Malaysian healthcare insurers are bracing for the possibility of premium rates increasing from 12% to 15% per year. This is due to increasing demand for services from the affluent as well as higher incidences of chronic and lifestyle diseases like diabetes and obesity.
According to three insurance associations – Life Insurance Association of Malaysia, Persatuan Insurance Am Malaysia and Malaysian Takaful Association – premium rates have actually been increasing by an average of 12% per year due to high inflation in healthcare costs. Technological advances in healthcare and an increase in the cost of drugs and treatments also played a role in the premium rate rise.
The insurance associations are proposing that the government should regulate and make public the recommended retail price of pharmaceutical products, medical devices (such as stents and implants) and medicines.
For now, hospital charges such as fees for hospital stays, laboratory investigations, nursing care, use of equipment and operation room and drugs, are not regulated. This is why insurance companies and takaful operators are suggesting for hospitals to inform consumers that a more detailed billing of charges can be provided upon request, allowing for a cost breakdown of the treatments and medicines provided.