Whether you’re a newcomer or have been living in Singapore for a number of years, chances are you or a family member will eventually need to see a doctor. While Singapore is world-renowned for its advanced healthcare system, costs can be steep. Health insurance is therefore imperative. But it isn’t always easy finding the right coverage – especially when there are countless plans to choose from. Here, the team from Pacific Prime Singapore discusses the top five expat health insurance options available 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. Expats are therefore highly advised to get private cover.
#2 Employer-provided health insurance
Most expats in Singapore will have health insurance that’s sponsored by their employer. 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 with 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. This option only covers care in Singapore, although some may offer limited coverage for short overseas trips.
While local plans tend to be cheaper than international ones, there are some drawbacks to this type of plan. For example, local plans are usually renewable upon mutual agreement. This means 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 plans are ideal for frequent travellers and globally mobile expats. They tend to feature higher coverage limits and a wider range of benefits in your country of residence, ensuring you have access to the highest quality care possible.
While this health insurance option is generally more costly than local ones, 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 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.
Choosing the appropriate expat health insurance in Singapore, on the other hand, 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 one for your needs. Contact Pacific Prime Singapore for a free consultation and quote today.
Read more in our Health & Fitness section!