For the Wanderlusters: A Breakdown of Medical Fees in Your Favourite Travel Spots


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If there’s one thing Malaysians enjoy almost as much as food, it’s traveling! There is a certain joy and wonder that comes with experiencing a new place and interacting with cultures different from your own.


However, careful as we may try to be, taking all the necessary precautions sometimes may not suffice to keep us out of harm’s way. Besides finding out the must-see sights and must-eat foods and must-buy things for your next trip, another important thing you need to know is the cost of medical fees in the country you’re visiting.


We have put together an easy-to-read list of medical fees in some popular travel destinations among Malaysians: Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, UK and US.

What are the main things that can go wrong on my holiday?

                   

Although totally unpredictable, some of the most common health related problems while traveling include bone fractures from falls, heart attacks and strokes, traffic accidents and resulting trauma, and respiratory problems such as cold or fever.

How much are medical consultation and hospitalization fees?

                    

Here’s an approximate breakdown of basic GP consultation fees and general inpatient fees per day:


Disclaimer: These fees should not be taken as final and authoritative figures, as they are mere estimates based on research. While it is good to have a rough idea of how much medical fees can cost, you should always speak to your insurance provider on the policy that is best for you when going to your next travel destination.


Country Medical Consultation (basic outpatient fee) Hospitalization (daily room and board)
Japan ~¥20,000
(RM711)
~¥20,000 - 50,000
(RM711 - 1,779)
South Korea ~$43 - 91
(RM179 - 359)
~$113 - 202
(RM446 - 796)
Taiwn ~NT$300 - 650
(RM40 - 88)
~NT$3,000 - 7,360
(RM405 - 992)
Hongkong ~HKD445
(RM224)
~HKD5,100
(RM2,570)
Thailand ~$8 - 20
(RM32 - 79)
~ THB4,000 - 11,200
(RM494 - 1,384)
Australia ~AU$66 onwards
(RM208 onwards)
~AU$295 - 424
(RM929 - 1,336)
New Zealand ~NZ$50 - 104
(RM143 - 298)
~NZ$128 - 228
(RM367 - 654)
UK ~£100 - 250
(RM547 - 1,367)
~£75 - 395
(RM410 - 2,159)
US ~$1,498 - 2,000
(RM5,903 - 7,881)
~$1,791 - 2,289
(RM7,057 - 9,020)

Are there any particular healthcare-related facts about each country that I should know about?

                   


In Japan, your first point of contact is generally the hospital, before being referred to a specialised clinic. For cultural reasons, doctors might not always be straightforward with you on your condition, especially when it’s a bad one. So be sure to get the fullest communication of your diagnosis as possible.


Hospitals in South Korea have some of the world’s most premier facilities and are not prone to overcrowding. They also specialise in treating and innovating the field of skin disease.


The range of healthcare options in Taiwan is highly accessible, as most of their institutions are very comprehensive, providing both inpatient and outpatient care with a variety of treatments.


Hong Kong has an ‘eligibility ranking’ for its patients which determines how much they are charged. Generally, eligible persons are citizens of Hong Kong and local identity card holders, while tourists fall under the non-eligible persons category, and are billed slightly more for medical consultations and procedures.


There is a scarcity of general practitioners in Thailand, as most doctors are specialists of some sort and might not treat you if your condition isn’t under their scope. Try approaching hospitals that have GPs and family doctors.


The healthcare system in Australia was rated second-best in a developed country by the Commonwealth Fund’s International Health Policy survey. The United Kingdom took first place on this ranking.


New Zealand’s healthcare system is based on the model of forging alliances, where clinical and management experts collaborate towards the goal of providing the best for the patients and the public.


In the UK, you will find many nationalities of doctors working at the hospitals. 1 in 3 doctors are foreigners hailing from different places around the world.


The debate around what’s best for American healthcare rages on, although as a tourist you might be concerned to know that medical blunders are the third biggest cause of death in the US.

Can I afford it? What if I can’t pay?

                     


Since you never know what might happen, you won’t always be able to afford it (not the most nice-sounding, but unfortunately true). You don’t want to end up like this tourist in a Thai hospital with a $56,000 medical bill, or be part of the statistic on unpaid medical bills amassed by tourists in a foreign country because they didn’t have an insurance policy in place.


Depending on the type of activity you’ll be doing on your holiday - whether it is lounging at the beach or going mountain biking - make sure you purchase a travel insurance policy that is tailored to your activities. This is important to ensure sufficient coverage in emergencies, and to avoid any potential loopholes you might face when making a claim for insurance.


Travel insurance plans come in many forms, so always read the list of benefits to know if what you’re looking for is right for you. Also, instead of figuring out whether you will be able to pay for any potential medical mishaps, just secure yourself by buying a travel insurance plan the next time before you go on holiday.


Find travel insurance confusing and hard to understand? Click here.