Sunday, December 19, 2010

Make sure employers pay for new medical insurance for migrant workers

The idea of having medical insurance for workers is a good idea, as presently the Workmen's Compensation Act only deals with death and injuries arising from accidents, and occupational related diseases - but not other diseases.

The Workmen's Compensation (Foreign Workers' Compensation Scheme) (Insurance) Order 1998, extends coverage to personal injury(and death) that is sustained in an accident which occurs outside the working hours of the workman.

There is, however, no insurance that covers other diseases and ailments - though in normal employment law, the employer is liable to pay for the treatment. So, really there will be nothing wrong if the employers get their workers medical insurance. Employers should be made to pay for these insurance, and not the workers.

The government states that there is an outstanding unpaid foreign workers’ medical bills in public hospitals, which to date total RM18mil - but, I really do wonder whether this is correct. Could it just be outstanding bills of foreigners generally, and not that of the documented migrant workers only? Should not employers have been settling their worker's medical bills - or the already existing insurances and the Workmen's Compensation? Really, there must be a disclosure as to whose bills are these...

Compulsory medical insurance policies for foreign workers from next year

Source : TheStar Online (, Nov 26, 2010

PUTRAJAYA: All foreign workers employed in Malaysia, except for domestic maids, must have medical insurance coverage under a government ruling effective Jan 1.

The move is to ensure that foreign workers’ medical bills in public hospitals, which to date total RM18mil, will not be a burden to the Government.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said each worker must have medical insurance coverage with an annual premium of RM120.

“The Government has incurred costs because some foreigners who sought treatment at public hospitals left without settling their bills or were only able to make partial payment.

“With medical insurance coverage, we hope this problem can be overcome,” he told reporters after opening the ministry’s management conference here yesterday.

Liow said employers hiring new foreign workers would have to enclose a copy of the medical insurance policy for their prospective employees when applying for a work permit.

For existing foreign workers, employers would have to submit a copy of the insurance policy when renewing their work permits, said Liow.

“The insurance coverage for foreign workers is part of my ministry’s six Entry Points Projects (EPP).

“The other two EPP which we have rolled out are establishing a suitable system to support research development and to further boost health tourism,” he added.

Liow said the ministry’s three other EPP – to explore generic medicine export opportunities, establish a nexus for diagnostic services and develop a health metropolis – were in the planning stages.

However, the question of who would pay the medical insurance premium – employers or their workers – had yet to be settled.

In an immediate reaction, the Malaysian Employers Federation voiced its concern about the insurance coverage to be borne by the 1.5 million foreign workers in the construction, services and manufacturing sectors.

“The bills incurred at government hospitals are not that high.

“Why does the coverage need to be high?” said its executive director Shamsuddin Bardan.

The federation, he added, had proposed for the coverage to start from RM50,000, rather than RM100,000, for each worker.

He said the Government had appointed 31 insurance companies to provide compensation coverage for foreign workers.

Shamsuddin added that more than 200,000 employers would be assisting foreign workers in ensuring that the companies extend the coverage to medical.

“The coverage is for all illnesses suffered by foreign workers while working, including critical illnesses,” he said. - Source: Immigration Department Website