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Malaysia Health Insurance


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Both geographically and culturally diverse, the mysteriously appealing country of Malaysia is located in Southeast Asia. It shares land based borders with Brunei, Indonesia and Thailand and is situated across a narrow causeway from Singapore. Kuala Lumpur is the country’s capital with over 1.4 million of Malaysia’s 29 million multicultural inhabitants (CIA, 2012) resident in the city. Approximately two thirds of Malaysia’s total land area of 328,657 square kilometers is covered by forest, which some believe to be around 130 million years old and home to a vast array of wildlife. The wildlife combined with the sea life around the coast of Malaysia accounts for around 20% of the world’s total animal species. Tourists can enjoy a diverse range of activities and contrasts; in Kuala Lumpur the modern skyscrapers are situated beside traditional wooden houses built on stilts. Outside the capital these contrasts continue with modern luxury hotels beside ancient reefs and forested hills rolling down to the coastline of warm, inviting sandy beaches. Year round travel is possible in Malaysia, although due to its geographic location it does experience a lively monsoon season, the most affected area being the exposed eastern coast. As a result many resorts and boat services in this part of the country close, however they resume business with enthusiasm when more settled weather eventuates. The humid, tropical climate averages approximately 30°C from April to October, a favoured time for visitors to the country. Bahasa Malaysian is the official language however English remains an active second language, along with indigenous dialects throughout. Islam is the official state religion and as such the majority of the population participates in traditional Islamic occasions such as the fasting month of Ramadan and the Islamic New year’s day Al-Hijra. The minority Chinese population celebrates Chinese New Year and the Christian population celebrates Christmas and Easter.

Malaysia Health Care and Insurance

Good healthcare is important in Malaysian society and the government invests a great deal into providing and improving healthcare provision, which is overseen by Malaysia’s Ministry of Health. Both a public universal healthcare system and a private system run in parallel delivering primary, secondary and tertiary care via hospitals, urban health centers, community clinics and mobile health units. There is a clear preference for private healthcare in Malaysia, with locals citing longer opening hours, shorter waiting times, walk-in consultations, well-equipped clinics and better opportunities to be treated by doctors, as reasons to bypass public facilities. To combat physicians moving into the private health sector at the end of their training, the Ministry of Health requires doctors to spend at least four years in the public sector before being allowed to practice privately. Despite an abundance of medical providers operating in the sector, private treatment is expensive and generally available to those with Malaysia health insurance. In addition to managing the healthcare system for the local populace, the Ministry of Health is also responsible for the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC), which is tasked with the promotion and development of the country as a destination for healthcare services, commonly known as medical tourism.

A number of challenges afflict the healthcare system, primarily as result of an aging population and an increase in the prevalence of chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and cancer. As overall healthcare is of a good standard, there is an expectation by Malay’s that the system will continually improve despite the rising costs associated with providing medical services and the burden of disease on the system. The capacity to provide some health-sector services is limited, with only partial services available for psychiatric and ambulatory care. Despite the Ministry of Health encouraging doctors from other countries to practice in Malaysia, there is still a shortage of medical personnel, particularly in senior positions, limiting certain types of treatments being available only in the larger cities. Another issue of concern is doctors supplementing their income through overprescribing of drugs to acquire additional commission.

The Ministry of Health has recognized the need for more choice and better access to services regardless of financial situations, proposing a focus on screening and education to detect health issues early and improve health outcomes of the populace. Initiatives such as delivering prescription medication via postal services, launched by the government in 2011 have resulted in improved access to services, especially for those with chronic stable illnesses. Although healthcare is considered to be of a good standard in Malaysia and estimated life expectancy has steadily climbed over recent decades, it is still comparatively low compared to other countries in the region at 71 years for males and 77 years for females (CIA, 2012). Those without Malaysia health insurance will require comprehensive coverage, even for brief visits to the country, to ensure private healthcare expenses are not burdensome and that medical evacuation or repatriation can be undertaken should a medical situation arise which requires such treatment.

Malaysia travel   Malaysia's medical insurance industry is a fast paced ever evolving market however our staff are experts and at your disposal.

Expatriates and Travelers in Malaysia

Malaysia Travel Insurance Concerns

There are a number of recommended vaccinations that should be administered prior to departing for Malaysia, which highlights the need for travelers and expatriates to visit a healthcare professional specializing in travel medicine. Diseases known to occur in the country and which have pre-exposure vaccinations available are: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Typhoid and for those visiting rural farms, Japanese Encephalitis. There is also a risk in certain areas of contracting malaria and dengue fever, the latter of which is prevalent in all regions. Travellers should therefore take precautions to avoid insect bites by using insect repellant and covering exposed skin. Travel advisories also warn of the risk of Leptospirosis, also known as Welis disease, which is caused by bacteria found in fresh water that has been contaminated by animal urine. It has caused several deaths in Malaysia since 2010. Bathing in rivers and swimming in waterfalls should be avoided to eliminate the risk of contracting the disease.

Malaysia is subject to its fair share of natural hazards. From October through to February the country experiences seasonal storms which can result in heavy flooding and landslides, and in turn, disruption to essential services. Forest fires are also a seasonal hazard, and advisories note that local media should be monitored for information such as weather warnings and the advice of local authorities followed. Malaysia’s expansive coastline of 4,675 kilometers attracts numerous visitors every year, however caution should be exercised at all times, especially when undertaking water activities. Advisories recommend using only reputable adventure tourism companies, especially when hiring equipment such as scuba diving gear, as not all operators follow the required safety regulations. Comprehensive health insurance, which provides cover for such activities, should be arranged in order to ensure the cost of treatment and/or hospitalization is covered in the event of injury or illness which requires medical attention.

There is a general threat of terrorist attacks across Southeast Asia, prompting advisories to recommend expatriates be on alert at all times, particularly if travelling in the state of Sabah, where there are indications of criminal groups planning attacks on foreigners. Care should also be taken if attempting to cross the border from Malaysia into Thailand, as there has been a resurgence of violence. Travel advisories recommend all but essential travel into this area. Violent crime against foreigners in Malaysia is rare however opportunist crimes such as bag snatching and pick pocketing is relatively common, advisories encourage individuals to remain aware of their surroundings and take care of personal belongings.

Malaysia Expat Health Insurance

Travelers and expatriates in Malaysia can expect a good standard of health care in the country’s private system which offers a wide range of medical services. However, there may still be a requirement for serious cases of illness or injury to be evacuated by air ambulance, which could prove extremely expensive. Travel advisories recommend those visiting Malaysia take out comprehensive insurance to cover such occurrences. International Medical Insurance can provide a free quotation for globally transferable policies which cover all your travel and medical needs, including emergency medical evacuation, repatriation, hospital and doctors’ fees and costs associated with maternity services. To ensure the cost of medical care in Malaysia does not result in financial burden, make contact with an International Medical Insurance consultant for a free quotation.