stroke (supposedly the 3rd killer illness in Malaysia after heart disease and cancer). Something we do for the good of the community. After all, what are the odds you get to see a neurologist consulting you in person on stroke unless you are down with stroke yourself?

Hospital pantai health talk 2

A very fruitful, full house session with not one, but 2 respected specialists.

Hospital pantai health talk dr wong yee choon

Apparently, Pantai Hospital Penang has recently launched its first-of-its-kind Stroke Center in northern region, headed by Dr Wong Yee Choon himself. A specialized center for stroke treatment and rehabilitation. If you are in Penang, do spread the word (again, not a promotion) that this would help save a family member or a friend. The First 3 Hours is the Golden time – and these are ways to detect symptoms.

Pantai Stroke Hotline

Stroke center pantai penang

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