Medical premiums up again

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Medical insurance premiums have gone up again and policyholders are not happy about it.

Agents from several companies said the increases, which were “now a norm”, had started early this year.

It is not just new products that have been repriced as existing policyholders are also affected, they added.
Policyholders had been notified of an estimated 10% to 30% hike since early this year, although the increase for some would only take effect next year.

Upset policyholders, who will now have to fork out up to RM300 more for their yearly medical coverage, have taken to both social and traditional media to complain.

Both agents and policyholders were told that higher healthcare costs were to blame.

The National Association of Malaysian Life Insurance and Family Takaful Advisors also objected to the increase.

Its president James Bong said insurance companies must justify the increase with facts and figures.

Pricier coverage would hinder Bank Negara’s goal to achieve a 75% insurance penetration rate by 2020 and burden the public healthcare system, he added.

He hoped the Government would exempt “necessity policies” covering hospitalisation and critical illnesses from the Goods and Services Tax.

Life insurance is exempted from the GST, but all traditional and investment-linked policies with medical, critical illness or personal accident benefits are taxed.

Bong also appealed to the Government to allow higher tax relief claims for life, medical and education insurance.

The Life Insurance Association of Malaysia said healthcare costs were rising and would continue to do so at a rate of 15% yearly.

To keep healthcare premiums affordable for stakeholders such as insurers, doctors and hospitals, the Government and consumers must work together to address the higher costs.

Federation of Malaysian Consumers Association secretary-general Datuk Paul Selvaraj said insurance rates would only go down if the Government contained medical costs in private hospitals.