KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 21 — The chairman of mySalam today disputed a senior Ministry of Health (MOH) official’s assertion that the programme was a private insurance scheme.
Dr Rozita Halina Hussein, senior deputy director at MOH’s planning division, told the Monash Health Economics Forum 2019 yesterday that mySalam was not a national health insurance scheme, but a “private insurance scheme” unrelated to health because its objective was income protection.
“I’m not sure what the context was, but certainly it is not a private insurance scheme. It is a government health protection scheme that is administered by a private sector takaful company,” mySalam chairman Johan Mahmood Merican told CodeBlue.
He explained that mySalam — which is under the Finance Ministry’s purview and whose deputy chairman is MOH deputy secretary general (management) Mohd Shafiq Abdullah — is related to health because payment of benefits is triggered upon diagnosis of a critical illness or hospitalisation in a public hospital.
Singapore-based insurance company Great Eastern Holdings gave the Malaysian government RM2 billion for mySalam — a scheme that pays the bottom 40 per cent RM8,000 lump sum cash when diagnosed with a critical illness from last January 1 — in exchange for not divesting 30 per cent of their shareholdings to local investors under Bank Negara rules.
The Malaysian government in turn pays Great Eastern the insurance premiums of mySalam beneficiaries, about RM400 million annually for five years. According to Ayer Hitam MP Wee Ka Siong, mySalam has only paid out about RM3 million as of September 30 since the scheme began last January.