Going To Malaysia For Medical Services


Going To Malaysia For Medical Services

There are numerous reasons why patients may consider seeking medical services in Malaysia. In this article, we delve into the reasons.

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Why You May Consider Going To Malaysia For Medical Services

If you are seeking quality healthcare in Asia at lower costs, Malaysia is a destination you may consider. Malaysia offers modern medical facilities, internationally accredited hospitals, and a reputation for providing quality healthcare services without breaking the bank.

The differentials in the cost of medical treatment in Singapore and between other countries in Southeast Asia may be due to a number of factors. Possible causes include macro-economic factors such as the overall cost of living within each country. Other considerations include the quality of healthcare services, as well as the ability of the healthcare industry (including “big pharma” and clinics and hospitals) to impose different pricing on different segments of customers.

Affordable Health Screening Johor Bahru

Differentials In The Cost Of Medical Treatment In Singapore And Southeast Asia

Differences in prices for medical services between countries in Southeast Asia, including Singapore, can be substantial. For instance, medical checkups in Thailand may on average cost half as much as in Singapore, according to Healthcare Asia Magazine.  Examples of pricing differentials found by other surveys include average chemotherapy costs – Malaysia (S$300 per cycle); Singapore (S$3,300 per cycle), and Indonesia (S$260).

While it is obvious to observers that there are differences in prices for the same procedure between countries and even between hospitals, it may surprise some people to learn that even within the same hospital or clinic, it is possible for people to be charged differently for the same treatment (not taking into account factors such as eligibility for government subsidies).

Price Discrimination In The Healthcare Industry

As mentioned, one reason for differences in the cost of medical treatment in Singapore and other countries in Southeast Asia is due to the practice of imposing different prices on different segments of customers. In economics, this practice is known as “third-degree price discrimination”.

In its Working Paper International Trade and Determinants of Price Differentials of Insulin Medicine, the Asian Development Bank Institute states that:

“(Prior) empirical studies on pharmaceuticals pricing across countries have found evidence that prices vary according to per capita income.”
“…… we study the international trade and price of insulin by using detailed trade data for 186 importing countries from 1995 to 2013…… corroborating earlier studies, we find that per capita GDP is positively correlated with the unit price of insulin.”

In other words, pharmaceutical companies charge higher-income countries like Singapore more for drugs and medicines. Indeed, one of the strategies implemented by the Singapore Ministry of Health to lower the cost of cancer treatment in Singapore was the implementation in 2022 of the policy that patients may claim against MediShield Life and Integrated Shield Plans only for drugs under an approved Cancer Drug List. To qualify to be placed in the list, drugs must be deemed to be medically and cost effective by the health authorities. The intention is to force pharmaceutical companies to sell the drugs to Singapore at a lower cost so as to qualify for being considered as “cost effective”. According to a recent statement by the Ministry of Health, Singapore has been able to negotiate “an average cost reduction of 30 per cent, and over 60 per cent for some drugs” as a result of this strategy.

Some form of price discrimination may also occur within individual private hospitals or clinics. These clinics may for instance offer discounts for certain patients, while declining to do so for others, particularly so if the patients have full insurance coverage. The problem of “overly generous” insurance coverage pushing up medical costs is also recognised by the Singapore government. In the same statement, MOH says that “…… the mark-up of cancer drugs by some healthcare providers may be significant, encouraged by “as-charged” coverage. MOH has taken steps to curb this by mandating a minimum co-payment for bills covered by new riders in 2018. With the changes from April 1, 2023, we have taken another major step with the CDL and the requirement for IPs to set claim limits for cancer drug treatments, instead of having no limits at all.”

Other Factors For Consideration

  1. Internationally Accredited Hospitals – Malaysia boasts a robust healthcare infrastructure with numerous internationally accredited hospitals (such as Joint Commission International accreditation). These healthcare facilities adhere to global standards, providing patients with peace of mind regarding the quality and safety of the medical services they receive. Well-known hospitals such as Gleneagles, Prince Court Medical Centre, and Pantai Hospital are some of the most-considered choices for international patients.
  2. Access to Specialised Services – Malaysia’s healthcare system offers a wide range of specialised medical services, from treatments to niche medical procedures. Patients often find that they can access a broader array of healthcare solutions in Malaysia, sometimes not readily available or affordable in Singapore.
  3. Language and Cultural Affinity – Given the English proficiency in most countries, Singaporeans or others may find it easy to communicate with Malaysian healthcare professionals. This language compatibility fosters a sense of comfort and trust, making the overall healthcare experience more positive for patients.
  4. Convenient Travel Options – With the well-established transportation network between countries such as Singapore and Malaysia, travelling for healthcare has never been more convenient. Whether by road, rail, or air, the journey is relatively short and hassle-free, allowing patients to access quality healthcare without the inconvenience of extensive travel.
  5. Tourism Opportunities – Combining healthcare with leisure is a unique advantage when seeking medical treatment in Malaysia. Patients can plan their medical trips around exploring the diverse culture, delicious cuisine, and beautiful landscapes of Malaysia, turning their healthcare journey into a memorable experience.

Requirements Needed For Tourists Going To Malaysia For Medical Services

For tourists considering Malaysia for medical services, certain requirements need to be considered. While Malaysia has embraced medical tourism, individuals should ensure they have a valid visa for medical purposes, detailing the specific treatment they intend to receive. It is crucial to consult with the chosen healthcare facility to confirm any additional documentation required.

Where To Get Medical Services In Malaysia

Private medical facilities in Malaysia welcome international patients, providing a wide range of medical services. You may consider renowned private hospitals like Gleneagles Hospital, Kensington Green Specialist Centre, and Prince Court Medical Centre that are equipped to cater to the diverse healthcare needs of tourists.

Insurance Acceptance In Malaysia

Insurance coverage is a vital consideration for tourists seeking medical care in Malaysia. Many healthcare facilities in the country accept international health insurance plans, but it is advisable to confirm coverage details before undergoing any medical procedures. Understanding the terms and conditions of insurance coverage ensures a seamless and stress-free healthcare experience.

Popular Medical Services In Malaysia for Tourists

Malaysia offers a comprehensive range of medical services for tourists, including but not limited to general check-ups, specialised medical treatments, and elective procedures. The country’s healthcare system is well-equipped to handle various medical needs, making it a versatile destination for individuals seeking quality medical services.

Health365 Partners In Malaysia

Health Screening in Malaysia

Health screening in Malaysia is also a popular choice among health-conscious tourists. The country boasts modern facilities that provide comprehensive health check-ups and screenings, offering a proactive approach to healthcare. Tourists can benefit from modern diagnostic services while enjoying the hospitality and diverse attractions that Malaysia has to offer.

Health365 in partnership with Gleneagles Kuala Lumpur and Kensington Green Specialist Centre (Johor Bahru) offers health screening services for Singaporeans going to Malaysia for healthcare.

Fertility Services In Malaysia

Kensington Green Specialist Centre (Johor Bahru) has expertise in fertility treatment. Being in a large, multidisciplinary hospital, the Fertility Centre also has access to the hospital’s investigation and treatment facilities and 24-hour access to emergency services. Among the services offered at the Fertility Centre are Ovulation Induction, Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF), egg freezing, and others.

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