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Expat Exchange - Understanding the Health System in Malaysia
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Understanding the Health System in Malaysia

By Betsy Burlingame

Universal Tax Professionals
Universal Tax Professionals

Summary: Familiarize yourself with the health system in Malaysia. Understand its usage options and constraints for those who choose to move to and reside there, including expats, digital nomads, and retirees.

Malaysia has a two-tiered healthcare system, consisting of public and private healthcare. Both systems provide quality healthcare, however, the public system is more affordable and is used by the majority of the population.

Malaysia's Public Healthcare System

Malaysia's public healthcare system is known as the Ministry of Health (MOH). It is funded by the government and provides free or low-cost healthcare to citizens and permanent residents. Foreigners (expats and digital nomads) are allowed to use the public healthcare system in Malaysia, however, they may be charged higher fees. Public hospitals are generally well-equipped and provide quality care, however, they may be overcrowded and have long waiting times. People generally recommend using public hospitals for minor medical issues, but for serious medical emergencies and major surgery, private hospitals are usually recommended.

Malaysia's Private Healthcare System

Malaysia's private healthcare system is made up of private hospitals and clinics. Private healthcare is more expensive than public healthcare, however, it is generally of a higher quality and has shorter waiting times. Expats primarily use private hospitals, as they are more likely to have English-speaking staff and provide a higher standard of care. People generally recommend using private hospitals for serious medical emergencies and major surgery. Private hospitals in Malaysia are well-equipped and provide quality care.

Malaysia's Top Hospitals

The following are some of the most well-known hospitals in Malaysia:

  • University Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) - Public hospital located in Kuala Lumpur
  • Gleneagles Kuala Lumpur - Private hospital located in Kuala Lumpur
  • Sunway Medical Centre - Private hospital located in Petaling Jaya
  • Island Hospital - Private hospital located in Penang
  • KPJ Damansara Specialist Hospital - Private hospital located in Petaling Jaya
  • Columbia Asia Hospital - Private hospital located in Cheras

Health Insurance Companies in Malaysia

The most popular private health insurers in Malaysia are AIA, Great Eastern, Prudential, and Allianz. These companies provide health insurance plans for individuals, families, and businesses. Expats and digital nomads typically use these companies, however, some may opt for specialized expat health insurance providers.

Insider Tips from Expats in Malaysia: How to Navigate the Health System

"Malaysia has a well-developed healthcare system, providing quality medical services to its citizens. The country has a network of public and private hospitals, clinics, and medical centers that offer a wide range of medical services, including general and specialist care, emergency services, and preventive health care. The government also provides subsidies for certain medical treatments, making them more affordable for citizens. Additionally, Malaysia has a number of highly trained medical professionals, including doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers, who are dedicated to providing quality care to patients," commented one member living in Malaysia.

"Excellent clinics with Providers trained internationally, many with US Board certification -- especially true at private hospitals and clinics," commented one expat living in Georgetown, Malaysia.

"Excellent clinics with Providers trained internationally, many with US Board certification--especially true at private hospitals and clinics," mentioned one expat living in Malaysia.

"Malaysia offers a wide range of healthcare services, including primary care, specialist care, and hospital services. The public healthcare system in Malaysia is generally of good quality and is accessible to both citizens and foreign residents. Expats in Malaysia can use the public healthcare system, but they may need to pay for some services. The public healthcare system is funded by the government and is free for citizens, although there may be charges for certain services. Expats in Malaysia can access the public healthcare system by registering with a local clinic or hospital. They may also be able to access private healthcare services, which are generally of a higher quality than the public system. Expats may need to pay for private healthcare services, but they may be able to claim some of the costs back through their insurance," said an expat in Malaysia.

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.


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