While Singapore is world-renowned for its advanced healthcare system, costs can be steep. Health insurance for foreigners in Singapore who aren’t covered by the government’s healthcare subsidies is imperative. Here, the team from Pacific Prime Singapore discusses health insurance for expats and travellers to help you make an informed decision.
#1 Medishield Life
Medishield Life, a basic health insurance scheme administered by the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board, primarily covers large hospital bills and costly outpatient treatments at public facilities (for example, kidney dialysis). If you’re a Permanent Resident (PR) or Singaporean Citizen, you’ll be automatically enrolled, regardless of age or pre-existing conditions. This doesn’t cover health insurance for expats on employment passes and they are, therefore, advised to get private insurance cover.
#2 Employer-provided health insurance for expats
Most health insurance for expats in Singapore is sponsored by their employers. Many plans feature the Medical History Disregard (MHD) clause, meaning pre-existing conditions are covered as long as they’re not explicitly excluded in the policy T&Cs. This is a major advantage of employer-provided health plans. That said, MHD is not available in all plans, so it’s always important to be aware of your policy’s specific benefits.
Another thing to watch out for is whether your employer-provided plan fits your healthcare needs. Every plan is different, and some may exclude certain benefits. These are some of the most common coverage limitations to watch out for:
- Singapore-only coverage
- No outpatient benefits
- No dental and maternity benefits
- Limited network of doctors and specialists
- No preventative care benefits
- No wellness benefits
In instances like this, consider purchasing top-up health insurance to supplement the policy.
#3 Local health insurance
If you don’t have employer-provided health insurance or access to public healthcare subsidies, consider securing local health insurance in Singapore. This option usually only covers care here, although some may offer limited coverage for short overseas trips.
While local plans tend to be cheaper than international ones, there are some drawbacks. For example, these plans are usually renewable upon mutual agreement. This means that the insurer can decide to refuse to renew your policy if you develop a serious condition during your policy period.
#4 International health insurance
Designed to cover policyholders on a worldwide basis, international health insurance for expats and frequent travellers is ideal. This type of health insurance option tends to feature higher coverage limits and a wider range of benefits in your country of residence, ensuring you have access to the highest quality healthcare possible.
While international health insurance is generally more costly than a local plan, the pros definitely outweigh the cons. They are typically guaranteed lifetime renewable and offer more options for pre-existing condition coverage – for example, via an additional premium or waiting period.
#5 Dental insurance
Having a health insurance plan doesn’t necessarily mean that you have dental coverage. Whether you have an existing policy without dental benefits or no plan and want to take care of your dental health without paying out of pocket, dental insurance is highly advisable in Singapore. Dental fees here are notoriously high, with treatment courses potentially costing tens of thousands of Singaporean dollars.
If you already have an existing health insurance plan, you can add dental benefits to it. Alternatively, you can work with a reputable insurance broker to create a standalone plan consisting mainly of dental benefits to meet your needs.
#6 Maternity insurance
If you are planning on having a family while overseas, maternity insurance is another key type of health insurance for foreigners in Singapore to consider. However, it’s important to mention right off the bat that standalone maternity insurance policies don’t exist. This means you’ll need to add maternity cover to a health insurance plan, giving you access to other benefits such as inpatient care and outpatient consultations.
What’s more, you should add maternity benefits to your insurance policy as early as possible since they come with a waiting period of anywhere from 10 to 24 months. This means you’ll have to wait until the specified time period is up before you can make a claim.
#7 Newborn insurance
Prenatal expenses generally range from SGD $6,000 to SGD $10,000 if labour and delivery go well. However, costs can increase significantly if complications with the newborn arise, such as premature birth or congenital disorders. Therefore, it is imperative for expectant parents in Singapore to secure health insurance that offers newborn coverage benefits.
While maternity insurance plans sometimes cover complications for a certain period after delivery, your best bet is to look into newborn insurance options that can continue to cover your baby after delivery.
#8 COVID-19 insurance
Mounting hospital bills are a major concern with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. While the Singapore Government is paying for COVID-19 inpatient treatment in public hospitals for Singaporeans, Singapore residents, and long-term pass holders (as long as they do not travel out of Singapore), expats must cover the costs themselves. That is, unless you have insurance coverage for COVID-19-related treatment, or COVID-19 insurance.
COVID-19 insurance plans provide an additional level of financial security by offering a combination of medical, life insurance and personal accident coverage. Depending on your policy, coverage could include daily hospitalisation/ICU allowance, post-hospitalisation cash benefit, and death benefit.
Are you travelling to Singapore?
If you’re entering Singapore as a short-term visitor, you are required to secure travel insurance for COVID-19-related medical treatment and hospitalisation costs with a minimum coverage of S$30,000. Be sure to purchase travel insurance before travelling to Singapore and prepare a digital or physical copy of your insurance policy for entry into the country.
Summary of health insurance for foreigners in Singapore
So, to sum it up, choosing the best medical insurance for expats in Singapore depends on your specific situation. For example, your residency status, whether you have adequate employer-provided health insurance and your healthcare needs.
As a leading insurance broker, Pacific Prime Singapore can help compare health insurance plans to ensure you get the best expat insurance for your needs. Contact Pacific Prime Singapore for a free consultation and quote today.
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