The philosophy of the Ministry of Health in Singapore is to provide quality and affordable medical services for all, while promoting a healthy lifestyle, as well as advocating preventive health programs. The structure of the health system is such that it strives to provide access to health care in a timely and cost-effective manner. It is in this context that the country is home to 14 public hospitals, numerous private clinics, polyclinics, and several specialized health care centers
Even if it’s the last thing we want from you, a visit to a Singaporean public hospital is far from different, if not better, than a visit to a Western hospital. In
The public healthcare system in Singapore has four main components: MediSave, MediShield Life, MediFund and ElderShield. In addition to these services, many Singaporeans also choose to secure supplementary private health insurance, and it is strongly advised to check with your employer whether such provisions are present as part of your employment contract.
Workers and visitors who are not classified as permanent residents will not enjoy subsidized access to health care, even if they pay similar tax levels to residents. Although they can access basic services such as general practitioners or polyclinics, it is often difficult for newcomers to identify appropriate providers. Hospital services are often expensive, so it is important that foreigners first ensure adequate insurance coverage in Singapore.
MediSave is a type of compulsory health cover offered to employees in Singapore . It is intended to cover the medical needs of any individual or dependent, as well as all necessary health care in old age.
Employees contribute between 8% and 10.5% of their monthly salary to a medical savings account called MSA. All of these funds are then used to finance any health expenditure, less reimbursements made by the government. Contribution levels are based on age, and the maximum amount that can be withdrawn is fixed. When MSA holders die, their MSA account can be transferred to their heirs.
You can use MediSave to pay for the following:
Payment of premiums
If you or your legal dependents need to make health insurance payments, you can use MediSave to pay them. Plus, you’ll be able to fully cover MediShield Life, ElderShield, and CareShield Life premiums with MediSave. If you need to make payments under your Integrated Shield Plan or ElderShield Supplement, you can use MediSave to pay those premiums (up to withdrawal limits).
If you or your official dependent needs an inpatient procedure, you can use MediSave. The amount you can claim is subject to the total of your daily hospital expense limit and the surgical limit.
The daily hospital charge limit will apply if you need to stay in hospital for at least eight hours. And the surgical limit will depend specifically on the type of surgery, more precisely, on its complexity.
There are certain types of outpatient care for which you will be able to use MediSave. If you are with the MediSave500 or MediSave700 scheme, you will be able to use up to S$700 per patient per year if you have complex chronic conditions. The limit is S$500 for certain other treatments, such as vaccinations, asthma treatments and health screenings (such as mammograms).
If you need palliative care in a hospital setting, rehabilitation or palliative care at home and gerontological care in a retirement home, you can use MediSave. If you are severely disabled and over 30, you can withdraw up to S$200 per month for long-term care.
For more information on any of the public health care programs listed above, see the Department of Health website.
Health insurance in Singapore
MediShield is a mandatory health coverage scheme for all Singaporeans and permanent residents. Its purpose is to finance expenses associated with more serious illnesses, major surgeries or long-term treatments that would not be covered by MediSave. This ensures that if you have large health care bills (which is rare, but it can happen), you won’t be in default if you become seriously ill. Specifically, MediShield Life will pay for certain expensive outpatient treatments, for example, if you need chemotherapy for cancer.
MediShield Life pools your claims with others in a similar age group. This way, there are lower premiums, especially for those in the lower income bracket. If you want additional coverage, you can use the Standard Integrated Shield Plan.
If you don’t have enough money in your MediSave account, or if you don’t have an account at all, you can ask family members to help pay your premiums. Otherwise, you can request what is called Additional Premium Support.
You will not be arrested for not paying for your health care. However, the government stipulates that you cannot leave Singapore unless you pay any amount due to the Health Services. And if you try to leave anyway, you risk penalties or even arrest.