The Insurance Of Life | Inflation Kills

Today I read an article on Malaysia Kini where a health insurance policyholder lamented over why insurer has to be so divisive over various treatment options; one that requires hospital admission and one being on outpatient basis. If the policyholder takes the latter form of treatment then he would have to bear a substantial amount of non-insurable costs…. So he will be forced into the more invasive version of treatment…. I think this should be interesting enough for a weekend read, which at the end of it a mind blogging one for – consult me if you are not what to do with your current health insurance policy.

Insert your issue or concerns on the comment section below, we will be responding to you as soon as we possibly could….

An open letter to the Bank Negara governor
Stephen Ng | 1:00PM Mar 28, 2014

Dear Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz,

I was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer and the best option available currently, in view of the possibility of the cancer cells spreading beyond the gland, is radiotherapy and hormonal treatment. This would cost about RM33,000.

I had bought an insurance policy since 12 years ago, paying a premium of RM1,400 per annum. This was already quite a substantial amount for me, when I was working. I bought it for the sake of peace of mind that it offers that should I have any cancer, heart attack or any other expensive illnesses, the financial side of things would be taken care of without having to burden my young family.

Even if I have to go, at least my kids (a five-plus-year-old and a two-plus-year-old) would  have the finances to go on in life with the help of their single and working mother.

In this critical situation, I am informed that under the policy, outpatient treatment has a limit of only RM10,000 for a whole lifespan. This means that if I proceed with the radiotherapy and hormonal treatment, I would have to fork out another RM23,000 provided that the other scans that I did earlier has not eaten into the allocation of RM10,000.

Over the past 12 years that I have been paying, the hospital fees and charges have gone up, and even value of money 10 years ago and now, is not taken into consideration. At the end of the day, it is not the illness that kills us, but inflation.

What is seemingly ridiculous in my case is this: if I am admitted, say for the surgical removal of my prostate gland (which the doctor said may not be the best option and a lot more expensive than radiotherapy), the insurance covers the full amount because I am admitted. If radiotherapy and hormonal treatment of the same problem i.e. cancer of the prostate, it is considered outpatient treatment; therefore, the limit is RM10,000 for a whole lifespan.

The medical insurance is limiting my choice of treatment because of its policy. Why would I not opt for radiotherapy which is cheaper and less invasive than an operation, and I can help the company concerned to save some money? Besides, the urological surgeon who recommended me to do radiotherapy is a cousin of mine, who would want the best for me although he could have performed the surgery himself; instead, this case is passed to an oncologist.

I am writing this while waiting for my bone scan this morning. Over the counter, I heard a similar situation with another patient who bought medical insurance from another company.

I trust that you would look into this, Tan Sri, with great urgency as many people are having to go through unnecessary stress because of what is stated in the fine prints. We buy medical insurance for the sake of peace of mind, but is this what we are getting? By looking into this matter, I believe you will do a great favour to people who are already holding their last straw.


Stephen Ng

STEPHEN NG is a chemist by training. He dealt with printing ink, paint and emulsion polymer for 15 years before becoming a freelance writer.

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3 comments for “The Insurance Of Life | Inflation Kills

  1. Samuel Tsen
    March 31, 2014 at 08:42

    I would think insurers are obligated to advice or at least provide relevant infor to their policyholders who are consumers, especially where it concerns adequacy and appropriateness of cover.

  2. Anonymous
    March 28, 2014 at 23:24

    Guess, it is always that insurance company insure themselves first before insuring us policyholders. If any policyholders got claim insurance companies somehow got insurance against those claim. Meaning this pay little or worse, no pay!

    • March 29, 2014 at 10:40

      I guess, it is a normal part of any insurance operation to check against non-controllable exposure, in that sense, I would say, yes to insuring themselves first. However, I think insurer can be more innovative if illness is part of those critical ones, like cancer. I am sure insurer can consider products that cover out patient treatment where claims is in respect of critical ones….if the costs is not more than those in patient (hospitalised & admitted) treatment.

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