Malaysia: world class healthcare in the heart of Asia

Malaysia is attracting foreign talent from across the world, particularly those working in the manufacturing, IT, finance, and insurance and banking sectors. For those arriving in Malaysia for the first time, any notion that its medical services are below par will be in for a surprise. The country’s private healthcare system is of a very high standard, so much so, that the country has now become a centre for medical tourism for those seeking medical and cosmetic surgery abroad. That said, expatriates must take out comprehensive healthcare cover before arriving, as it is a prerequisite for a working visa. For everyone travelling to live and work in Malaysia, before arriving in the country, you must make sure you are immunised against Hepatitis A and B, typhoid, yellow fever and Japanese Encephalitis, particularly if you will be living or travelling to rural areas. Being aware of the types of locations you will be required to work in or visit is an essential part of choosing the right healthcare policy. Most of Malaysia’s healthcare clinics are to be found in its main cities such as Kuala Lumpar. As the country is vast – by area, it is larger than New Mexico, with a total border length of over 4,500 miles – for those living in remote areas and villages, finding a doctor or basic medical assistance can be hard and time consuming.

Those needing to work in remote areas, for example in natural resource industries, may easily find themselves in jungle areas. In such circumstances, it is vital your international health insurance policy covers you for emergency evacuation. If you are up country, it is highly likely that you will need to be picked up by air ambulance to ensure you’re delivered to an approved hospital for the best possible care as quickly as possible. Many expats arriving in the country may be included within their company scheme, but for specialist independent and sub-contractors or those working together in the charity and voluntary sectors, you may have to fund your own insurance. As well as the basics such as GP visits and emergency dental cover, if your family are accompanying you, make sure your policy extends to cover the range of services you might need, from maternity care to children’s’ vaccinations. Unfortunately, emergency care is not provided for non-Malaysians, so it’s important to make sure you’re not caught out.

With over 30 years’ experience of supporting the international business community worldwide and clients from 86 nationalities in 121 countries, April International UK  is a major provider of health insurance for expats across the world. It is well qualified to comment on local healthcare needs and Debbie Purser, CEO of April International UK advises, “ Malaysia offers excellent healthcare for those living and working there who are adequately insured. The standards of diagnosis and treatment in the larger centres are world class, however the position in some of the remoter areas is more complex and costs can be high. We have treated clients who demonstrated apparently mundane symptoms, a trapped nerve, chest pains breathing difficulties, for example. In each of these cases, the medical bill ran into many thousands of pounds and in the case of the client with trapped nerve, the fees exceeded £30,000. You should therefore always remember to read your policy carefully to ensure you are covered for likely eventualities, including evacuation cover, which is often needed in a country such as Malaysia. If you have your family with you and they are not covered through your main employment contract, you can still obtain high quality protection by taking out top up cover.”