PETALING JAYA, April 15 ― Foreigners from 38 countries owe Hospital Kuala Lumpur (HKL) RM7.87 million in unpaid medical bills from 2012, according to a news report.
According to The Star, the largest public hospital in the country recorded RM3 million in unpaid bills by foreigners in 2016.
HKL said, this figure was part of RM50.5 million in unpaid medical bills at all government hospitals last year.
HKL also revealed that from from 2016 to 2016, the top five foreign nationals who had consistently defaulted in settling their medical bills with the hospital were from Indonesia, followed by Myanmar, Bangladesh, India and Nepal.
The hospital cited among the many reasons for non-payment were that the patient did not have any next of kin, was not working, was self-employed or did not have an employer.
In a reply to questions from The Star, HKL said, “We try our best to collect and we also send a letter to the respective embassies to get the debts settled. But only 5 per cent to 10 per cent of the unpaid medical bills are collected.”
Meanwhile, the Health Ministry revealed that the RM50.5 million in unpaid bills last year had prompted the authorities to demand that foreigners pay a much higher deposit when seeking treatment at government hospitals.
Health Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Dr Chen Chaw Min said 1.36 million foreign patients visited government hospitals in 2016 with a total treatment cost of RM269.89 million, and 23,595 of them could not pay off RM50.5 million.
Last Saturday, the English daily reported that foreign residents now have to fork out 130 per cent to 230 per cent more in deposits for wards and surgery in a move to reduce medical subsidy for non-citizens.
Dr Chen said his ministry strived to provide the best health services to the public, regardless of nationality and on a sustainable basis.