Health Insurance in Malaysia for Expats

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Malaysia’s perfect blend of cultural diversity, natural beauty, and vibrant cities makes it a popular destination for expats. Before moving to Malaysia, it is important to know how the country’s healthcare system works. 

Overview of Malaysia’s Healthcare System for Expats 

In 2011, Malaysia launched the Foreign Worker Hospitalization and Surgical Insurance Scheme, which requires all foreigners working in Malaysia to have health insurance. 

This may seem appealing, however, coverage is limited under this plan. Some treatments like dental and optical care are not accessible. Moreover, Malaysia’s public healthcare is not always reliable. Since government hospitals are often overcrowded, waiting times can be long. Additionally, if you are located in a rural area, coverage is very limited since there is a shortage of healthcare professionals. 

Medicines and Pharmacies

Malaysia has plenty of well-stocked pharmacies. As an expat, you may be surprised to realize that some medicines that require a prescription in your home country can be bought in Malaysia without a prescription. 

Even though medicines tend to be inexpensive in Malaysia, it is advisable that you stock up the essential medicines you need, along with the prescriptions that may be required during your trip. Ideally, you should also know the generic names of medicines you use often since brand names are different from country to country. 

Emergency Services

Ambulance services are not a problem for expats in Malaysia, since emergency care is very efficient. Malaysia’s emergency number is 999, and the majority of individuals working on this line can speak English. You can find reliable emergency services in most urban areas, but if you are in a rural or remote area, you may have to find another way to reach a hospital. 

Reasons to Have Expat Private Medical Insurance in Malaysia 

Given the unreliability of Malaysia’s public healthcare system, having private medical insurance will give you peace of mind. You would not only have wider coverage, but also access to faster and more reliable services. 

Moreover, in cases of serious medical emergencies, costs can quickly add up. Choosing a separate insurance provider will keep you protected from these potential costs. 

Needless to say, if you are not employed in Malaysia or you are retiring soon, health insurance is even more crucial. 

Benefits of Expat Health Insurance in Malaysia

  • Speed – avoid any long waiting lists on the Malaysian national healthcare system
  • Choice – with expat health insurance, you can choose which private hospital or facility you are treated in
  • Quality – being able to choose which consultant or surgeon supports you is a great way to ensure you are receiving the best treatment available
  • Maternity – most expats prefer to give birth to their children in private hospitals in Malaysia, so make sure you have the best expat health insurance coverage

COVID-19 Coverage

Most health insurance plans, local or international, cover COVID-19 as long as you’re not COVID-19 positive at the time you buy it. However, this may change in the future depending on how the pandemic develops in Malaysia. 

If this is something of importance to you, it’s advisable to get a written confirmation from your broker before making an insurance purchase. 

Takaful – Local Insurance Option in Malaysia

If you have decided to opt for private health insurance in Malaysia, Takaful is an option to be considered. 

Takaful is an Islamic insurance option that exists as an alternative to conventional insurance. The core difference between Takaful and other kinds of insurance is that Takaful abides by Islamic laws and is designed in order to avoid restrictions such as gambling and uncertainty. 

Conventional insurance involves gambling and uncertainty in the sense that it is not known whether the amount paid by the policyholder will become a profit for the insurance company or be used in the case of an insured event. 

Takaful, on the other hand, involves a mutual fund between all policyholders. If claims are made, they are taken out of the Takaful fund. Any remaining profit still remains to the policyholders, rather than the company shareholders. 

Despite being Islamic, it is available to individuals of all religions and can be bought from many companies in Malaysia. 

It’s important to note that Takaful has some shortcomings. The models used in Malaysia aren’t strictly regulated, and the profit-sharing among operators is not clear.

Private Insurance Options in Malaysia

Now that you know about the healthcare system in Malaysia, including local health insurance options and the benefits of private medical insurance, it’s time to compare your options. At you can compare different plans based on your needs, for free – instantly!

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