The government of Malaysia is making it easier for you to complete your family by allowing you to use Employees Provident Fund (EPF) for IVF. The cost of IVF keeps many people from trying for fertility treatments, but a little relief is on way as you can now fund IVF with EPF withdrawals.
Malaysian Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng made this announcement while presenting his Budget 2020 speech at the Dewan Rakyat, the lower house of Parliament on October 11.
“Today, the fertility rate in Malaysia has fallen alarmingly from 4.9 children per woman in the 1970s to 1.9 children per woman, which is below replacement level,” he said.
“Therefore, to assist couples seeking fertility treatment, EPF will introduce a new category of withdrawals, allowing for fertility treatment such as in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) procedure.”
Income tax cuts on IVF expense
The cost of IVF in Malaysia at a good clinic, starts from around RM18,000, which can cause financial strain to many couples. In further relief to Malaysian couples facing infertility, the Finance Minister also announced income tax relief of up to RM 6,000 for couples seeking IVF.
Until now this tax benefit was only applicable on expenses incurred on treatment of serious medical problems but it would now be would be extended to fertility treatments as well.
After taking over Putrajaya in May 2018, the Pakatan Harapan government is presenting its second budget—Budget 2020, on the theme of ‘Driving Growth and Equitable Outcomes towards Shared Prosperity.’
The FM also said that MySalam, which is a free health protection scheme that currently covers 36 critical illnesses, will be expanded to cover 45 diseases from the 1st of January in 2020.
Employees Provident Fund’s response
Responding to these developments through an announcement on its official website, the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) has said that Budget 2020 has been presented after considering the quickly changing demographics, our understanding of work and work environment, and also includes the matters of social well-being.
“The EPF is pleased some of the social concerns we have often raised have been heard by the Government and reflected in the budget with unique solutions to the unique issues pertaining to the well-being of Malaysians,” said EPF Chief Executive Officer Tunku Alizakri Alias .
EPF on withdrawals for IVF
The organization also noted that given the current trends of falling fertility rates and late pregnancies, the population of Malaysia is leaning towards the higher age, which in turn is going to cause employment and healthcare challenges.
Encouraging couples to have more children may help address this. But given the challenges in conceiving today, easy access to medical assistance is required. The high costs of IVF treatments keep some couples from seeking medical help and taking note of this, the EPF will create a new option under Account 2 for withdrawals for subfertility treatments.
“The EPF welcomes the opportunity to work closely with the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development and the Ministry of Health in the proper implementation of this proposal,” said Tunku Alizakri.
“We recognise that children have direct and indirect benefits for families. Therefore, the EPF is fully supportive, and will actively explore ways to balance the need between financial security and social well-being.”
Accordign to Alizakri the presented budget supports the provident fund’s mission of guaranteeing financial security in retirement.
“The various programmes related to the EPF are indeed a big responsibility. However, we take it as a privilege to be able to play our part in creating a better Malaysia. We will be working with the respective ministries and agencies to implement these programmes and will make announcements in due course on the details of the implementation,” he said.