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Expat Life

Getting A Health Insurance In Malaysia? Here’s An Expat’s Guide

Getting A Health Insurance Malaysia? Here’s An Expat's Guide
Getting A Health Insurance Malaysia? Here’s An Expat's Guide
Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

With its unique blend of a rapidly developing economy, stunning beaches, vibrant cities, a rich mix of Malay, Chinese, Indian and European culture, it’s no wonder that Malaysia is a popular choice for expats. If you are considering relocating to Malaysia for work or education, one of the most important things to concern yourself with is health insurance coverage. As an expat, it is imperative that you know about the healthcare plans available for expats. Here are some crucial points you need to know about healthcare services and health insurance plans for expats in Malaysia before going for a plan:

1. Public Vs Private Healthcare System In Malaysia

While Malaysia does not have a national health service as such, it does have a system in place to subsidise rates for medical treatment. The public healthcare is governed by the Ministry of Health and is funded jointly by the state, employers, and residents. In Malaysia, medical services can be availed at public as well as private hospitals and clinics. Since public healthcare is cheap, hospitals are often overcrowded. Access to the public healthcare system is only for Malaysian nationals, and currently, the government does not hold a reciprocal healthcare policy with other countries. Private healthcare, on the other hand, is expensive, and as one would expect, boasts of some of the best facilities offering individual attention to patients.

2. Cost Of Healthcare For Expats In Malaysia

As an expat in Malaysia, you have access to high-quality medical treatment that’s at par with developed countries. However, the medical costs are much higher for expats in Malaysia as there is no plan for expats. For example, admission charges in case of a surgery is MYR 30 for residents and for foreigners it can be as high as MYR 1100. For maternity cases, residents are charged MYR 15 while expats are charged MYR 800.

3. Exceptions To The Rule

According to the Ministry of Health, Malaysia, getting treated at government hospitals and clinics can be beneficial for a certain section of residents, who can get either get their medical expenses waived off or reduced considerably.

  • Those earning less than MYR 300 per month
  • Possessors of Social Welfare or National Islamic Council cards
  • Persons with disability
  • Government servants
  • Students

For receiving the benefit, individuals are required to either show their Social Welfare card, their Pension Card or a letter from a school or a government body guaranteeing their eligibility. Expats who stay in Malaysia for 182 days or more on a yearly basis and fulfill any of the above conditions can also take advantage of the subsidy.

4. Tele Primary Care

As an expat, staying away from urban districts limits your access to good clinics. To bridge this gap, the Malaysian government has started a new system of teleconsultation to provide faster medical services to residents as well as expats who reside in rural areas and are deprived of specialised facilities. Using information technology, the medical records of the patients are stored and shared so as to reduce costs and time for both patients as well as doctors. Teleconsultations take place between doctors in the isolated location with doctors in other hospitals for better access to treatment and information.

5. Hospitalization and Surgical Insurance Scheme For Expats In Malaysia

In 2011, the Malaysian government introduced a Foreign Worker Hospitalization and Surgical Insurance Scheme making it compulsory for foreign workers in Malaysia to have medical insurance, but the benefits of this scheme for long-term expats is limited. Expats are expected to bear the costs for the medical insurance coverage, which ensures them a fixed amount for medical care each year in government hospitals. The scheme covers a number of insurance providers for expats to choose from.

While medical insurance is usually provided by employers, you may need your own additional health insurance to provide better coverage. A good health insurance plan should cover common ailments, doctor’s consultations, hospital fees, and prescription medication. In absence of a public healthcare insurance plan for expats in Malaysia, it’s best to go for a private international coverage. Buying an international health insurance plan will ensure more flexible services, a high level of coverage (over one million USD in some cases), easy renewability, and enforced regulations with regards to exclusions and pre-existing conditions.

6. Health Insurance For Expats In Malaysia

Since public healthcare is provided at discounted rates only to residents, rates for expats have been going through the roof lately. It makes absolute sense for them to take private cover so that they can get themselves and their family protected, should the need arise. Insurance providers offer a number of policies that vary according to the services covered by them.

  • Health Card: This is a basic policy that covers hospitalization and provides an allowance for treatment in hospitals mentioned in the policy.
  • Insurance For Critical Illness: This policy provides a lump sum for treatment.
  • Disability Insurance: Meant for handicapped individuals, this policy aims to provide a series of incomes.  
  • Insurance For Income In Hospitals: It provides a fixed amount of money to a patient when he is being treated in a particular hospital.

Apart from the above, there are other policies that cover various diseases and treatments. A combination of the policies that best suit you and your family should be purchased, which fully cover all possible health conditions.

In case, you are planning to move to Malaysia, you now have the advantage to plan ahead and purchase a suitable insurance plan in advance. Research well and choose a plan that takes care of all your medical needs in Malaysia. Expatriates, today, have the advantage of remitting money to the accounts of policy providers in Malaysia from almost any part of the world, thanks to online remittance providers like InstaReM.

If you are planning to shift base to Malaysia, use this information to your advantage and save money on medical costs.

Source: Ministry of Health, Government of Malaysia.