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5 Reasons Why Your Family Needs a Medical Card

Here’s a question—do you and your family have sufficient medical insurance coverage?

If you found yourself answering no, don’t worry—you’re far from alone. According to a joint study by the Life Insurance Association of Malaysia and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, over 90% of Malaysians are grossly underinsured.

In particular, the study showed that for a family whose primary breadwinner had some life insurance but zero medical insurance, there was a protection gap of RM642,000! Take away the life insurance part and this figure rises to RM723,000.

The implication of these figures is clear—a lack of medical insurance is the main contributor to the protection gap. Even with some form of both life and medical insurance, there was still an average protection gap of RM553,000 per family. That’s huge.

Do you know what is a protection gap? The protection gap can be defined as the estimated monetary figure to counter the lack of protection against financial consequences arising from unfortunate events such as death, disability, or critical illnesses. This sum of money is typically used to cover expenses, pay off outstanding debts, and largely to maintain a reasonable standard of living.

Rising medical costs in Malaysia

Medical inflation is the official term used to describe and quantify the increase in the costs of medical procedures. In Malaysia, medical inflation was recorded at 11.5% in 2016 and estimated at 12.5% in 2017. For context, the normal inflation rate was 2.1% for 2016 and 3.7% for 2017.

These rising medical costs have led to some truly sad stories. In 2016, Watson Nyambek, a former national 100m-sprint record holder, was declared a bankrupt because he could not pay back a loan he took to pay for his late father’s medical costs.

We have to ask—would this have happened had there been adequate medical insurance in the picture

Unfortunately, this trend of double-digit medical inflation is not expected to abate any time soon. Which is all the more reason for you and your family to get protected sooner rather than later.

What about public healthcare?

Why are Malaysians so underinsured? As you might expect, perceived affordability is the main factor holding most Malaysians back from obtaining better insurance coverage levels. Fortunately, as Malaysians, we live in a country with universal healthcare, and public healthcare remains affordable for most Malaysians.

But should you rely on the public healthcare system as the first option for your family? While it functions well as an effective safety net and option of last resort, few would opt for it as their first option if they had a choice.

After all, the stereotype of long waiting times at public hospitals exists for a reason, with many people even choosing to abandon treatment altogether rather than enduring the excruciating waits.

A survey conducted by The Malay Mail found that almost 75% of respondents waited four hours or more. And this doesn’t even take into account expats working in Malaysia who are not entitled to subsidised public healthcare and must buy medical insurance.

So, given the dilemma of rising medical costs in the private sector (the first and best option for most people) and chronic underinsurance from a perceived lack of affordability, what can someone who only wants the best for their family do?

Is medical insurance as expensive as you think?

Medical insurance premiums can vary wildly from person to person. Factors such as age and lifestyle activities can significantly influence the offered premiums.

But on balance, medical insurance is far more affordable than the media portrays—particularly if you know which specific medical insurance plans to pick.

That is of course, no easy task—there are just so many options! Fortunately, here at Finder we have done our research and curated two medical insurance plans we believe can best serve the widest range of needs possible.

These two plans are the AXA eMedic and ManuHealth Elite by ManuLife. They each serve slightly different market segments so between the two of them, you are almost guaranteed to find a plan that meets the needs of you and your family, both in terms of coverage and price.

Here are five benefits you and your family will gain from having either medical card.

5 benefits your family will gain from having a medical card

1. Peace of mind for even the youngest member of your family

There is no denying that peace of mind is one of the greatest benefits of having proper insurance coverage. And getting proper and timely healthcare for new family members is of utmost importance—consider that despite steady improvement over the years Malaysia’s child mortality rate still remains significantly higher compared to the developed world.

AXA perfectly understands this pressing need, which is why even children as young as 15 days old are eligible for coverage under the eMedic card. And after your child hits the age of six, monthly premiums generally hit the lowest rates possible until the end of their teenage years.

ManuHealth Elite goes one step further in its family coverage option, which allows you to cover your spouse and children in a single policy. Up to five children can be covered with automatic coverage for children born even after the policy has been purchased—talk about convenient coverage for the whole family!

2. Easy access to a wide network of top-class private hospitals and clinics

If you are covered under AXA’s eMedic policy, you will have easy access to a network of almost 140 top-class private hospitals and clinics throughout the country. ManuLife, on the other hand, has over a hundred.

The bottomline is this—if you and your family subscribe to any of the above plans, you will never have to worry about not having access to quality medical facilities, no matter where you live.

Non-panel hospitals are also covered!

Even in the unlikely situation that there are no panel facilities near your location (or for some reason you just prefer a specific one that happens to be non-panel), don’t worry! The only difference between going to a panel vs. non-panel facility is the claims process.

If using either AXA eMedic or ManuHealth Elite at their respective panel facilities, simply flashing your medical card is enough—all the payments are automatically handled at the back-end. It’s cashless! At non-panel facilities, you will have to settle the bill first and claim from the insurers later.

3. Flexible levels of coverage you can tailor to your individual needs

When it comes to something as important as your health, it’s always better to be over-insured than under-insured. But being over-insured also means spending money that you could use more productively.

The key to finding the right level of insurance coverage then is to have a wide range of options. And this is what AXA eMedic and ManuHealth Elite, when considered in unison, provide.

Annual limits ranging from RM20,000 to RM2.2 million

While both these plans have no lifetime limits, annual limits do apply. However, as you can see, depending on the level of coverage you think is best, the annual limit can range from RM20,000 (AXA eMedic’s Plan 20) to RM2.2 million (ManuHealth Elite’s MHE Signature).

Between these two ends there are five other intermediaries, with annual limits of RM50,000, RM100,000, RM1 million, RM1.5 million, and RM1.75 million.

The higher four annual limits are all from the ManuHealth Elite plan, meaning if you are concerned about potentially exceeding your annual limits (but are willing to pay higher premiums), then go for the ManuHealth Elite plan. If you’re on a tighter budget, then the AXA eMedic plan may be better suited for you.

Daily hospital room and board limits from RM150 to As Charged

Similar to annual limits, both plans provide you with a range of coverage options for daily hospital room and board. AXA eMedic keeps it standard across the board—RM250 per night regardless of whether you choose the Plan 20, 50, or 100.

For ManuHealth Elite, however, gives you the option of RM150, RM200, RM250, or as charged (up to twice the rate of the hospital’s basic single room rate).

Of course, there is also no limit to how long you can stay at the hospital on both these plans.

Deductible and non-deductible options

Choosing between deductible options gives you further flexibility in your monthly premiums. If you opt for plans with a deductible option, this means that for any medical visit, you will have to pay out-of-pocket up to the deductible amount before the insurance kicks in. AXA eMedic has a RM1,000 deductible option while ManuHealth Elite has a RM500 and RM5,000 deductible option.

Should you or should you not opt for the deductible option? This is all based on your individual financial situation—if you know your cash cushion is enough to cover the deductible, then perhaps it might be worth paying lower premiums.

Again, only you can judge and decide, but having the option in the first place is what’s important.

Optional riders

For ManuHealth Elite, if you think their coverage is still insufficient, you can opt to get additional riders on top of your policy. This means for additional premiums, you can get added benefits such as cash payouts for each day spent in the hospital, and annual income payouts in the event of critical illnesses.

4. Comprehensive coverage including outpatient and pre-hospitalisation treatments

Some medical cards focus exclusively on covering only hospitalisation and surgery. If you are under one of those plans, it means that you and your family will not be covered unless hospitalisation is required.

If you want to get an MRI scan, they would have to justify hospitalising you in order to make an insurance claim. And even then, the claim might not be approved if the insurance provider deems the hospitalisation as ‘frivolous’.

This is highly limiting. Outpatient treatment is by no means cheap and an MRI scan can easily cost well over RM1,000. Paying monthly insurance premiums AND finding out you have to pay out-of-pocket for outpatient treatment and diagnostics can be a real shock.

That’s why both AXA eMedic and ManuHealth Elite cover outpatient treatment plus consultation and diagnostic procedures.

AXA eMedic covers these under the umbrella annual limit while ManuHealth Elite covers outpatient treatments for injuries on a per-injury basis with limits ranging from RM2,000 to RM3,500. Outpatient treatments for serious conditions like cancer, stroke, and dialysis are folded under a slightly lower annual limit ranging from RM800,000 to RM1.76 million.

5. Hassle-free and convenient application process

Let’s face it, no one likes filling out forms. Which is why both AXA eMedic and ManuHealth Elite make signing up for their plans as easy and hassle-free as possible.

AXA eMedic is well-suited for today’s digital age—everything can be done online and in less than five minutes. All you have to do is:

  1. Head over to their website
  2. Fill out some basic details
  3. Answer a few yes/no questions.

ManuHealth Elite is equally as simple with no health check-ups required. Take the first step towards applying for this medical plan by signing up here where an expert will help you with any queries you have.

Final Word

It’s your responsibility to make sure your family is protected.

It may be a hard reality to face, but it is guaranteed that at some point in your life, you or a beloved family member will suffer a serious medical condition needing serious treatment. When that time comes, it is your responsibility to ensure that you and your family is protected.

Don’t hesitate—get a medical plan for you and your family today.

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