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
You may ask questions like “What is the best insurance for medical?” or “Which insurance is best in Malaysia?” or “Which medical card is the best in Malaysia” or “What medical insurance is the best?”
Fact is, 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. Anyway, at this point of time…
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
AXA eMedic online 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?" or "What does a medical card do?" or "What is medical card insurance?"
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 AXA eMedic online medical card
AXA eMedic is probably the cheapest and most convenient-to-apply-for term medical insurance that you can buy in Malaysia today.
If you are a fresh graduate just starting out in the workforce, or young family with tight financial budget, then you seriously need to consider this as your first medical card.
True to its objective of catering to the mass market, AXA eMedic provides affordable and accessible in-patient private healthcare services due to illness, diseases or accident.
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.
Some commendable features of AXA eMedic:
A) From coverage perspective
- Days of hospitalization in a year – surprisingly, unlimited, considering most medical insurance do cap this at 150 days to 180 days per year.
- No lifetime limit
- Room and Board RM250 is as good as a double bedded room at most Malaysian private hospitals.
- Cashless admission for an extended list of 139 private hospitals in Malaysia
- Could be a cost effective, short-to-mid term medical coverage solution for expatriates living in Malaysia; say, for someone spending 2 years in the country on a work visa. Easy application with just passport and valid working/dependent visa.
- Guaranteed renewable at your option (which is desired), versus conditional renewal for similar medical card offered by most general insurers' offerings
B) From cost perspective
- Deductible feature, when optionally selected, will lower annual premium significantly.
- As low as RM37 per month for individual medical card
- As low as RM150 per month for family of 4 with AXA eMedic Family Plan (annual limit for each family member is separate, not combined – which is good)
- Surprisingly affordable because the premium can get even below RM 1,000 a year even for the highest plan (Annual limit 100k) when deductible feature is chosen
C) From 'ease of application' perspective
- Underwriting process does not require medical check up; instead you just need to fill in a simplified online questionnaire during application. It does not mean insurer allows for non-disclosure of your pre-existing medical condition – you still need to declare your health condition and medical history truthfully per what you knew or ought to know.
- Gender agnostic: No difference in premiums for male & female
- No body-mass-index (BMI) underwriting because you don’t need to fill in your height and weight. In other words, underweight or overweight individual can apply without loading
Features which we feel could make AXA eMedic even better:
• More options for Room & Board daily rate, other than the one and only RM 250.
• Lowest annual limit is RM 20,000 which is way below what we consider the bare minimum today. An annual limit of at least RM 100,000 is recommended, which is highest option you can get from AXA eMedic
• Coverage could be extended to age 100 instead of stopping at age 80
• Last entry age capped at age 49
• Deductible feature could have higher levels and structured slightly different, for example, RM 30k in a year, instead of, RM 1k per hospital admission. This could make it a good, ‘no-overlap’ complement for individuals with company medical coverage (usually ranging from RM 20k to RM 30k in a year)
Bear in mind that this is a standalone, aka term medical card, whereby the annual premium is set to increase every 5 years age band.
We opined that AXA eMedic should not be compared to medical riders available out there because medical riders do provide more comprehensive and long term medical coverage.
Instead, it should be viewed as an excellent substitute to medical cards offered by general insurers, or a good alternative to one’s company medical card.
eMedic is available for purchase exclusively online at www.axaemedic.com - there’s zero need to go through any agents or intermediaries.
AXA eMedic 5 minutes, fast & easy purchase process:
- Go to this URL
- Select Individual Plan or Family Package
- Enter your birth date(s)
- Select your desired coverage
- Answer a few health questions
- Enter your personal details
- Make payment
After successful payment, policy holder will receive a Welcome Message and eMedic Digital Medical Card in your email. Policy Documents will be sent to policy holder's email within 3 days.
The eMedic digital medical card is a picture that can be saved on mobile devices, which can be accessed online.
During hospital admission, policy holder just need to show the medical card at the hospital admission counter. The medical card contains all the details the hospital needs to verify validity of one's AXA eMedic medical insurance.
Alternatively, policy holder can use his or her identification card IC to hospital admission staff - just state that you have AXA AFFIN Life insurance and Mediexpress. Hospital can also process hospital admission without the eMedical card.
What is the difference between a medical rider and a term (standalone) medical card?
Read below -
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).
Fortunately, AXA eMedic does not have conditional renewable clause.
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)
By the way, visitors to this page also frequently ask - "Can I buy a medical card which covers me in foreign countries?" or "Can foreigner buy medical insurance in Malaysia?"
The answer to the first question lies in the video below, while for the second question, the answer is YES, provided you at least have long term residency visa like MM2H visa. See more details in our other article - Retiring in Malaysia : Get the Best Health Insurance & Prevent Medical Costs from Touching your Retirement Nest Egg.
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.