Is Your Medical Insurance Giving You The Best Possible Medical Care?
Going through life without medical insurance coverage is like walking on a tightrope without a safety harness.
Here’s why: healthcare costs a lot.
A procedure like a coronary bypass surgery can set you back RM3,000 to RM5,000 in a government hospital like University of Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC), or up to RM7,030 at a private hospital. However, after taking into account ancillary costs (like room charges, diagnostic charges, and consultation fees), your total cost for a coronary bypass surgery could balloon to around RM60,000 at a private hospital.
These costs are rising year by year. This year, Malaysia’s forecast medical inflation stands at 16% per annum, an increase from 15.3% in 2018.
Many Malaysians are already struggling to keep up. UMMC reported that half of its patients who are obligated to pay for treatment can’t afford it, even though costs are heavily subsidised by the government. In 2015, 14.3% of the debt default cases solved by the Credit Counselling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK) were due to high medical costs.
This is where medical insurance comes in. Having adequate coverage means that your insurance policy will cover the costs of treatment and hospitalisation. This allows you to take your mind off the financial burden of illness and concentrate on recovery.
Your medical insurance may not ensure quality of treatment
However, while your medical insurance can give you a financial safety net to fall back on, it may not be able to ensure the quality of treatment you receive.
When it comes to serious illnesses, overdiagnosis and overtreatment is a global problem. Federation of Malaysian Consumers Association (FOMCA) CEO Datuk Paul Selvaraj told the Star in 2014 that overtreatment is a “major concern in Malaysia as it was widely practised but extensively denied”.
Overdiagnosis happens when a patient is diagnosed with a medical condition that would never have caused harm or symptoms. There are many factors that contribute to overdiagnosis, including doctors’ fears of missing out on a diagnosis, overzealous use of new diagnostic technology, and even financial incentives. This could lead to unnecessary treatments (or ‘overtreatments’).
This could cause:
- Physical harm and side effects due to unnecessary tests or treatments
- Diagnosis-related anxiety
- Increased financial burden
Patients are also at risk of being misdiagnosed. The Institute of Medicine, a non-profit organisation based in the United States, said in a report that most people will experience at least one misdiagnosis in their lifetime. Diagnostic errors can happen for a few reasons, including “inadequate collaboration communication among clinicians, patients, and their families”.
These errors are not only costly and time consuming, but could also harm patients’ well-being.
Where should you turn to for the best possible care?
It’s not all bad news: the insurance landscape is constantly innovating to meet the needs of its customers.
AIA, an insurer in Malaysia, has taken the first step to make this change. Last year, AIA introduced A-Plus Health, a medical plan that rewards customers for taking steps to live healthily – the first of its kind in Malaysia.
This year, AIA has introduced the innovative A-Plus MedCare, an optional rider that can be attached to selected regular premium investment-linked insurance plans. A-Plus MedCare offers a Personal Medical Case Management (PMCM) benefit that focuses on ensuring that you receive the best possible treatment.
If you have been diagnosed with a serious condition, you may have questions such as Is my diagnosis correct? Is the treatment offered to me the best one? Are there any alternative treatments available? PMCM can help you face these questions.
Here’s what you need to know about it.
Other than PMCM, A-Plus MedCare also covers your flight ticket if overseas medical treatment is recommended to you. AIA will reimburse the cost of flight tickets for you and one companion, up to a combined limit of RM10,000 per lifetime.
Get the best possible medical care
Being diagnosed with a serious illness can be challenging, but you don’t have to go through it alone.
A-Plus MedCare and PMCM can help you navigate the complex decisions and treatment options involved. This means having peace of mind that you’ll be getting the most accurate diagnoses to optimise your treatment plans, and avoid unnecessary procedures.
You’ll also get ongoing and support throughout your medical journey. Whether you need medical information, guidance through rehabilitation, or even emotional support, your PMCM team will be ready to assist you. Your team will be there for you until you are fully recovered and can return to everyday life.