Nestled in the southern tip of Malaysia, Singapore regularly ranks as one of the world’s best destinations for expats. And for good reason: the country known as ‘the Switzerland of Asia’ is one of the richest, most dynamic, and safest countries on earth. Whether you’re coming on your own, with your better half or your entire family, this bite-sized nation has something to offer for everyone. And if you think you’re only going to stay for a couple of years, you’ll probably wind up mistaken! Just like you, a whole suite of expats felt the same way, until they fell in love with the city and stayed much longer…
With ultra-efficient medical services, highly trained medical staff, and top-notch facilities, Singapore boasts one of the best healthcare systems in Asia (ahead of Hong Kong and Japan) — and some might say, in the entire world. And this is not the only sector where the small city-state shines: it is also a world leader in financial services, agrotechnology and intellectual property, to name a few. But first-class healthcare comes at a price, making private health insurance indispensable.
If you want to understand the basics of the healthcare system in Singapore and why you’ll need private international health insurance as an expatriate, read on!
Healthcare in Singapore
For many years, healthcare has been one of the top priorities of Singapore’s government. Healthcare services are offered in 22 health facilities, including government-subsidised, company-run public medical institutions as well as independent private healthcare centres. In both the public and private sectors, you will, without a doubt, get premium medical care.
In the public health sector, you will get great medical care
Public health institutions (public hospitals, polyclinics, specialised health centres) are equipped with the latest medical technology and highly qualified medical staff. The quality of public healthcare is very good and its services highly efficient. The public health institutions include general healthcare services and specialised service units.
In the private health sector, you will get five-star treatment and efficient medical care
Although there are still fewer private health facilities than public medical institutions, the private health sector has grown considerably over the past few years.
In comparison to the public sector, what are the main differences with the private healthcare system?
- You get quicker access to medical care
- Five-star treatment and comfort
- Medical fees are substantially more expensive
Therefore, the patient base in private healthcare institutions is mainly foreign (and above all well covered!), wealthier and more ‘exclusive’ than in the public sector.
Singapore’s health insurance system is based on capitalised contributions
Singapore’s National Health Plan (the Singaporean public healthcare system) is mainly based on 3 pillars (‘the 3Ms’): Medisave, Medishield and Medifund.
Medisave is a compulsory health coverage for employees in Singapore. In fact, it works as a personal savings scheme dedicated to healthcare: every month, Singapore residents contribute to this fund with an amount comprised between 6 and 9.5 % of their income. This sum is put onto a Medical Saving Account (MSA) and capitalised. This account, also funded by the employer, will be used to pay for the MSA holder’s medical expenses.
Medishield is a voluntary health insurance plan which helps pay for high-cost medical treatments, including serious illnesses, major surgery, or long-term treatment. The high contributions provide good coverage for specialised healthcare. High contributions to this scheme serve to cover large expenses for specific healthcare interventions.
For both of these health coverage plans, the level of financial contributions varies mainly according to the age and income of the patient.
Medifund is a fund set up by the government to provide a safety net for patients with low income who experience financial difficulties in paying their medical bills.
Only Singaporeans and permanent residents are eligible for coverage under Singapore’s public health insurance system and can use Medisave and Medishield to finance their health expenses.
In other words, if you are not a permanent resident in Singapore (yet!), you should definitely consider one of our private international health insurance schemes! Without proper health coverage, healthcare costs in Singapore can quickly escalate and become exorbitant.
Private international health insurance is the best solution for expatriates
You got it: if you plan to live in Singapore for several months, or even several years, you should choose an international private health insurance tailored to your expatriate lifestyle.
Foyer Global Health makes sure you’ll start your new life in Singapore without having to worry about your health expenses. We provide our expatriate community with several international health insurance plans (Essential, Special or Exclusive) at competitive prices depending on your needs.
- To provide you with international health coverage that works in your home country, your destination country, and wherever life takes you
- To offer health coverage that works from the first euro and matches your needs
- Our international health insurance plans for expatriates are compatible with all healthcare facilities in Singapore
- You have quick access to excellent healthcare providers in the health facility of your choosing
- In case of hospitalisation, we take care of everything: you will not have to pay for medical treatment in advance
- No delay for the reimbursement of your medical expenses
- Full digital user experience (multilingual messaging, 24/7 online medical services)
Do you need more information? Our experts are ready to help you find the best international health insurance plan for your expatriate adventure to Singapore!