Healthcare in Singapore

There are a great many reasons why Singapore is so hugely popular with expats from all over the world. It was recently voted the number one Asian city by the Mercer Quality of Living rankings. As well as scoring highly on factors such as opportunities for career progression, personal safety and higher wages, Singapore is a global frontrunner thanks to its excellent standard of healthcare too – one of the most important factors to consider as an expat.
Healthcare in Singapore
The consideration of healthcare might not be as initially arresting as the potential for a higher disposable income or an improvement in your children’s quality of life, but nevertheless it needs to come top of the priority list.
Fortunately, those considering a move to Singapore will be delighted to hear that 63% of HSBC Expat Explorer respondents rated Singapore as an easy destination in which to set up healthcare and that the city-state was ranked sixth best location in the world for expat health. With the World Bank charting the population’s life expectancy at 82 years in 2013, it seems like Singapore is certainly doing something right.
However, despite Singapore’s grade A healthcare standards and affordable government plans, not all the options are available to foreign workers. We’ve put together a brief guide to help you understand the Singapore healthcare system.
Government healthcare
Government healthcare in Singapore is subsidised and directed by the Ministry of Health and the Central Provident Fund Board (CPF). There is a selection of government schemes available for permanent residents which serve to reimburse the greater part of any medical bills, but the majority of expats subscribe to a supplementary insurance policy to cover any additional costs.
The provisions for public healthcare are structured around four different insurance plans – Medisave (to cover general medical costs), Medishield (for more serious conditions), Eldershield (for elderly patients with long-term disabilities) and Medifund (financial assistance on a case-by-case basis for those who cannot afford their medical bills). These plans are available to citizens and permanent residents (apart from Medifund which is solely for Singaporean citizens).
Health insurance options for temporary residents
Expats who do not have permanent residency in Singapore need to make alternative provisions for healthcare – it is a legal requirement for foreign workers to have healthcare cover.
In general, there are two main insurance package options to choose from. In-patient only covers treatment that requires hospitalisation, leaving the individual to foot their own doctor’s fees; or full coverage which offers comprehensive cover including outpatient treatment and even consultation costs.
The best way to seek out a suitable expat insurance plan is to approach your HR department or to independently shop around international health insurance providers such as Bupa or Aviva. Check the small print to ensure your family are also covered, that you fully understand the procedure for claims and that repatriation is also reimbursed. Some expats even check the cost of medical treatment in Malaysia is covered by their scheme – facilities in Kuala Lumpur are excellent and the fees are considerably lower.
Despite the price-tag, you can rest assured that Singapore’s world class medical facilities offer some of the best healthcare to be found in the world.
If you are considering moving to Singapore, Cadogan Tate will assist you every step of the way – from your first enquiry  to unpacking at your new home, we are here to help and advise you. For more details about Cadogan Tate’s specialist international removals services from London, click here.
Information correct at time of publication.