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5 things that expats should know about healthcare in Malaysia

This post is brought to you in part by Cigna Global.

With a bustling capital city, great geographic location, stunning beaches and encouraging climate, Malaysia is a popular destination for expats – indeed, International Living has named it the #5 best place in the world to retire (and #1 in Asia). But what does the country have to offer in terms of healthcare?

scientists working at the laboratory.

Here are the 5 important things you need to know about healthcare whilst living as an expat in Malaysia.

1. Healthcare in Malaysia is world-class

The quality and standard of medical care in Malaysia ranked highly, with really good facilities and highly trained medical professionals. Internationally trained doctors who speak English are readily available, especially in major cities like the capital Kuala Lumpur. However, healthcare facilities and professionals are considerably more limited in rural areas of the country.

The standard of medical care has positioned Malaysia as a medical tourism destination, and the country strives to further establish this by offering affordable healthcare coverage to both nationals and expats living in the country.

2. There is no national health scheme

The country doesn’t have a national health insurance scheme in place, but the Malaysian government provides healthcare to its citizens at subsidised rates, and introduced the Foreign Worker Hospitalisation and Surgical Insurance Scheme to make it compulsory for foreign employees in Malaysia to have medical insurance. Through this scheme, employers are expected to make contributions to allow their foreign employees to pay fixed amounts for medical treatment at government hospitals.

Healthcare in Malaysia is funded by the government, employers and individuals, and it is operated by state-owned services that can be complemented with private healthcare. Expats in Malaysia generally benefit from a wide range of public and private hospitals and medical facilities offering quality service at reasonable prices.

Asian girl and her mother visiting office of pediatrician

3. There are no reciprocal health agreements

In spite of its top-quality range of private and public health care services, Malaysia does not have any reciprocal health care agreements in place with other countries. Because foreign nationals can’t benefit from any reciprocal agreement with their home countries, it is essential to ensure coverage for medical treatment with public health care or with a private insurance company.

International health care plans are particularly valuable for expats who travel on a regular basis and require coverage in different countries.

4. You get what you pay for

Medical treatment and doctors’ consultations in public hospitals are relatively inexpensive, and the standards are high, but the shortcomings of the public health care system can include overcrowded hospitals and long waiting lists. Although expats have access to public hospitals, many still choose to use private facilities at a higher cost to benefit from shorter waiting times and a more efficient service.

There are a plethora of private clinics available in every city, some of which are open 24 hours a day and provide a comprehensive range of services including outpatient care, screenings, vaccinations, diagnostics and medication.

5. International insurance is a common choice for expats

Most employers offer only a limited insurance plan – a reason why expats often consider taking up an international health policy to gain comprehensive coverage and access to the better health care services in Malaysia.

There are many international health insurance companies in Malaysia with a variety of packages for expats. Benefits vary from supplier to supplier, but some include unlimited annual benefit limits, inpatient care, day-patient care, cancer care, and maternity care.

One option for insurance

Cigna Global have created a products suite specifically designed for expats. Their plans can be tailored exactly to the needs of you and your family, with the flexibility to choose from three distinct levels of cover, and five optional additional benefits, including outpatient care, medical evacuation, and vision and dental care.

Full cancer care is included as standard in Cigna Global plans, and their top two levels of cover include maternity cover. To find out more or get a quote, visit

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