The Cost Of Health Care In Malaysia And Thailand
“I enjoy reading your newsletters and often daydream about retiring overseas. Malaysia sounds wonderful and affordable, as does Thailand. My question is, when looking at the monthly budgets you provide for these countries, there’s nothing about prescriptions or doctor visits. How is the health care system structured in these two countries?”
— Donna S., United States
We don’t include health care costs in our Country Budgets, because health care is such a personal and variable item. We can’t budget it for you. Your options when moving overseas are to buy in-country health insurance, to invest in international health insurance, or to go naked (that is, to pay for your medical care out of pocket). Malaysia and Thailand are countries where this final option can make sense. The cost of medical care is so affordable in both these places that, barring extraordinary events, paying as you go for it can be a reasonable strategy.
In the major cities of Malaysia, for example, especially in Kuala Lumpur, state-of-the-art medical care is available for a fraction the cost you’d expect to pay for comparable care and procedures in other parts of the world, especially in the United States. As our Malaysia Correspondent Wendy Justice has reported, a visit to an English-speaking general practitioner in KL costs about US$5, while an English-speaking, Europe- or U.S.-educated specialist charges about US$25 to US$30, including free follow-up visits. A complete dental examination is about US$30; a crown is less than US$300.