We have written an article titled “The A H1N1 pandemic…. Is your Health Insurance covering you?” back in June 15 this year describing that AH1N1 is an excluded risk in the Health Insurance policy in any event the government having declared it as disease necessitating quarantine by law. Things may have changed significantly judging from the development of this pandemic as the virus (thought to have originated in Mexico) has found its way to every nook and cranny in the world. To make matter worst, Malaysian has not been coping well with the very fast pace pandemic. Accordingly the health ministry also lacks the the necessary logistic and infrastructures, especially making available laboratories to test swabs samples taken from suspected AH1N1 patients and notably unable to cope with concerned patients (who may or may not be suffering from such disease) swarming the government hospitals and clinics of late. The newspaper reported that patients were made to wait an average of four hours just to get to the doctor. With already 27 deaths reported, you just can’t blame the public for having done so!
Private clinics are also not able to provide real answers to their patients as a matter of whether they are suffering from AH1N1 or just some common cold. The private hospitals are also not equipped with the necessary knowledge and facilities to deal with patients having persistent fever or flu liked symptoms; they just turned them away before someone died within their facilities – well, they said this is going to be bad for business!
Contrary to what was adopted by the government back in May insisting that all flu-liked patients must take necessary precautions and were advised to visit the designated government hospitals early, today the government doctors merely provide some anti-viral medicines and send their patients home. The method adopted then was once a patient is a suspect, he or she would be immediately subject to quarantine even if the swab test results indicated negative. (For information – the swab testing available is only 60% to 80% sensitive, thus even if result is negative, it does not necessarily meant you do not have it!”). Clearly the situation is one of unable to handle the sudden influx of patients coming into the government hospital domains – compounded by the fact that the public starts to panic with 27 related deaths todate.
………the scenario looks clear that this is not going to be so. It looks like Tamiflu has already been substantially imported and would be distributed to all governmental clinics and hospitals as well as the 22 private hospitals nationwide to deal with the significant rise in the number of patients. The swab testing may not be able to confirm the actual result as effectiveness depends much on the AH1N1 stage of development. So it looks like doctors operating within those designated hospitals can admit patients suspected of AH1N1 infected and administer the prescribed treatment as if any normal medical treament accordance to their diagnoses.
This means the government is now leaving the administrative part of the prevention to the public and their chosen hospital; there are just too many flu-liked patients to deal with on a day to day basis. Any patients who have flu (but concerned that it may be AH1N1 related) may seek treatment at any private hospital as treatment would be commonly available in the next couple of months. The patients if admitted into hospital may incur medical costs and such costs are claimable from their Health Insurance policy – for simple reason AH1N1 is no longer a disease that is declared as quarantineable by law.
…….save that this is pandemic and is currently spreading like wild fire….. and your insurers would have to paid for the medical costs if at all these are being incurred!
This simply means most insurers are now exposed to potential claims coming from AH1N1 or any similar form of pandemics including the possibility of the recent China Pneumonic plague.
With 27 AH1N1 related deaths and number likely is growing,…..
I just can’t help but believe Health insurers buying limited or no treaty protection to pandemic exposures is a thing of the PAST…. otherwise it is prudent to cap per life per event limit to a more palatable level.
So…. if any insurers are thinking of expansion with wider and better Health products, don’t just think big but also CAP it….