Health insurance is an extremely popular commodity in Asia, and it is only growing in popularity as the population and wealth in Asia continue to grow. However, state-funded public health insurance options tend to be very limited, so the private sector dominates the private healthcare system.
The reasoning behind a search for health insurance and reasonable medical financial solutions plans is a balance between affordability and comprehensive cover. People who have health insurance often have access to better medical equipment, tests, and treatments to get the best value for money out of their health insurance plans. The state of private facilities vs public healthcare is a significant deciding factor on the level of importance associated with private medical insurance.
Many plans only include benefits based on treatment received from network providers, and a lot of these have controlled costs for their services if you have a health insurance policy. There might also be differences in coverage regarding inpatient and outpatient care separation. For example, a certain policy might cover inpatient care but would not include coverage for outpatient care, so you would need to get a separate plan with additional benefits. You might also need to look at the separate emergency cover because coverage for this is not always included in a plan.
Even to primary healthcare in rural Cambodia, access can be nearly impossible. However, there are evident and dedicated plans in place to improve this. Particular emphasis is placed on service for poor patients. There is a marked shift towards the implementation of a universal healthcare system. However, it cannot be denied that emergency services are hard to come by, and the country’s public hospitals are ill-equipped and lack a sufficient number of healthcare providers.
Most expats tend to strongly prefer private health care insurance to cover their medical expenses. This is mainly due to two reasons. First, medical staff in the private healthcare facilities are trained better and are well versed in western medical treatment and practices, where the public sector is predominantly understaffed, and the infrastructure required to provide adequate medical services is basically nonexistent.
For this reason, comprehensive Cambodian expatriate health insurance is non-negotiable. Even with the best health insurance plans, the need for medical evacuation is likely in Cambodia due to the extremely poor infrastructure, so it is best to look at a health insurance plan that covers such an endeavour. Something else to be aware of in the context of Cambodia is the need to be able to access large chain pharmacies. Smaller pharmacies are very likely to be dealing with counterfeit medications. The government have passed laws against this, but it is still a prevalent problem, even including pharmacies in the cities.
It is strongly suggested to invest in comprehensive international health insurance plans for expats and international citizens who reside in Cambodia or who are travelling to Cambodia.
Since 2014 there has been an apparent effort towards the implementation of universal healthcare plans in Vietnam. However, the public sector is underfunded, and infrastructure is extremely poor. Therefore, conditions in public hospitals are usually not to the liking of expats. Even for their most basic needs, an expat might prefer to attend private hospitals, whether they have health insurance in Vietnam or not.
Vietnam expat health insurance is not free, and there is no subsidisation for expats. This has meant compulsory health insurance in Vietnam is relevant to all expats, but compulsory health insurance does not provide comprehensive access in the Vietnamese healthcare system. Due to the poor options available in the public healthcare system, the majority of expats opt for private medical insurance.
Health care in Vietnam is extremely cheap compared to western countries. However, fees can still build up to become significant. Therefore, having decent Vietnam health insurance is essential. If you do not speak the local language, seek treatment from a private specialist. Most private hospitals will be able to offer foreign worker hospitalisation, whereas the staff as public facilities generally only speak Vietnamese.
Moreover, in the Vietnamese healthcare system, compulsory social security cover applies to all workers who have permanent contracts lasting longer than three months, whereas voluntary health insurance applies to Vietnamese citizens and expats who aren’t covered by the mandatory scheme. Just as in Cambodia, Vietnam health insurance that covers medical evacuation is preferable.
Malaysia is extremely popular among expats. There is no national health insurance system. However, public health provision is excellent, and government subsidies are great. For the most part, the public sector is a good option and affordable for good services. Conditions in the public sector are pretty good compared to other Asian countries.
However, it wasn’t until a decade ago that there was any form of expat health insurance in place. Regarding their public health insurance system, the Malaysian government only funds medical facilities for Malaysian residents.
Nevertheless, Malaysia remains a popular location for medical tourism, particularly due to their private dentist services and plastic surgery.
There are longer waiting times, a lot of overcrowding and poor infrastructure in rural communities, but this is less of a problem within bigger cities. So if expats find themselves in less populated or rural areas, it might be best to stay away from the public sector and ensure they have private health insurance.
Private hospitals will have a much better healthcare system with competent medical staff compared to public healthcare. Furthermore, if you invest in private health insurance in Malaysia, your healthcare cover may be applicable outside national lines. Private hospital costs and pharmaceutical medical bills can become unobtainable without private medical insurance.
When it comes to expatriate health insurance, expats will not have access to the same discounted rates as local citizens, and long term care becomes almost entirely inaccessible. It could be a much better option for international citizens to choose an international health insurance plan. This will ensure the best possible health care conditions no matter which urban and rural areas a person might find themselves in.