(File pix) Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam leaving after a press conference in Putrajaya yesterday. Bernama Photo

PUTRAJAYA: THE government is introducing the Voluntary Health Insurance Scheme this year to help those in the Bottom 40 per cent low-income group obtain health treatment in private clinics, with the costs borne by
the government.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said the scheme would be managed by his ministry and supervised by the Finance Ministry, with the aim to reduce the gap in healthcare services between the government and private sectors.

At the same time, he said, the scheme could utilise the existing capacity in the private healthcare sector.

Dr Subramaniam said the matter was approved in principle at a cabinet meeting yesterday.

“This was a decision made at the policy level and will be fine-tuned after the 14th General Election (GE14) to assess its implementation, including determining those eligible for the scheme, the types of illnesses covered, method of payment, and key performance indicators (KPI),” he said here yesterday.

He said the scheme, once launched, would not only benefit the public, especially the low-income group, but also reduce overcrowding at clinics under the ministry’s purview.

He said a thorough study would be carried out on private clinics, as well as the costs involved.

On another development, Dr Subramaniam said the Health Ministry would carry out a transformation exercise to link the healthcare system via information and communications technology.

This, he said, would enable patients’s data to be stored in a single system, enabling treatment to be dispensed easily even if patients were to seek treatment at different hospitals.

Dr Subramaniam said in the last five years, the ministry had undertaken transformation initiatives to improve the public healthcare delivery system.