The 2021 report for most expensive cities to live in conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit listed Singapore as the second most expensive city to live in the world. Going by this, it's no doubt that healthcare in Singapore is expensive as well. However, in Singapore, healthcare is ranked one of the best in the world due to the government's heavy investments in research universities to produce top notch digital, consumer-driven healthcare for its citizens. This article further breaks down the reasons for why healthcare is so expensive in Singapore.
In Singapore, you have the option to choose from a private or public facility. Your decision will significantly affect the price of your consultation. You will often find that private hospitals and clinics offer a price range higher than the public ones. However, it appears that difference has narrowed over the years due to the direct competition between the two. Why is the private sector more expensive? It provides a better service level, often with more privacy and minimum waiting time. It is the preferred choice for most of the expatriates living in Singapore and medical tourists.
There are various subsidised healthcare services provided to Singapore citizens and permanent residents through government health care facilities. These services help citizens and PRs cover their medical bills. Expatriates do not benefit from these; therefore, they will face higher rates in public hospitals. If you are an expatriate coming to live in Singapore, you might want to consider buying private health insurance.
You will sometimes have the opportunity to choose between seeing a junior or a senior doctor in Singapore. The medical system here, values experience, and time spent practicing. Therefore you can expect to pay a higher price with a more senior doctor.
As you might have understood so far, health care is costly for expatriates in Singapore. This is partially due to the fact that medical facilities are outfitted with top-notch equipment and some of the most advanced technologies available in medicine. Medical professionals are highly trained, internationally experienced and boast a broad range of medical specialties, meaning you will definitely find an expert in a relevant field of medicine who is able to clearly communicate with you in English and sometimes other languages too.
When choosing your hospital or clinic, location is a primary considering factor. Depending where it is, the prices might be higher or lower. For example, a facility in the Central Business District is going to be more expensive than a family clinic in the north of Singapore. However, needing an excessive amount of travel for every consultation can be restricting and inconvenient. We often recommend our members to find one doctor near home and near their office, or children's school just in case they need fast access to a clinic. So consider taking out a comprehensive health insurance plan that would cover both you & your family's outpatient and inpatient expenses.
For you to optimise your healthcare expenses, you should consider the following factors: private vs. public facilities, private insurance vs. paying out of pocket, junior vs. senior doctors, and balancing the convenience vs cost of a facility due to its location.
Want to find out more? Our insurance experts would be happy to give you more information about the healthcare system in Singapore and help you tailor-make your own insurance plan to cover your medical expenses.
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