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Health Insurance for Expats in Singapore

Submitted: April 2014

As social insurance does not necessarily meet 100% of your healthcare costs, private health insurance may prove to be a good supplement – if you can afford it. In theory, social insurance would likely be comprehensive enough to pay any expensive medically necessary treatment you may have. Uncovered items would typically include things that can be paid out-of-pocket, such as smaller bills or non-medically necessary treatment.

If, however, you are not insured by Singapore's Central Provident Fund (CPF), you will have to foot your medical bills in full. In such cases, private health insurance is strongly recommended.

Full upfront payment is not always required, especially if you are resident in Singapore with a Singaporean insurance policy or CPF coverage. In such cases, the bill would be sent to your address later on.

It is anyway advisable to get your insurance arrangements in order prior to entering Singapore.

Employer-provided private health insurance

Private medical insurance may be part of salary packages offered by Singapore-based employers. This is typically available from large employers, rather than SMEs.

International cover

You should check the geographical coverage of your existing insurance policy, if you have any.

If you have a foreign policy but you haven't been sold it as an international insurance cover specifically designed for expats, your policy is unlikely to work in Singapore. In that case, you should let your insurer know that you are moving to Singapore, and switch to an international cover. Your insurer is likely to charge you extra for this, but do bear in mind that the very fact of being insured in several countries carries an extra burden as well.

If you need to have Singapore covered by an international health insurance policy, premiums will typically be no lower than $1,000 per year.

A good international cover would insure you against:

  • medical costs in Singapore
  • medical costs in your home country (or another relevant foreign country), and
  • medical evacuation costs (without adequate insurance, these can be well above $10,000).

If you are coming to Singapore only for a temporary visit, you probably don't need international health insurance if you have appropriate travel insurance.

 

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