The Healthcare System In Singapore And What Expats Should Know
Are you fascinated by Singapore and all it has to offer? If so, you are not alone! Every year, tens of thousands of people from all corners of the world head to the Lion City to roll the dice, and not just in one of its glittering casinos. They come to work, to study, to explore…the list goes on. Many of them even end up staying there for good.
One thing you must prepare for before your move is health insurance. Sure, Singapore’s healthcare is world-class, but the medical bills can break the bank if you are not insured. In this article, the competent fellows at Pacific Prime Singapore provide an overview of the Singapore system and what you should bear in mind as you decide what health plan is right for you.
An overview of the Singaporean healthcare system
The Ministry of Health manages Singapore’s public healthcare system, which is funded by the government and public subsidies. Its aim is to provide healthcare that is affordable but not free to all citizens and permanent residents (PRs).
To help finance the public healthcare system, the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board administers a basic health insurance plan called MediShield Life. This plan assists with the payment of large hospital bills and costly outpatient treatments like dialysis and chemotherapy for cancer.
MediShield Life’s structure is such that patients pay less MediSave/cash for large hospital bills. Coverage is automatic for all Singapore citizens and PRs.
MediSave is a national medical savings scheme that assists citizens and PRs in setting aside a portion of their monthly income to pay for their medical care expenses or those of their immediate family.
MediSave savings can be used to pay for expenses like hospitalization fees, outpatient or day surgery expenses, and healthcare needs for the elderly. MediSave is mandatory for self-employed persons, citizens, and PRs with an annual net trade income of more than SGD $6,000.
In addition to the public healthcare system, Singapore has a thriving private healthcare market that offers services of even higher quality and flexibility than those available in the public system. Private insurers provide Integrated Shield Plans that enhance MediShield Life for locals, as well as local and international health plans primarily for expats and foreigners.
So what are your options?
For as long as you are not a Singaporean PR or citizen, your only options are international private medical insurance (IPMI) and health insurance for expats.
One great thing about IPMI is that you will be covered wherever you may be (except if you are in an excluded territory). However, the downside of IPMI plans is that they typically cost much more than a health plan for expats with a similar level of coverage.
By contrast, if you become a PR or citizen of Singapore, then you may opt to simply rely on Singapore’s MediShield Life or secure an Integrated Shield Plan. Alternatively, you may keep your IPMI or expat health plan, but remember that since participation in MediShield Life is mandatory for citizens and PRs, you will then have “overlapped coverage”.
If you secure a new health plan at a later time, normally, your eligibility, terms and premium will depend on your age and health at that time. That’s something to remember if you are thinking about discontinuing your current health plan.
Contact Pacific Prime Singapore to discuss your needs today!
With 20+ years of experience in the insurance industry, Pacific Prime Singapore often knows the answer before their client is aware of the question. Their ability to help you find the plan that meets your requirements and fits your budget is unsurpassed. What’s more, you don’t have to pay extra compared to going straight to the insurer.
So, contact them for a FREE plan comparison today!