Insufficient cover provided by employers
Since 2011, the Malaysian government have implemented the Foreign Worker Hospitalization and Surgical Insurance Scheme (FWHS). The scheme was introduced in order to ‘reduce the financial burden of the employer of foreign workers’ in the country.
Essentially, this means that if you are an expat working in Malaysia then it is more than likely that you will be provided with some form of health insurance from your employer. The extent of the FWHS cover, however, is fairly limited.
The following is a non-exhaustive list of some vital services that are not included under the scheme:
- Dental treatment and oral surgery
- Pregnancy or miscarriage
- Cardiovascular diseases and all cancers occurring within the first 120 days of being insured
- Suicide or self-inflicted injuries
It is therefore highly recommended that you opt for supplementary insurance to ensure you have all the protection you require after you make the move to Malaysia. If you need more information on what is available, a company like Cigna may be a good option, as they can provide comprehensive international health insurance plans in English.
Public vs. private
The public healthcare system in Malaysia is funded through compulsory contributions by working residents. It is universally available to all legal Malaysian citizens. Although quality of care is still high, over recent years the public system has become more and more overcrowded.
The dramatic population growth in the country, alongside an equally increasing ageing population, has been putting a strain on the system. This has resulted in a decrease in the patient-doctor ratio, and consequently resulted in overcrowding.
Meanwhile, the private health sector has a much higher patient-doctor ratio. This is because more doctors are opting to work in private institutions, primarily due to better pay and benefits. This means considerably shorter waiting times for patients.
Why Malaysian healthcare is ranked so highly
Malaysia has been ranked as one of the top global destinations for healthcare on a number of occasions. This is primarily due to the exceptional facilities available in the country, as well as a very high quality of care.
For expats, a huge drawing factor is that you can almost be guaranteed that your doctor will speak a good level of English. This is because most Malaysian doctors have been trained in Western Universities, primarily either in the US, the UK or Australia. This is one of the primary reasons why Malaysia is a top destination for medical tourism, in fact during 2016 the country had 1 million medical tourist visits from people all over the globe.