This is the most practical, highly actionable guide to buying the best medical card in Malaysia.
The best part?
We are going to reveal how you can afford the best medical coverage per your budget, something that tied insurance agents are not able to do for you.
In short, if you want to maximize your coverage while minimizing the premium cost (and saving tens or hundreds thousands in the future), you’ll love this guide – with over 200+ comments below this guide since 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018.
Let’s get started.
This medical card (medical insurance plan) guide has been featured in:
The published article can be downloaded HERE
Medical card products from major insurance companies in Malaysia are always evolving rapidly, ever-trying to outdo each other to become the best medical insurance or the top medical card in Malaysia, at least in the eyes of consumers.
The Best Medical Cards in Malaysia are:
Allianz Life Insurance – MediSafe Infinite series medical card
AIA – A Plus Health series medical card
Great Eastern Life – Smart Medic series medical card
Hong Leong Assurance – Medi Shield III series medical card
Prudential Assurance – Pru Million Med series medical card
The best in this sense refers to competitiveness in features and costs; so it is actually very good for us as policyholders.
As you notice, the Best Insurance Medical Cards in Malaysia come from major life insurance companies, brands which you already know.
The best part of being an industry practitioner, as a licensed, independent financial adviser, is that we are not tied to any insurance company.
Meaning, we are not obligated or limited to only recommend 1 single product which we represent like an insurance agent.
Clients literally adore us for being able to source & compare objectively – the best life and health insurance products which suit their needs without being pushy to fulfill sales quote like a tied agent.
1) Comparison table of the Allianz, AIA, Great Eastern, Manulife, Hong Leong Assurance, Prudential, AmMetLife, Tokio Marine, AXA-Affin, Zurich Medical Insurance
8) Comparison table of the Allianz, Great Eastern, Hong Leong & Prudential Deductible Medical Insurance
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Watch a series of lessons on buying the best medical cards for yourself
1) Comparison table of the Allianz, AIA, Great Eastern, Manulife, Hong Leong, Prudential, Tokio Marine, AXA Affin, AmMetLife & Zurich Medical Insurance
note: flip your mobile device horizontally for best viewing or use at least an iPad mini to view the comparison table
**The indicative annual premium, whenever available, was generated based on a 35 years old Male, non-smoker. It does not represent absolutely the expensiveness or cheap-ness of a medical card from an insurer across all age ranges.
2) Best medical insurance in Malaysia - is it Allianz medical card?
Allianz medical card commentary
- Reimburses the charges incurred for alternative treatments such as Chiropractic, Chiropody, Homeopathy, Osteopathy and Acupuncture up to one (1) visit per day, within thirty (30) days from the hospital
- Allianz MediSafe Infinite + covers treatment in Singapore but following Reasonable & Customary Charges equivalent to local treatment in Malaysia. Also, compared to its predecessor, Medisafe Infinite, there is no co-payment if you are hospitalised at a Room & Board which is higher than your eligible benefit. You only bear the difference in the upgraded room & board charges.
- Another best thing about Allianz medical card is that it specifically states, in the quotation, to include consultation, examination tests and take home drugs for outpatient treatments.
- It also has the highest combination of pre & post hospitalization coverage, and matches the room & board + ICU coverage of 150 days for each, second best compared to Manulife's unlimited room & board/ICU.
- The co-payment clause in its predecessor, Medisafe Infinite, has been removed
- Its outpatient kidney dialysis and cancer does not have separate limit; it follows the overall annual limit and lifetime limit of the R&B rate chosen so this is good.
- Organ transplant coverage - Reasonable & customary charges
- It comes with a Value Added Service called Global Expert Medical Opinion, a third party service which gives you, access to top experts from around the world to facilitate the medical decision making. A licensed doctor will be assigned to conduct a thorough clinical conversation, collect all available medical information and identify top experts to provide independent assessment.
- Allianz Diabetic Essentials enable you to obtain a medical plan protection up to 70 years old even though you have diabetes.
3) Best medical insurance in Malaysia - is it AIA medical card?
AIA medical card commentary
- A Plus Health medical insurance replaced A Plus Med as its flagship medical card in Q4 '18.
- It has upgraded to 150 days of normal Room & Board (R&B) and Intensive Care unit (ICU), totaling 300 days/year
- There is also provision for Organ/Bone Marrow transplant (receiver's coverage only) - as charged, subject to Reasonable and Customary Charges up to Overall Annual Limit, once per lifetime.
- Singapore & Brunei are not considered as overseas medical insurance coverage (which is good!)
- It also provides Emergency Medical Evacuation and Repatriation up to USD 1 mil (do not mistakenly think this is international health insurance coverage)
- Lifetime limit for outpatient kidney dialysis and cancer treatment has been upgraded to no lifetime limit.
- Only covers for once a lifetime organ transplant event (as an organ recipient)
- Unique Health Wallet, Prevention Benefit and Protect Boost feature, making it priced higher than average compared to other medical cards compared.
4) Best medical insurance in Malaysia - is it Great Eastern medical card?
Great Eastern medical card commentary
- The base medical insurance plan SmartMedic Xtra has been enhanced with SmartMedic Xtra 99 and Smart Extender 99
- The base version of SmartMedic still has co-insurance & co-insurance clauses and coverage age is limited to age 80 if not added with Smart Extender 99.
- It has 180 days of hospital confinement but combined normal hospitalization and ICU (intensive care unit)
- Overall, we opined that it's an average medical card which ranks in the middle among its peers.
5) Best medical insurance in Malaysia - is it Manulife medical card?
Manulife medical card commentary
- ManuHealth Elite medical insurance replaced its predecessor, Manumedic medical card
- Technically, Manulife Room & Board rate is in a class of its own because after R&B 250, the next Room & Board rate is titled “As Charged”.
- What it means by this is that if you are in “As Charged” R&B rate, you are entitled for the amount for reimbursement is limited up to 2 basic categories of Single-bedded Room available in the hospital.
- This mean it is inflation-proof to a certain extent because you are guaranteed a single room no matter what in the future.
- Pros: No limit on the number of annual confinement days and high annual limit of RM 2.2 million, plus having outpatient stroke coverage which none other medical card in comparison has this benefit.
- Cons: The outpatient treatments are capped at RM 1.76 million for each per lifetime, separate from its overall annual limit of 2.2 million and no lifetime limit.
- It has a unique feature that covers non-medical related expenses on your hospital bill, up to 2x your room & board rate, per policy year
- Comes with low 500 and 5,000 deductible levels, which I'd consider as co-insurance instead of deductible.
- No mention of organ transplant coverage though
6) Best medical insurance in Malaysia - is it Prudential medical card?
Prudential medical card commentary
- Prudential most affordable medical card does not use the the term annual limit or lifetime limit. Instead, it replaces them with this - Med Value Point.
- Med Value Point is defined as - if the total claims that exceed the stipulated Med Value Point amount, the Prudential will still be liable to pay 80% of the total cost of the eligible benefit while policyholder bear the remaining 20%.
- Prudential also has another 2 older medical card range - PruHealth and PruFlexi Medi, on top of PruMedicOverseas providing coverage in Singapore, Hong Kong and China.
- Pros: Has the capability to customize the hospital room & board rate and Med Value Point (1, 1.5 or 2 million). It also has has an optional co-insurance like feature, called Med Saver, which policyholder needs to pay RM 300 co-insurance for hospitalization, even though it is a cashless admission. For objective comparison, we remove this co-insurance feature. Finally, the no co-payment clause is always welcomed.
- Cons: Evidently, the medical card price, especially with Med Saver feature removed. Comparing Med Value point with annual limit, it is on par depending on your choice. However, comparing Med Value Point with lifetime limit, it loses out slightly because other medical cards have no lifetime limit while PruValueMed only covers 80% of the eligible benefit exceeding Med Value Point. However, this is no longer an issue with the introduction of a higher end (newer) medical card range called PruMillion Med. Pru Million Med also has Outpatient Cancer Treatment and Outpatient Kidney Dialysis which is not separated capped, like PruValue Med. Pru Million Med, though, comes with a non-removable RM 300 co-insurance, aka Med Saver.
- No mention of organ transplant coverage or no claim bonus/incentive for Pru Million Med though.
- Starting in July 2019, the indicated premium for Prudential Investment Linked Policy and its medical rider can have a wide range because the quotation system comes with the option to adjust the policy sustainability.
7) Best medical insurance in Malaysia - is it Hong Leong medical card?
Hong Leong Assurance commentary
- Hong Leong Assurance has a separate number of days for ICU coverage (75 vs 150 days), the lowest among those compared.
- If this is not a deal breaker, then you'll be glad to know it does not have co-insurance or co-payment due to room & board upgrade
- It also does not have a separate limit for outpatient cancer treatment and kidney dialysis, which is good
- With the addition of the Million Extra III rider, its annual limit becomes increases to an additional 1.5 million, adding to the already high 1 mil/1.5 mil/2.0 mil original annual limit for Medishield III rider.
- Furthermore, you can further add on to the medical coverage by extending your medical treatment to pre-authorised hospitals in Singapore, Hong Kong, and China with Overseas Treatment for Selected Surgeries III for surgeries related to Cancer, Neuro, Coronary Artery Bypass, Heart Valve, Organ Transplant (kidney, lung, liver, heart, pancreas and bone marrow)
- Organ transplant coverage per Annual & lifetime limit is included
- An extremely flexible medical card where you can configure it as a humble Honda City or a Ferrari/Bugatti if you have the budget. Don't be fooled with just one product by Hong Leong Assurance because it is highly configurable, only matched by Allianz.
8) Comparison table of the Allianz, Great Eastern, Hong Leong Assurance & Prudential Deductible Medical Insurance
note: flip your mobile device horizontally for best viewing or use at least an iPad mini to view the comparison table
9) Best deductible medical card in Malaysia - which one?
Best deductible medical card in Malaysia - which one is it?
Not having a full medical card after retirement could potentially be deadlier than the silent killer – inflation, when it actually hits. I’ve talked to individuals in their fifties who admitted to me they overlooked of getting their own medical card when they were in employment. Then, just before the mandatory retirement, it struck them – nobody is going to cover his post retirement medical bills.
If you are reading this, then I don’t want this to happen to you. Yet, I know what you are thinking – you probably don’t want to get a redundant medical card while you are covered by your company.
If this is your concern, then Second Medical Card aka Deductible aka Top Up medical card is the best for you. See below
When you are employed before age 60:
It could well be a good complement to your company-provided group medical card.
For example, if your company medical card coverage is RM 30k/year, you could get a RM 30k deductible medical card, with minimum premium (RM 1,200). Which means, only RM 30k and above medical expenses will be covered by this second card. (by the way, the deductible amount is configurable from RM 2k up to RM 30k)
When you retire after age 60:
What it means, when you reach age 60, this health care insurance will convert to become a zero deductible card – which means any medical expenses can be charged under this card – at the time when your company medical insurance coverage ceases. This happens without needing you to prove your health condition at age 60. Besides, it also has:
Cheaper? Yes. Peace of mind when you retire? Absolutely.
10) Understand basic medical card terminologies and why you must get the best health insurance for yourself
If you are totally new to the concept of a medical card or medical insurance, you may wonder:
"What does a medical card cover?"
The intricacies of the best medical insurance is not to be underestimated, especially if you plan to retire in Malaysia for long term. Since health insurance, just like any other insurance, is essentially an unilateral contract, knowing the terms and conditions of your medical coverage is absolutely critical.
To prevent the hassle of dispute with the insurer on what it is not covered or reimbursable when you thought they are covered.
Otherwise, nasty situation like this may happen.
The other health insurance features you definitely want to take note on are:
- Daily Room & Board rate – determines the type of hospital room you can choose to stay in without topping up the difference. It is very normal to go for a minimum RM 200 R&B nowadays, which could be a twin-sharing room. If you want basic single room or above, a R&B of RM 300 and above is recommended. Upgrading R&B rate higher than what you are entitled for in your health insurance policy may trigger a certain co-payment clause in the insurance contract. This render you needing to share a certain percentage of the total medical bill with the insurer, aside from paying the difference in room & board rate.
- Lifetime Limit (if any) – specifies the limited sum of medical expenses which can be exhausted throughout the duration of health insurance coverage.
- Annual Limit (if any) – specifies the limited sum of medical expenses which can be exhausted within any 1 policy year as long as the health insurance is in-force.
- As charged – covers hospitalization expenses which are deemed medically necessary, and as per reasonable and customary charges according to the schedule set by MMA (Malaysian Medical Association). If a medical procedure was being overcharged by hospital, then you need to top up the difference of amount for which the insurer doesn’t cover.
- Deductible - an amount that you will have to pay for your medical treatment before your medical insurance plan will begin to pay for you.For example:
Deductible level of RM 5,000 means when Ali got admitted to hospital and the medical bill costs RM 9,000, Ali has to pay RM 5,000 first before his insurer pays the balance, up to the medical card annual or lifetime limit.
- Co insurance - an amount, usually in percentage (10%, 20%) of the total medical bill which you have to fork out on your own, regardless of the medical bill amount. The insurance company does not cover for this amount.
- Home Nursing Care coverage - a public or private residential facility providing a high level of long-term personal or nursing care for persons (such as the aged or the chronically ill) who are unable to care for themselves properly.
Co insurance of 10% means when Ali got admitted to hospital and the medical bill costs RM 9,000, Ali has to pay RM 900 while his insurer pays the remaining amount, up to the medical card annual or lifetime limit.
- Last entry age – the last age where you can buy a medical insurance policy. Normally it could be at 60, 65 or 70. Malaysia's first emedic card by AXA has last entry age at 49 though.
- Exclusions - illnesses or medical conditions that are not covered by a medical card or medical insurance. Common exclusions include pre-existing conditions, specified illness occurring during the first one hundred twenty (120) days of upon policy being in-force (hypertension, cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, all tumors, cancers, cysts, nodules, polyps, stones of the urinary and biliary system, all ear, nose (including sinuses) and throat conditions, hernias, hemorrhoids, fistulae, hydrocele, varicocele, endometriosis including disease of the reproductive system, vertebro-spinal disorders (including disc) and knee conditions), cosmetic treatments, dental conditions, congenital abnormalities, pregnancy-related conditions, AIDS or sexually transmitted disease, self-inflicted injuries, drug addiction, mental or nervous disorders
- Pre-existing Condition - illnesses that a policy holder has a reasonable knowledge of on or before the effective date of insurance. Policy holder may be considered to have a reasonable knowledge of a pre-existing conditions if he or she had received or is receiving treatment, medical advice, diagnosis...and/or there is a clear and distinct symptoms and/or the symptoms of an illness would have been apparent to a reasonable person.
Also, do you agree that medical costs will carry one or more of the characteristics below:
- Most unexpected
- Most unavoidable
- Possibly long term & recurring
- Most impactful to retirement nest egg
How impactful, you asked?
For minor condition like cataract or appendicitis, the cost of such treatments may hardly dent your retirement nest egg. But what if major conditions like below hit you?
Medical costs have escalated around the world and this is no different in Malaysia. Medical inflation averages about 10% each year and is projected to rise due to advancement in medical technology.
11) The Procedures to Utilize a Medical Card
When you want to seek medical treatment due to illness/accident at private hospitals, you should try to go to a hospital that is covered by the medical card.
Hospitals that are covered by the medical card are also called Panel Hospital.
Of course, you still can get admitted to other hospitals, but you will then need to settle in full your medical bill upon discharge and then later file claim to reimburse the medical expenses from the insurance company.
Admitting to a panel hospital saves you these paperworks because the insurance company will pay directly the hospital provided a Letter of Guarantee is issued by the insurer to the hospital upon your hospital admission.
Bear in mind hospital may still need to charge you some deposits upfront to cover for items not covered by your medical card.
In order to minimize any unnecessary delays, it is the norm to follow some pointers below as part of the claims process:
- Before undergoing any non-emergency medical treatment, call the customer care helpline of your insurance company and confirm whether your doctor’s proposed treatment is covered in your medical insurance policy and whether your hospital of choice is panel hospital
- Request your doctor or specialist to fill in and sign your claim form. He or she may charge a small administration fee which may not be covered by your medical card
- If you are admitted to a non-panel hospital, remember to submit a written notice to your insurance company as soon as possible, or within 30 days of the treatment period if you are diagnosed with a condition or illness that is claimable under your medical insurance policy
- Attach all filled claims documents with the original bills and receipts, full doctor’s reports, physician’s cost summary of treatment and referral letter, if any.
Understand the Common Reasons your Medical Claims can get Rejected
12) Review of Smart Medi 2.0 Lonpac standalone medical card
(no longer available)
You may not have heard of Lonpac Insurance but it is a wholly owned subsidiary of LPI Capital, a public listed company in KLSE since 1993. It was registered as an approved insurer on 9 April 1963 under the Malaysian Insurance Act, 1963.
LPI Capital, as the associate company with common directors as Public Bank, is helmed by the one and only Tan Sri Dr Teh Hong Piow as its Chairman.
By the way, I don't think I need to stress the importance of having a medical card even if you are employed and your employer provides for you. Look at cost of medical procedures here.
A) Medical card that provides annual health screen tests
Most people want to fake an unnecessary 1 day hospital admission just to undergo health screening tests at hospitals. Truly, it is not recommended to do so because minor 'claims' like this will raise red flags in the eyes of your insurer when you need to upgrade your medical card benefits in the future. Not to mention it is unethical to do so - doctors who are doing this included. Therefore, anyone who have done this before or are thinking of doing this, you don't have too because Smart Medi 2.0 gives you a complimentary comprehensive health screening test.
We like the concept of prevention advocated by this medical card, especially when it also includes cancer marker tests.
B) A Medical card with built in cash allowance for private hospital
It is customary for a medical card to pay a daily allowance for confinement in government hospital. Cash allowance for confinement in private hospital is an add-on feature which costs extra premium costs. See what I mean below - a standard clause in any medical cards in Malaysia.
Smart Medi 2.0, on the other hand, provides RM 500 per day for hospitalization even in private hospitals; starting for 3rd days onwards.
C) A Medical card with unlimited days a year, even in ICU
We don't hope this will ever happen, but if it does, you'll have no concern in this area. Here's how most medical cards benefits are structured when it comes to number of days in normal room & ICU.
This is how Smart Medi 2.0 benefit is structured.
D) A Medical card with high annual limit & no lifetime limit
No lifetime limit is nothing to shout about really since the past 2 years; AIA medical card products have been having this feature aeons ago.
The annual limit is the one that matters because it 'resets' every policy year.
Selected few medical card in the market now have NO annual limit while some already going into the path of offering High annual limit which almost corresponds to their lifetime limit, if any.
Therefore, an annual limit of RM 650,000 is above average.
E) A Medical card with most, if not all hospitals
Check if any of the private hospitals are near your place of residence.
F) A Medical card with affordable annual premium
Standalone medical card is for those who need medical protection for themselves or their loved ones, but are tight on budget. It starts out with a low premium.
However, bear in mind that this is a standalone or term medical card, just like AIA A Life Med Regular, whereby the annual premium is set to increase every 5 years age band, unlike medical rider.
Watch below for the difference between a medical rider and a term (standalone) medical card, or read it here -
Furthermore, compared to guaranteed renewal clause in medical rider, some standalone medical cards have conditional renewable clause whereby - if you are hit with a long term/ critical illnesses, insurer will likely impose unfavorable terms & conditions like premium loading, coverage exclusion from the illness and even rejection at your next renewal cycle. Think of it like renewing your car insurance after a major accident.
On the other hand, rider medical card is confirmed to have "Guaranteed renewable" clause whereby as long as you pay for the policy on time, insurer is obliged to renew the policy (provided the lifetime claim limit, if any, has not been exceeded).
For both types of medical cards, cost of insurance or insurance charges, however, is not guaranteed. That means insurer can hike the insurance charges which may affect your premium directly or indirectly. This scenario normally requires approval from central bank and it affects every policy holders having that medical card (does not discriminate or single anyone out)
Now It’s Your Turn
Phew! We put A TON of work into this guide. So we hope you enjoyed it.
Now we’d like to hear what you have to say.
Which medical card feature that is the most important to you?
It is Annual Limit or Hospitals Room and Board rate?
Or something else.
Let me know by leaving a comment below.
About the Author
CF Lieu is an independent financial adviser (IFA) with CFP qualification and licensed by the Securities Commission of Malaysia to conduct regulated financial planning activities and charge a professional fee for it.
CF Lieu is also listed under Featured CFP Professionals in his professional association website – FPAM (Financial Planning Association of Malaysia). Only advisers with the highest calibre and credibility are displayed under this list.