IPOH, Dec 15 — The government will introduce compulsory health coverage for foreign workers as part of the country's larger voluntary health insurance scheme (VHIS), Datuk Seri S. Subramaniam said today.
The health minister said the coverage for the foreigners will be launched in phases beginning in the middle of 2018.
“We are going very slowly with this. The first phase will involve mandatory health insurance for foreign workers,” he told reporters after the ground-breaking ceremony of SJK(T) Gunung Rapat here.
“Then we will move to other groups in the next phase, and after that the scheme will grow at a pace where we are comfortable and that will allow the success of the initiative.”
Subramaniam explained that the non-privatised, non-profit insurance scheme was meant to offer more affordable alternative to the private sector and to allow the government to procure private sector health services at predetermined rates.
He said it could also allow the government to offer targeted assistance to select groups if needed.
“However, this won't happen immediately. The scheme has to evolve naturally and we hope our intentions will be achieved through this natural evolution.”
When tabling Budget 2018 on October 27, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced an allocation of RM50 million for the VHIS to bolster the health sector.