Comparison Of Standalone Medical Card Plans In Malaysia

Getting medical coverage for the first time? If you need something simple and affordable, you may need a stand-alone medical card. Here is a comparison of standalone medical cards in Malaysia and how to choose a plan that meets your needs.

But first, what does a medical card cover?

If you are a recent graduate who is no longer eligible for your parents’ medical insurance coverage, it is important to obtain your own medical card. This is because private medical costs are high and increasing every year. This is where a medical card comes in handy – it covers the costs of hospitalization and surgical treatment, so you don’t have to pay these costs out of pocket.

In Malaysia, most medical and health plans are sold with investment-related insurance products, so it’s easy to mix your medical card with other insurance policies. But knowing the difference between these policies is important so that you can identify gaps in your coverage. Here are the differences:

  • Medical card: Covers the costs of hospitalization and surgical treatment.
  • Life insurance: Pay a lump sum in the event of death or total permanent incapacity (where a person is unable to work due to illness or injury).
  • Critical illness insurance. Pay a lump sum if you are diagnosed with one of the covered critical illnesses
  • Hospitalization income insurance. Gives you a daily cash payment while in hospital.

What is the difference between a stand-alone medical card and a medical rider?

There are two types of medical cards: a stand-alone medical card and a medical card endorsement. Here are some of the differences:

Autonomous medical cardMedical card jumper
PoliticsIs sold as a standalone policyIs sold as a rider linked to a main plan, such as an investment linked policy (ILP)
PremiumPremiums increase with ageIf purchased with an ILP, premiums do not increase with age (but can be adjusted to keep up with medical inflation)
AffordabilityUsually cheaperUsually more expensive
Cash valueNoMay have cash value generated from returns on investment

Getting a medical rider with an investment-linked life insurance policy can be a good idea if you have dependents who are financially dependent on you, or if you need a life insurance plan and all-in-one medical care that covers your family too.

But if you’ve just entered the workforce, don’t need life insurance yet, and are looking for an affordable policy to cover your medical bills, you may want to consider a stand-alone medical card.

Malaysia Standalone Medical Card Plans Comparison

One of the hardest parts of buying insurance is browsing a dozen brochures (or looking at reviews from your insurance agent friends) to find a policy that meets your needs.

But don’t worry, we’ve done some research for you. Here is a comparison of 13 different stand-alone medical cards. In the table below you can find a summary of their main features and examples of additional fees depending on your age and gender. If you are viewing this on your desktop, you can use Airtable’s filters to quickly identify plans with features that are important to you (like no annual limits or plans that allow online apps).

Note: Information is accurate as of December 2020. Premium charges are for reference only – your actual premiums may differ based on your occupation, medical history, medical inflation, and other factors. For some diets, the entry age of infants has been rounded to 0.

What should you watch out for when choosing a medical card?

a) Annual limit

This is the maximum you can claim from your insurer within one policy year (depending on when your policy takes effect, not the start of the year).

b) Lifetime limit

This is the maximum you can claim from your insurer. If you have reached this limit, you will no longer benefit from the coverage.

vs) Deductible

This is an upfront payment that you must make before your insurance covers medical expenses. For example, if your plan has a deductible of RM 1,000 and you have a medical bill of RM 5,000, you will need to pay RM 1,000 up front before your insurance covers RM4,000.

Some plans do not have a deductible, while others may give you the option of choosing a deductible in exchange for lower premiums. Choosing a high-deductible plan may make sense, but only if you rarely get sick or injured and are confident that you can afford the deductible.

re) Panel Hospital

Your policy comes with a list of designated hospitals – these are the hospitals that work with your insurer to get you admitted faster. For some plans, you may qualify for cashless admissions, where you won’t have to pay an upfront fee.

If you are being treated at a hospital that is not on the panel list, you will still have coverage, but you will first need to pay your hospital bills and make a medical claim after your discharge. This can be a problem – as well as a burden on your finances – so you might want to consider getting a policy that includes your preferred hospitals on their panel list.

e) Duration of coverage

Some plans offer coverage for up to 100 years; others can only do so until the age of 70. As a young consumer, you can apply for a plan that offers shorter coverage first, and then review your insurance needs later. But if you’re an older consumer who wants continued coverage, you may need to look for a plan that has a longer coverage period, as it might be difficult to get re-approved later.

f) Premium

These are the fees you have to pay to get insurance coverage. Premiums are paid on a fixed schedule (monthly, quarterly or annually). In general, the more expensive plans provide better benefits.

Premiums for standalone medical cards tend to be affordable when you are young. For example, according to the plans we looked at above, the average premium for a 25-year-old man is RM717 per year, or RM 59.75 per month. But premiums will increase with age – at age 60, you could pay around RM 2,800 a year to get the same coverage.

Which stand-alone medical card should you consider?

Based on the comparison above, here are a few shots that we think stand out:

  • If you need full coverage: A-Life Med Regular offers high annual limits (up to RM 150,000 per insured item) and zero lifetime limits, up to 100 years. It also covers post-hospital treatment up to 120 days, the longest coverage available in our comparison.
  • If you need protection on a budget: While Takaful Malaysia’s myClick MediCare doesn’t offer the cheapest plan in our comparison, its premiums are on the lower end. It offers above-average coverage (no lifetime limit, up to an annual limit of RM100,000) for plans in its price range. You can also opt for a franchise plan to take advantage of lower premiums.
  • If you need global coverage: The HLA MedGlobal IV Plus plan covers emergency treatment abroad (subject to limitations and exclusions). It also comes with an annual limit of up to RM 240,000, although it does not state its shelf life limit.

While we’ve provided a few suggestions above, the best medical card for you depends on your specific needs, so be sure to do your own research. Before signing up for a plan, limit yourself to a few options and read their terms and conditions to decide which plan you prefer.

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Jothi Venkat

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