“It’s not surprising that Malaysia has become a recognized international medical tourism destination,”writes Asia Correspondent Wendy Justice. “It boasts some of the least expensive health care in the region. Costs for many treatments are lower even than in neighboring Thailand. The cost of health care in general is so low that many people don’t bother with the expense of health insurance.
“Of course, cost is only one part of this important issue. Cheap medical care is no good to you if it’s no good. That’s not the case in Malaysia, where the quality of care can be of the highest standards.
“Here are some particular examples to give you an idea just how affordable medical care can be in this country:
- A coronary bypass operation in a private hospital is around US$10,000, less than 10% of the cost of the same surgery in the United States…
- A total hip replacement runs around US$6,700, including a 10-day hospital stay and all meals…
- A knee-replacement costs less than US$6,000, also including a 10-day inpatient recovery…
- A complete blood test (CBC) costs less than US$15 at most laboratories…
- And a chest X-ray runs about US$15…
“For more information on particular procedures and their associated costs, take a look at this website: here
“You find small doctor’s offices throughout Malaysia, even in small towns, and in urban areas you have many choices. Most of these kliniks have one physician who functions as a general practitioner. A visit to see a klinik doctor costs around US$5.
“Medications, if required, are often filled at the office, and, again, prices are rock-bottom. If the klinik doesn’t have the medications in stock, you are issued a prescription, which can be filled at any pharmacy, just like in the United States. If blood tests or other diagnostic testing is required, the klinik may be able to run the test on the spot. If not, they may refer you to a laboratory or hospital for testing.
“Polikliniks have more than one doctor. They may have a general practitioner along with another specialist or two–an orthopedist, dermatologist, gynecologist, and so on. Prices are roughly the same as those charged at the one-doctor offices. These clinics often have their own X-ray equipment and laboratories and sometimes even the equipment to perform minor surgeries.
“The next level in Malaysian health care is the specialist clinic. These may be free-standing or located in or near a hospital. The doctors have hospital privileges. A visit to a specialist generally costs less than US$30, follow-up visits included. Specialist clinics tend to be extremely clean, with professional staff, modern equipment, and doctors trained in Europe, the United States, and Australia.
“Finally, there are public and private hospitals throughout the country, including at least 10 major hospitals in and around Kuala Lumpur (KL), as well as excellent hospitals in all the major urban areas, including Georgetown, Ipoh, and Johor Bahru.
“The quality of care varies, and, though still minimal (that is, amazingly affordable), costs are higher at the private hospitals. Still, most foreigners choose private hospitals over the public ones. Care is generally excellent, with state-of-the-art equipment and trained staff.
“In KL, Gleneagles Hospital, in the Embassy district, offers excellent care for foreigners, with Western food and English-speaking staff throughout the facility. Other fine private hospitals in the area include Subang Jaya Medical Centre, Sunway Medical Centre, and Damansara Specialist Hospital.
“The accredited Gleneagles Hospital also has a full-service facility in Georgetown, the second-largest city in the country, home to a large expat community. Island Hospital and the private non-profit Penang Adventist Hospital are also internationally accredited and well regarded. Altogether, there are at least six major private hospitals in Georgetown, and seeing a specialist in Georgetown costs even less than in KL. An office visit can cost less than US$20.
“Dental care is such a great value that, if you need major dental work, the money you save on the dentistry could pay for the cost of your trip to Malaysia.
“A consultation and check-up (without X-rays) is free at most dental clinics. (X-rays cost about US$15.) A filling costs around US$25, a root canal less than US$250. A full porcelain crown is US$300, and a full denture (one jaw) costs less than US$250–less than the co-payment for many Americans with dental insurance!
“As with physicians, dentists are typically foreign-educated and are held to a high standard of care. And you never have a language barrier.”