KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 14 — MCA told mySalam to increase its RM8,000 critical illness benefit, since the health protection scheme paid beneficiaries just 3.4 per cent of its allocation last year.
The opposition party’s president Wee Ka Siong suggested multiplying the RM8,000 lump sum cash to between RM24,000 and RM30,000 instead, pointing out that the cost of chemotherapy treatment, for example, could run into tens of thousands.
“This would increase the claim cost (perhaps more than RM50mil) but the returns would be more obvious, unlike the current situation where the claim ratio is slightly more than 3 per cent (poor return on the RM400mil paid in premiums),” Wee said in a statement.
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng revealed Tuesday that mySalam paid out about RM13.7 million to some 9,662 Malaysians from the bottom 40 per cent (B40) in 2019, just 3.4 per cent of an estimated RM400 million the health protection scheme received that year.
Singapore-based Great Eastern Holdings is meant to spend about RM400 million annually to give beneficiaries RM8,000 for a critical illness diagnosis, or RM700 per annum for 14 days’ hospitalisation for any condition, as the insurance company is contributing RM2 billion to the mySalam fund for five years, or RM400 million a year.
More than 1,448 people received the RM8,000 lump sum critical illness benefit totalling about RM11.6 million, while over 8,214 individuals received the hospitalisation benefit.
“RM14mil is way lower than the targeted claim, which is RM400mil, while any excess from the RM400mil will be poured back into the B40 National Protection Fund. Why the need to move the money back to the fund when many are still complaining about how difficult to claim from the scheme?” Wee questioned.
The Ayer Hitam MP also asked why mySalam has been extended to cover the middle class this year, when only 3.4 per cent of the health protection scheme’s allocation went to B40 beneficiaries in 2019, as he cited technical problems and bureaucracy in making claims.
“The median income of those in the M40 category is around RM6,275 while the mySalam scheme provides critical illness protection of RM4,000 (lesser than a month’s salary). How is this a meaningful coverage? A meaningful critical illness coverage would be around three times one’s annual salary,” Wee said.
The MCA president further asked why Great Eastern has been exempted from the condition of divesting 30 per cent of its shareholdings to local investors when the Singapore-based insurance company hasn’t paid mySalam RM2 billion yet.
“What about the Bank Negara Malaysia’s policy with regards to the additional process for all forms of withdrawal to ensure that the principle of fair treatment for all participating policyholders is upheld?
“Would the estate fund or the surplus from the participating fund be distributed based on the 90:10 ratio, which is the 90/10 profit sharing rule as it should be? Has the Finance Ministry gotten the independent assessment?”
Former prime minister Najib Razak slammed mySalam’s poor claims payout rate, noting also that the 9,662 people who received payment for their claims last year comprised just 0.22 per cent of 4.3 million eligible B40 beneficiaries.