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1.1 Research Background

The purpose of this study is to identify the awareness of public health insurance which also known as Social Security Organization (SOCSO) provided by Malaysia’s government to all the employees and employers whose working in Malaysia.

In current economic situation, it will bring to lower or middle-level income family bear a heavy burden of surgery fees if they do not have a private health insurance or not enough cash to cover all the surgery cost. SOCSO health screening program had established in year 2013 by Malaysia’s prime minister to benefits for employees or employers who are working in Malaysia (SOCSO Health Screening Programme, n.d). It’s provided the social security protections such as health insurance in cancer, disease and diabetes to all workers who attain at age 40 in Malaysia. To active this benefit, employers or employees must work for 1 year after they registered.

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Choudhary, Goswami, Khambhati, Shah, Makwana and Yadav (2013) stated that health insurance rapidly becoming an important mechanism for the fund of the health care needs of the people because it can transfer risk of unexpected cost when a person are falling ill or need a huge amount of money to cover all the heavy hospitalization and surgery fees.

Figure 1.0: SOCSO Contributors Undergone Health Examination at Health Screening Programme (HSP) Panel Clinics whose age 40 years old and above

Source: PERKESO Annual Report from year 2013 to 2015

Based on the annual report publish by PERKESO, there are total 2.17 million vouchers distributed to the public between year 2013 to 2015. The figure 1.0 shown that number of SOCSO contributors in year 2014 were decreased to 126,070 from 260,703 in year 2013. However, the number of SOCSO contributors in year 2015 who undergone the examination were rapidly increased to 446,813. There is an extra one benefit for women to examine the mammogram which is an x-ray to check women’s breast cancer and this benefit has been undergone by 141,093 women in year 2015. In the same year, government has spent around RM 4.67 million in this health screening program.

Employees or Employers Age 40 and above

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Furthermore, not all the people will purchase a health insurance because it is expensive for some people especially for those low income level employees or families, therefore, government are playing a critical role for helping them with lower down the costs of healthcare (Si, Chen and Palmer, 2017). Furthermore, premiums of the health insurance are increasing year-by-year due to rising in health costs and also it will become large and growing costs for a company. Some organizations might cut down the costs by reducing the amount of health insurance to their workers, it will lead to lower down the healthcare payment claiming for their workers.

Around the world, for those low-income families or who lives in rural area they are not familiar about health insurance. In Malaysia, SOCSO Institution was provided free health care for all workers above 40 years old because it is one of the public service open register for all the employees and employers to assist them when they are suffer permanent injury or during tragedy strikes period. Also, it provided physical and occupational rehabilitation benefits such as dialysis treatment, occupational therapy and reconstructive surgery (Social Security Organization, n.d).

Thus, SOCSO Institution is playing an important role for Malaysia’s workers to let them aware about their own occupation safety and health.

1.2 Problem Statement

Recently, many researchers are done the research about the level of awareness toward the health insurance and found out which factors are influenced the awareness in the public. In Malaysia, government was distributed 2.17 million vouchers to the public for the free health screening program but there are only a total of 833,586 workers claimed these benefits. According to Choudhary et al., (2013), health insurance is an unknown word for those people live in the rural areas.

They might be aware the health insurance but some people did not know how insurance can bring advantages for them due to lack of information and low awareness regarding about the health insurance (Panchal, 2013). Similarly, they did

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not have sufficient knowledge about the health insurance to manage their health risk and transfer the financial risk by removing their financial barriers (Choudhary et al., 2013; Panchal, 2014).

Additionally, Priya and Srinivasan (2015) stated that private health insurance had been grow rapidly instead of government subsidiary on health benefits, although most of the citizen is aware on their own health. It is because private insurance sector is more attractive and provides better services compare to public basis. For example, medical check-up plan provided by private insurance sector, able to fulfil the needs of citizen and also able to coverage those citizen with lower income level.

According to Tenkorang (2016), public health insurance are inefficient in health delivery system, this is the reason that why people choose private health insurance rather than choose public health insurance provided by government. It will lead to people will has a bad impression about the period of claiming the payment in the public health insurances provided by government.

From the data collection, there are around 2.17 million of voucher had distributed by SOCSO Institution from year 2013 to 2015 reported in Annual Report of PERKESO. Figure 1.1 below shows that there are a portion of employees whose age of 40 years old and above had undergone the examination of HSP.

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Figure 1.1: The overall number of employees’ undergone examination of Health Screening Program (HSP) provided by SOCSO from year 2013 to 2015

Source: PERKESO Annual Report year 2015