Cruise to medical savings

The number of Australian cruisers travelling to Malaysia for cheap medical treatment is increasing, according to the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council.

Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean are already calling at major ports in Malaysia and disembarking passengers for medical treatments.

Reubhen Nair from Malaysia Healthcare Travel told Cruise Passenger the council is currently seeking partnerships with more cruise lines so they can create healthcare packages as part of guests’ holidays.

As the cost of healthcare increases – a Cruise Passenger staffer was recently quoted $24,000 for 13 crowns by a leading health insurer in Australia – Mr Nair said Australians, especially pensioners, are now seeing Malaysia as an option to get treated.

In 2014, more than 100,000 foreigners travelled to Malaysia for affordable healthcare – 18,000 were from Australia.

“Malaysia is become one of the leading destinations for people from all over the world to get medical treatment. The infrastructure in Malaysia is advancing and the price of surgeries and hospital stays are regulated.

“And we are starting to see that many of the people who are seeking treatment, are coming from cruise ships,” he said.

“Cruise lines stop in major ports like Klang, Penang and Kuala Lumpur and then they have 24 hours in the port and that’s enough time to get treatments. So for not just Australian passengers, but guests from local regions, it’s just a short cruise to Malaysia and then they not only get a holiday, but affordable medical treatment as well.”

Mr Nair said the most popular procedures among passengers are dental – for example, there are dental and health screening packages that also include a stay at a five-star hotel costs about AU$953, a package, which Mr Nair said is one of the most popular procedures.

Health screening, one of the most common procedures in the world, starts at $85 in Malaysia, while it costs at least $400 in Australia.

The cost of IVF in Australia costs around $9000 for one cycle, while in Malaysia patients can pay between $3000 and $5600.

A single crown in Australia can cost between $1100 and $2000, while in Malaysia it will cost between $647 and $911.

“Dental work is extremely expensive in Australia, so using Malaysian dentists who are often trained in Australia, has become a more affordable option. This is appealing to older couples.

“We have about 67 medical professionals and hospitals that have been approved by the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council. These practitioners offer great services and we are now hoping to set up partnerships with cruise lines.”

For more information on healthcare travel in Malaysia, visit www.medicaltourism.com.my.