Salam in English means peace.
Commonly used as a simple greeting among Muslims, the full phrase – Assalamualaikum would mean – peace be upon you.
And in peace comes health, the only thing money can’t buy.
While not exactly a service to sell, Finance Minister, Lim Guan Eng together with Health Minister, Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad has recently launched a new and improved expansion program on mySalam, a health service created to help the rakyat.
The cost of good health at this day and age is something of a luxury and it’s nothing new to hear tales of a struggle by the sick and the poor, the intended target for this program. Both ministries, however, have recently decided to expand this peace offering to cover nine more critical diseases (from 36 to 45), to increase the age limit to 65 (previously 55) and to take the M40 group into consideration, the urban poor.
Since most of us in the editorial team is nowhere near 55 (except for one) and we’re not exactly in the lower income group (although we may live like one), what strikes us most is the M40 coverage expansion. The hardest-hit group.
mySalam in Short
If you’re not in the know, mySalam is a public healthcare protection scheme introduced in 2019 as one of the earliest initiatives by the new administration. In simpler terms, it’s an insurance protection program (operated by Great Eastern Takaful) to cover your behind when you fall sick.
Previously only offered to BSH recipients (ex-BR1M), the program only covers 36 critical illnesses. You get RM8,000 as a one-off compensation if you strike an illness from the list. Also if you’re warded, you’ll get RM50 a day up to 14 days.
Keyword: Critical illness. If you catch a common cold, you’re on your own.
So far, 4.3 million individuals have benefited from the pilot program with a total of 9,663 individuals receiving RM13.7 million for critical illness and hospital allowance.
The Middle Income Dilemma
The thing about government aid programs especially in the last 10 years is that the middle-income group is always left alone to fend for itself. Despite contributing to a big chunk of tax, we’re not given much choice when it comes to government handouts and assistance.
If easy categorisation of income group is used, the M40 unlucky few would get usually get the bitter end of any bargain with the logistical factor being one of the reason.
Imagine this, you’re M40 but since you’re staying in Damansara, the cost of your livelihood is three times more than say, someone living in Dungun even though you both fall in the same income sector.
Why? Because a glass of Teh Tarik in Dungun is still RM0.80 while the one you’re having in Damansara is RM1.80 yet you both earn exactly the same.
And while healthcare cost in government hospitals is the same, having had less earning to spare, the urban poor M40 group may very well have the best benefit from this new expansion program.
According to the Ministry of Finance, this sector alone would benefit 5 million Malaysians. 5 million babes and blokes like you who are struggling to reach the end of the month and now Putrajaya is finally noticing your struggles.
Specifically, as most companies provide some sense of medical coverage, this will benefit more for those who are not salaried and not covered in any way like Grab drivers and small business owners, especially when your illness prohibits you from working and earning.
So How Do I Salam?
Usually, you say it before you shake hands. And you don’t shake hands with the opposite sex.
Okay, in all seriousness, to sign up, click HERE and register. Make sure you have a scanned copy of your NRIC because you need to upload it to prove you’re not a monkey or a foreign freeloader.
To be specific, the only eligible earning group that qualifies mySalam is those who earn below RM100,000 annually. Forget the calculator, we did the math for you.
So if your payslip says you earn RM8,300 (or less), congratulations, you’re Salam-ed.
There’s also an app to make it easier for you to file your claims, check your status, download critical illness forms, read FAQ and more. Search – mySalam National Health Protection Scheme from Play Store.
For iPhone users, somehow this app is not available.
And to step up their game, the team is also working hard to go on-ground to 150 government hospitals to spread knowledge and awareness on the program.
Keep in mind that the registration (for the M40 group) for those not eligible for BSH will end March 31, 2020, and for those who have registered, Putrajaya will send you an SMS starting from 1st March to let you know if you’re in, or out.
For those who are keen to know their registration status, besides waiting for the SMS, you may also send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call them at 1 300 888 938. That’s why the app is the easiest method, and that’s why we’re sorry for iPhone users.
Let’s Talk Numbers
RM2 billion budget has been raised for this program to cover the medical compensation for both the B40 and M40 group that will benefit 8 million Malaysians. Some may say that this is not enough but according to Lim Guan Eng, the amount is actually more than enough, based on the success of this program in 2019.
For the B40 group, you may claim RM8,000 one-off and additional RM50 a day if you’re warded, up to 14 days.
For the M40 group (which had no help previously), the one-off is set at RM4,000 and the hospitalisation remains the same.
Can I Salam My Corona?
So the big question is, will this program cover the new virus strain, Coronavirus or COVID-19?
The answer is yes. It has been added into the list of 45 critical illnesses and the same coverage method and compensation applies. You may check the list HERE.
A Peaceful Budget
Some are still arguing over last year’s budget announcement. Some may agree on some parts and disagree on another while some may just bicker on an endless note.
To us, initiatives like these is the kind you want to say yes to. Because why not?
Besides the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health is also one of the biggest recipients of Belanjawan 2020 in the government’s bold decision to take health (and education) seriously.
Editor’s Note (19/3/2020):
Since the country is on a clampdown and resources are limited, go and try these HOME REMEDIES if you’re feeling under the weather. BUT if you think you have the COVID-10 symptoms, go to the nearest hospital please.