Reform towards National Health Insurance in Malaysia: The equity implications

Chai Ping Yu, David K. Whynes, Tracey H. Sach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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OBJECTIVE: This paper assesses the potential equity impact of Malaysia's projected reform of its current tax financed system towards National Health Insurance (NHI). METHODS: The Kakwani's progressivity index was used to assess the equity consequences of the new NHI system (with flat rate NHI scheme) compared to the current tax financed system. It was also used to model a proposed system (with a progressive NHI scheme) that can generate the same amount of funding more equitably. RESULTS: The new NHI system would be less equitable than the current tax financed system, as evident from the reduction of Kakwani's index to 0.168 from 0.217. The new flat rate NHI scheme, if implemented, would reduce the progressivity of the health finance system because it is a less progressive finance source than that of general government revenue. We proposed a system with a progressive NHI scheme that generates the same amount of funding whilst preserving the equity at the Kakwani's progressivity index of 0.213. CONCLUSIONS: A NHI system with a progressive NHI scheme is proposed to be implemented to raise health funding whilst preserving the equity in health care financing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)256-263
Number of pages8
JournalHealth Policy
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - May 2011

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