Now, you can also add a fast-growing category to that more traditional list – the medical tourism traveller.
An estimated 15,000 Australians went overseas in 2015 for dental and cosmetic surgery, mostly to south-east Asia.
That number is expected to rise dramatically by the end of 2016 as flight costs come down and healthcare costs increase at home.
The Carousel was invited to see first-hand why Malaysia is pulling in more than its fair share of this burgeoning market.
For starters, Malaysia is an incredibly underrated and beautiful country. From street food markets and $5 massages to luxury shopping and bars on helicopter pads, it’s surprising it’s not on more radars.
Whether you prefer the downtown bustle of capital Kuala Lumpur, the rolling green tea fields of the Cameron Highlands, or lying on the beaches of Panang, Malaysia is a gem simply waiting to be discovered.
What’s more, having surgery in Malaysia can save you an estimated 30-70% for the same procedures in Australia. That means you’re pretty much getting an amazing holiday while you’re there for free!
Now, for those wanting to plan a cosmetic procedure, it’s certainly a big step and would-be patients need to do their homework before jetting off. Many Australians are fearful and unsure about travelling overseas to get surgery.
But there are safety nets you can put in place, like looking for insurance cover.
Many insurance companies are venturing into covering overseas elective surgeries due to high demand from their clients. A great example of this is GoInsurance which covers dental tourism in Malaysia. Patients can also opt to pay additional premium via US based, Global Protected Solutions.
There are also a slew of well-respected hospitals in Malaysia – and most importantly they are accredited by the Malaysian Healthcare Travel Council, Malaysia’s largest healthcare group.
Private medical facilities in Malaysia are required to work with the Ministry of Health and be licensed under the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act 1998. This allows all hospitals to be monitored closely and gives assurance to patients.
Also don’t forget, Malaysia was a British colony until 1957, so English is very well spoken and therefore communication issues shouldn’t arise.
With that in mind, here’s our handy guide of what the medical tourist can expect once you arrive.
We visited two dental clinics – The Imperial Dental Specialist Centre in the Bangsar Village, Kuala Lumpur and DentalPro Dental Specialist Centre just outside the Bangsar Hills, Kuala Lumpur. For both of them, the dentists and surgeons communicate with your dental surgeon at home about the work carried out. This includes both pre and post surgery to ensure your health is always in the best hands.
The award-winning centre treats more than 100 patients a day (many from overseas). From bridges, crowns and veneers, to sinus lifts and whole mouth rehabilitation, this integrated beauty and aesthetic centre is designed to cater to all your needs. You can even book a free consultation through the website.
The guest book is filled to the brim with positive comments written by foreigners. Located in the cosmopolitan suburb Bangsar, this centre is not your typical sterilised white medical centre, but a tranquil, pristine clean sanctuary. The staff are renowned for their friendliness, and top-notch before and after medical treatment.
Need a nip and tuck? The local trend is to break up a day at the beach by popping in to a clinic for a ‘touch up’. From facelifts to botox, and breast enlargements, prices are extremely affordable, with savings on breast enlargements being around 50% of what you pay in Australia. Botox is high up on the list of the most popular procedures for Australians because of the very little down-time that is involved.
Freezing your eggs in Malaysia and transporting them home can save you a lot of money, up to a whopping 60%, that will make the long, emotional process of freezing your eggs a little easier. We visited Fertility Associates and found out that many patients opt to have their pre-treatment here due to much lower costs. This includes tests, analysis and scans. Bearing in mind that Australian medicare does not cover egg freezing and then throwing in an extra few hundred dollars for a return flight to Malaysia, you could be saving thousands of dollars while enjoying a well-deserved holiday!
WHERE TO STAY
This gorgeous city centre 5-star hotel is just a short walk away from all of Kuala Lumpur’s hotspots: Jalan alor street food night market, the unbeatable food court Hutong 10, luxury shopping centres and Chinatown. This hotel is really a paradise amongst the sky scrapers.
This hotel is a force to be reckoned with. Built in 1932, this national heritage site stays true to its era. Featuring gorgeous amenities such as an outdoor pool, fantastic interactive buffet, spa, high tea lounge, restaurants, a Gentlemen’s Club, black and white indoor cinema, the worlds oldest barber and a ball room.
To find out more about taking your health to Malaysia go to the MHTC website and to find out where to eat and shop in Kuala Lumpur click here!
Millie Constable travelled to Malaysia courtesy of Malaysia Healthcare Tourism Council