KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 12 -- The insurance and takaful industry players have urged all private hospitals to practise price transparency in medical charges to encourage competition and offer affordable rates to the people.
In a joint press statement today, the Life Insurance Association of Malaysia (LIAM), General Insurance Association of Malaysia (PIAM) and Malaysian Takaful Association (MTA) said price transparency is important for insurers and consumers to make informed choices of services.
"We welcome the Health Ministry’s move to mandate the disclosures of the consultation fee upfront and we believe that this should be extended to charges of common medical procedures in all private hospitals.
"This would help the public make informed decisions on the cost of treatment. In this regard, private hospitals in Malaysia should publish their actual average costs similar to what is current practice in some countries.
"Transparency in medical charges will encourage competition and hopefully it will help to control prices over the long term," said the statement.
On Dec 6, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad announced the government's decision to deregulate the consultation fees of doctors in private clinics and private hospitals.
The insurance associations hoped that the Ministry of Health will look into setting up benchmark prices for drugs and pharmaceutical supplies.
According to the statement, the total health expenditure in 2018 was RM60.147 billion, of which 52 per cent is funded by the government with the balance paid by private households out-of-pocket (35 per cent), private insurance (7 per cent), corporations (4 per cent) and other agencies (2 per cent).
They said if healthcare costs are not contained, an increase in premiums for medical and health insurance will be inevitable.
"If medical insurance is no longer affordable, it will drive more patients to seek treatment at government hospitals, while (for) self-paying patients, it will cost them more to seek treatment at private clinics and hospitals," the statement said.