Living in Kuala Lumpur: Healthcare, An Expat's Guide

Living in Kuala Lumpur: Healthcare, An Expat's Guide

Are you contemplating a move or are presently living in Kuala Lumpur (KL)? What does the city have to offer in terms of healthcare? How does it compare to the rest of the world? Do expatriates need International health insurance or is there a national healthcare scheme?

How Kuala Lumpur's healthcare system compares to the rest of the world

According to the World Health Organization's report on national healthcare, Malaysia is ranked number 50.

As the capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur provides both private and public healthcare. The quality and standard of medical care is widely accepted to be high, as most hospitals are well equipped and staff competent. Although only 3 private medical centers are accredited by JCI as at March 2013, healthcare is moderated by MS ISO9002 certification and accredited by the Malaysian Medical Society for Quality.

With world-class facilities, internationally trained medical professionals and affordable services, Kuala Lumpur has also become a medical tourism destination.

Expatriates living in Kuala Lumpur can therefore benefit and access a range of public and private hospitals offering high quality, competitively priced healthcare.


The Malaysian government strives to provide healthcare at a subsidized rate to its citizens but does not have a national medical insurance scheme. There are plans to draw up a 1Care plan by 2015 to revamp the national healthcare system.

How is the healthcare funded?

KL's healthcare system is funded by the state government, employers and individuals. While the national government spends 4.4% as at 2010 of its GDP on healthcare, 44.5% originates from individuals. The population of Malaysia is relatively young with a high birth rate. The average Malaysian has a life expectancy of 73 and retirement age will be raised from 55 to 60 in July 2013.

Employee Provident Fund

The Employee Provident Fund (EPF) aims to encourage its citizens to save for old age. The rate of contribution is proportional to gross pay and both the employee and employer are needed by law to pay in. Foreigners are allowed to opt in. Withdrawals can be made for certain reasons for example paying for medical costs.

Socso (Social Security)

Malaysia's Social Security System offers financial assistance to employees in case of accidents where an occupational disease, death, disability or illness occurs. Only Malaysian citizens and permanent residents are eligible for this. It is also funded by both employee and employer contributions dependent on the employee's pay.

Healthcare Services and Costs in KL

KL is a popular city for business and leisure given its location and the fact that a large percentage of the population speaks English. With 9.41 doctors to every 10,000 people, excellent and affordable medical treatment is very easily found.


KL has many pharmacies that are opened till late. Many over the counter drugs that need prescriptions elsewhere do not need one in KL and the drugs are usually manufactured by recognizable brands.

Private Clinics

There are more than 30 private clinics located in every nook of the city. Some are open 24 hours a day and provide outpatient care, health screenings, vaccinations, diagnostics and medication.

Well-trained dentists are also equally easy to find and are governed by the Malaysian Dental Council.


Consultations with doctors at private clinics are comparatively low, with an average of US$5. Visiting a healthcare specialist can cost as much as US$30. Most expatriates visit private clinics for minor illnesses and pay out of pocket for ad hoc visits. However, certain outpatient treatment may not be covered by group medical insurance provided by employers.

Public and Private Hospitals

There are 2 public general hospitals in Kuala Lumpur and a National Heart Institute. The hospitals provide comprehensive services and are equipped to deal with emergencies. The state also presently operates eighteen1Malaysia Clinics and 30 health clinics.

In addition, there are 13 private hospitals and medical centers. Most are independent players and offer similar services.

The city is renowned for plastic surgery, dentistry, gastroenterology, screenings, general surgery, orthopedics and ophthalmology services.

Foreign Worker Hospitalization and Surgical Insurance Scheme (SKHPPA)

The SKHPPA scheme expects employers to pay in so that their full time foreign employees can seek a fixed amount of medical treatment at government hospitals.

Medical Costs and International Health Insurance

Visiting a public hospital compared to a private medical center is much cheaper. However, most expatriates opt for private healthcare for shorter waiting times and more efficient services.

For example, if a patient were to visit a public hospital for a coronary artery bypass, this would cost roughly US$6,000, compared to US$10,500 at a private hospital. The same procedure would cost US$13,000 in Singapore.

It is essential that expatriates in KL have their own expat medical insurance because most employers offer limited group medical insurance coverage. Therefore to be prudent, expatriates are recommended to engage an independent insurance broker.

In a nutshell:

1. Get connected through a local expat community and find yourself a GP so referrals are easier when needed.
2. There is no need to stockpile toiletries or food but clothes and shoes in appropriate sizes may be a challenge to find.
3. Keep in mind that the city is muslim so proper dress and behavior is encouraged.
4. Ensure that you have good expat health insurance.
5. There are many options for accommodation so take your time and negotiate to get what you want!

List of Hospitals in Kuala Lumpur

Columbia Asia Hospital - Setapak
Address: No. 1, Jalan Danau Saujana, Off Jalan Genting Klang, 53300 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +6 (03) 5521 5151, +6 (03) 4145 9999

Gleneagles Kuala Lumpur
Address: 286 Jalan Ampang, 50450 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: +6 (03) 4141 3000, +6 (03) 4141 3131(emergency)

Global Doctors Clinic
Address: B1 – C6, Jalan Kiara 3, Mont Kiara
Tel: +6 (03) 6203 8999

Global Doctors International Medical Clinic
Address: B3 – 05, Bayu Walk, Mont Kiara Bayu, Jalan Kiara 2, Mont Kiara
Tel: +6 (03) 6203 3999

Global Doctors Specialist Center (Hospital)
Address: Kiara Designer Suite, 18 Jalan Kiara 3, Mont Kiara
Tel: +6 (03) 6203 0999

Hospital Kuala Lumpur
Jalan Pahang
Tel: (3) 2615 5555

HSC Medical Center
Jalan Ampang
Tel: (3) 2712 0866

Klinik Catterall, Khoo And Raja Malek, Bangunan Ming
Address: Lobby Floor, Bangunan Ming, Jalan Nanas, 50250 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +6 (03) 2078 3200, 2078 3212

Klinik Catterall, Khoo And Raja Malek, Great Eastern Mall
Address: Lot 6B, Level 2, Great Eastern Mall, 303 Jalan Ampang, 50450 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +6 (03) 4253 5949

Klinik Catterall, Khoo And Raja Malek, Plaza Sentral
Address: Suite 3B-3-6, Level 3, Block 3B Plaza Sentral (KL Sentral) Jalan Stesen Sentral, 50470 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +6 (03) 2273 0344

Klinik Catterall, Khoo And Raja Malek, Wisma Sime Darby
Address: 2nd Flr, Wisma Sime Darby Jalan Raja Laut 50350, Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +6 (03) 2693 7670, 2693 7669

Klinik Ludher
Address: No. 4-1, Commercial One, Lorong 2/137C Off Jalan Klang Lama, Jalan Kelang Lama, 58200 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +6 (03) 7781 9542

Klinik Ng Dan Lee, Jalan Ampang
Address: 377 Jalan Ampang 4th Mile, 50450 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +6 (03) 4256 0764

Klinik Ng Dan Lee, Jalan Pudu
Address: 462 & 464 Jalan Pudu, 55100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +6 (03) 9222 5989, 9222 6591

Klinik Ng Dan Lee, Kepong
Address: No. 47, Jalan Metro Perdana Barat, 1 Taman Usahawan Kepong, 52100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +6 (03) 6257 1436

Klinik Ng Dan Lee, Taman Maluri
Address: 265 Jalan Mahkota, Taman Maluri, 55100 Cheras, Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +6 (03) 9285 2820

Klinik V-cure
Address: No. 37, Jalan Midah, 3 Taman Midah, Cheras 56000, Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +6 (03) 9131 1297

Kumpulan Medic, Jalan Ampang
Address: Ground Floor, Bangunan Ghee Hong, 47 Jalan Ampang 50450, Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +6 (03) 2078 1532, 2031 5214

Kumpulan Medic, Jalan Raja Laut
Address: Lot MZ05, Mezzanine Floor (1A) Bangunan KWSP, 5 Jalan Raja Laut 50350, Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +6 (03) 2692 1952, 2692 1258

Kumpulan Medik, M. Boustead
Address: Tingkat 4, Menara Bousted, 69 Jalan Raja Laut 50200, Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +6 (03) 2141 8229, 2145 8629

Pantai Hospital Ampang
Address: Jalan Perubatan 1, Pandan Indah. 55100, Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +6 (03) 4289 2828

Pantai Hospital Cheras
Address: No 1 Jalan 1/96A, Taman Cheras Makmur, 56100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +6 (03) 9132 2022

Pantai Hospital Kuala Lumpur
Address: 8 Jalan Bukit Pantai, 59100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +6 (03) 2296 0888

Poliklinik Central & Surgeri
Address: No. 20, Jalan Suria Setapak Batu 4 1/2, Gombak 53000, Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +6 (03) 4023 4390

Prince Court Medical Center
Jalan Kia Peng
Tel: (3) 2160-0000

Reddy Clinic
Address: 121, Jalan Ipoh 51200, Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +6 (03) 4041 2611, 4041 2721

Tung Shin Hospital
Jalan Pudu
Tel: (3) 2037 2288