By Zaphne Philip
KUCHING: When the mySalam national health protection scheme was first introduced last year, it had no meaning for Steffanie Ronald, 33, as it was only opened to the lower-income or B40 group.
Now however, Steffanie, a secretary in a private firm here, can heave a sigh of relief as the scheme has been extended to the middle-income or M40 group.
“When it was first implemented last year, it did not catch my attention but after it was extended to the M40 group, I was definitely happy because now I am eligible for the scheme,” she told Bernama here.
Steffanie said paying the premium for health insurance used to be a monthly burden as she was caught in between as the group not eligible for the aid given to the B40 group, but yet she was also not in the high-income T20 group.
“I feel the government’s decision to extend this scheme is a smart move to lighten the burden of people in the M40 group like me who are affected by the rising cost of living,” she said.
In the case of Zenoil Nunok, having health insurance was something he could only dream off as the payments were too high for him on his salary of a sales assistant.
“I am grateful that the current government understands what people like me face and introduced MySalam which has realised my dream,” he said.
Initially, the mySalam was limited to the B40 group aged 55 years and below, but after the government extended it to 65 years, Zenoil said it would benefit more people who could not afford protection before.
“Medical costs are not cheap, especially for retirees with low income and health issues. This (increasing the age limit) shows that the government knows who needs help with medical coverage,” he said.
Legal clerk Nurliza Chia, 43, said the rising cost of living had not only affected the B40 group but also those in the M40 group who have to be stringent in their spending.
She said the government’s decision to extend the mySalam Scheme to the M40 earning RM100,000 and less shows its awareness of the hardship faced by this group who need to be helped.
“The benefits in the scheme are important to the M40 group as we also work but are not in the high-income group. In times of sickness and when we can no longer work, at least this scheme can help lighten our burden,” she said. – Bernama