Why exclude patients with pre-existing conditions, think tank asks on govt healthcare scheme

The MySalam healthcare scheme offers health protection for 36 critical illnesses including cancer, heart attack and Alzheimer’s disease to eligible candidates. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: A think tank today questioned the exclusion of patients with pre-existing medical conditions from the government’s new health insurance scheme for the bottom 40 or B40 group.

Galen Centre for Health and Social Policy said limiting insurance payouts to those diagnosed with listed diseases after Jan 1 this year was discriminative against patients who had already been diagnosed with medical conditions.

“Why are they left out, and what happens to them?” its chief executive Azrul Mohd Khalib said in a statement.

“Though the industry standard for critical illness coverage is at least two and a half years of annual income, the payout of RM8,000 will certainly help this group, especially the families of those inflicted by these illnesses.

“However, getting this assistance seems to require you to have the right age, right kind of illness, and right time of diagnosis.”

He said this, along with the age prerequisite of 18-50 years and the omission of key non-communicable diseases and illnesses which affect the B40 group in particular such as diabetes and mental health issues, reinforced the perception that the MySalam scheme protects the interests and limits the liabilities of Great Eastern Holdings, not the needs of the B40.

“Many of MySalam’s potential shortcomings could have been addressed or prevented if the government had sought out input through rigorous consultation and discussion, and taken the time to address these concerns.”

Available free of cost, the scheme will offer health protection for 36 critical illnesses including cancer, heart attack and Alzheimer’s disease to eligible candidates.

Recipients will get assistance of RM8,000 and a daily payment of RM50 for a maximum amount of RM700 a year as replacement income.