Guide To Buying Expat Health Insurance In Singapore
With the COVID-19 pandemic that is yet to be over, it makes it even more worthwhile to get some decent health insurance to protect yourself and your loved ones in these unpredictable times. If you’re an expat staying or working in Singapore, you should get a more comprehensive health insurance plan instead of just relying on your employee insurance, as Singapore’s high healthcare costs may burn a hole in your pocket in situations when you least expect it.
Are you an expat in Singapore? Get your health insurance here today!
Why is it important for foreigners to get health insurance?
Besides not being able to get government healthcare subsidies from the Singapore government, there are many reasons to get health insurance as an expat here.
Be covered against any risks and excessive health expenses
You never know when you may fall ill or get into an accident, so even if you do not fall sick often, you shouldn’t take it for granted and it is still safer to be insured against any possibilities.
Have a customised health insurance plan
While many companies provide a group health insurance plan to cover you as their employee, there is no guarantee that the coverage is extensive enough for you and your family as expats in Singapore. So, by having a plan that is tailored to the specific needs of your health condition, it helps expedite any claims whenever necessary and it saves time as well.
Get insured during your trips
Despite being based in Singapore as an expat, you may need to travel around for your work and getting an international health insurance plan will come in handy as you will receive medical coverage 24/7 wherever you fly to.
Enjoy access to a personal advisor
When you’re miles away from your home and in a foreign country, it can be challenging at times with language and cultural barriers, and getting medical help can turn into a hassle. However, when you can rely on your dedicated personal health insurance advisor via a 24-hour hotline that is available anytime you may need assistance, you will not need to worry much about getting the help that you need,
Best Expat Health Insurance For Foreigners In Singapore
|Best for||Health insurance plan||Estimated annual premium rate (as of 10 Aug 2022)|
|COVID-19 coverage and medical expenses||AIA HealthShield Gold Max||From $558|
|Pre-existing conditions||AXA International Exclusive Plan B||From $1176.30|
|Overall good value||Great Eastern SupremeHealth||From $712|
|Elderly||MSIG Prestige Healthcare Elite||From $3,109|
|Family||FWD International Health Insurance||From $4,317.78|
|Maternity||Liberty MyHealth International Insurance Essential||From $7,304.89|
|*Estimated premium rates are based on either a 35-year-old individual, a family of three with 1 3-year-old child, or a 65-year-old elderly person.|
How To Choose an IP or International Health Insurance Plan?
There are the 3 main types of health insurance plans foreigners in Singapore can choose from. However, before making a decision, you have to consider what your policy covers you for, as some provide coverage for healthcare, travel and relocation, while others don’t.
Whether the type of insurance policy is ideal for you will depend on your current health situation, the cost and quality of the local health care system and hospitals, if you are settled in your country of residence or move frequently, how often you travel, and many other factors. So, to start, here are a few simple steps to select the type of right plan for you and/or your loved ones travelling or residing with you.
Pick local providers (Government or private)
Integrated shield plans administered by the Central Provident FundIntegrated shield plans, the basic national health insurance plan for Singaporeans.
Government-related plans aside, a number of private local insurance providers do offer international health insurance plans specifically for expats. These international health insurance plans are different from Integrated Shield Plans as they comprise broader coverage benefits.
Consider your dependents
If you’re not alone in Singapore as an expat, you may wish to get international health insurance plans that cover your family all in one policy. The premiums may be quite high, but they’re worth it if your spouse and kids get covered too. Plus, this is something that the local Integrated Shield plans do not offer at the moment as you’ll have to purchase individual plans instead.
For instance, private global health insurance providers like FWD International Health insurance offer plans that help you to cover yourself, your spouse and up to 4 children with a comprehensive coverage of up to S$3 million per year. There’s even a No-Claim Bonus included in this family coverage plan, so you and your family members get to enjoy double the limit at no extra cost if you don’t make any hospitalisation claims for 2 years.
However, if due to any unforeseen circumstances where your claims exceed your annual limit, FWD International Health insurance also provides a Reload Benefit, and you’ll be able to cover any additional hospitalisation costs due to an accident in the same year.
Get travel insurance coverage if needed
International health insurance coverage usually suffices for travel trips as it can reduce your healthcare costs in many countries, but this is if you travel frequently for lengthy periods of time and require routine medical care. At times, having a travel insurance plan to complement your health insurance plan can help suit your unique requirements as an expat who travels often. Hospitals in certain countries, on the other hand, provide excellent care at a very low cost, but it’ll take weeks to schedule an appointment for non-emergency conditions.
What Is The Average Cost Of Expat Health Insurance?
As you compare across our round-up of the best 6 IP and international health insurers’ benefits and premiums, the average cost of an IP or international health insurance plan for a 35-year-old individual is about $1,339.
Estimated average cost of a travel insurance plan:
$558 + $1,176.30 + $712 + $996 + $1,830.18 + $2,757.39 = $8,029.87
$8,029.87 ÷ 6 = $1,338.31
If you’re looking at more cost-efficient plans, perhaps those by AIA, Great Eastern, and MSIG would be more suitable, especially for AIA HealthShield Gold Max as you’ll get a pretty generous annual claim limit of $2 million a year with a lower annual premium payable as compared to the other 5 plans.
When considering more comprehensive coverage for, FWD International Health Insurance may be a better option as it offers the highest coverage limit of $6,000,000 (if the No Claim Bonus is applicable to you) among all these plans that we’re comparing.
|Expat Health insurance plan||Maximum annual coverage limit||Emergency Evacuation and Repatriation||Outpatient and inpatient surgery coverage||Estimated annual premium|
|AIA HealthShield Gold Max||Up to $2,000,000||Full coverage (limited to Singapore Private Hospital charges)||Full coverage||From $558|
|AXA International Exclusive Plan B||Up to $4,500,000||Available as an add-on with separate charges||Full coverage||From $1,176.30|
|Great Eastern SupremeHealth||Up to $1,500,000||Full coverage (limited to Singapore Private Hospital charges)||Full coverage||From $712|
|MSIG Prestige Healthcare Elite||Up to $900,000||Up to $300,000||Up to $300,000||From $996|
|FWD International Health Insurance||Up to $3,000,000 (No Claim Bonus entitlement: Your annual limit doubles when you don’t make any hospitalisation claims for 2 years)||Up to $1,000,000||From $5,000 to full coverage||From $1,830.18|
|Liberty MyHealth International Insurance Essential||Up to $2,000,000||Up to $1,370,000||Full coverage||From $2757.39|
|*Estimated premium rates are based on a 35-year-old individual.|
Advantages & Disadvantages of Integrated Shield Plans (IPs) vs. International Health Insurance Plans
Before you pick health insurance plans, you’ve got to know how to choose and where to get them, so that you’ll have adequate coverage that is suitable for your needs. There’s no point getting too much coverage that may be too costly or worse, getting a plan that doesn’t give sufficient coverage which may have you forking out extra money in the end.
Here are some pros and cons to note when deciding between integrated shield plans or international health plans as an expat in Singapore.
- Integrated shield plans are much more affordable and have lower premiums than most international health insurance plans.
- International health insurance plans often provide a wider range of add-on benefits that includes dental, vision and screening, maternity/pregnancy-related complications, newborn-related conditions, and more.
- International insurance plans have a wider extent of coverage than integrated shield plans, providing payouts for more than just hospitalisation, such as visits to GPs and specialists.
- You’ll have more options when you’re an international health insurance plan holder as compared to an integrated shield plan holder. For international health insurance plans, you can opt for the deductible you want, or pay a higher premium to avoid having to pay any deductible, and you’ll be able to choose between different co-payment amounts, or pay a higher premium to avoid having to pay any co-insurance at all.
- Most international health insurance companies are able to pay your healthcare provider directly.
- Unlike many international insurance plans that will allow you to opt to include outpatient treatment and visits to GPs and specialists as an add-on, integrated shield plans will only provide payouts if you are hospitalised, in which case you will also be able to claim for outpatient treatment prior to and after hospitalisation.
- Integrated shield plans usually do not cover other add-on benefits or coverage for dental, vision and screening, maternity/pregnancy-related complications, newborn-related conditions.
- For integrated shield plans, there’s usually a compulsory co-payment portion of at least 5%, although you can buy an add-on that caps annual co-payment amounts.
- Most integrated shield plans require you to pay your healthcare provider upfront first before the insurer will reimburse you the amount.
Integrated Shield Plans For Expats
Known for its highest-in-market medical coverage at a cost-effective price, this integrated shield plan comes in several tiers depending on whether you’re keen on public or private healthcare. Expats can opt for the highest private healthcare tier, which is still relatively affordable.
Moreover, you’ll be entitled to a generous annual claim limit of $2 million a year and lengthy pre- and post-hospitalisation coverage of 13 months. Just note that you have to go through an AIA panel healthcare provider to enjoy these benefits.
Providing one of the cheapest integrated shield plans on the market, Great Eastern’s range is decent although the coverage isn’t as extensive as that of AIA as the yearly claim limit is only $1.5 million.
However, you can get a Certificate of Pre-authorisation from one of the healthcare providers on their panel, which bumps up your post-hospitalisation cover to 365 days, and there are also riders available such as the GREAT TotalCare Plus rider covers overseas medical treatment (emergencies or otherwise), giving you the option to seek treatment closer to your friends and family back home.
International Health Insurance Plans For Expats
Among the more affordable international health insurance plans you’ll find in Singapore, this tier is the lowest tier in a series of three plans. If you require more coverage, the Deluxe or Platinum plans may be more suitable. With coverage for hospitalisation and related services that is up to $900,000, this is considered slightly lower than the other plans on this list.
What’s more you get an additional $300,000 of international cover when you travel outside your country of residence, on top of emergency medical evacuation and repatriation coverage. There’s also an optional add-on for maternity benefits if you’re planning for a child.
This plan covers inpatient and outpatient costs worldwide, ensuring you the privilege of staying in a private room, and the flexibility of adjusting your deductible and cost sharing based on the premiums you are willing to pay.
There are several optional add-ons that you can purchase to supplement your basic coverage, and these include full cancer and newborn care cover, international evacuation and crisis assurance, international outpatient cover, international health and wellbeing and international vision and dental. Without additional add-ons, you only get up to $15,000 worth of outpatient benefits.
The Essential plan includes a decent range of benefits such as inpatient and outpatient costs, as well as 30 days of pre-hospitalisation and 90 days of post-hospitalisation benefits.
Other international health insurance plans by Liberty come with coverage for emergency medical evacuation and repatriation, legal expenses and assistance, and cancer treatment and organ transplants. They have optional add-ons like outpatient treatment, maternity care and dental and optical as well.
Featuring the benefit of doubling your annual limit when you do not make any hospitalisation claims for two years, FWD’s international health insurance plan is highly customisable with an annual limit ranging from $100,000 to $3 million, and the flexibility of adjusting your deductible to be anywhere from $0 to $10,000.
In addition, your annual limit is also automatically reloaded if you have used it and need to pay for accidental hospitalisation incidents. The plan can be ported internationally, except to the US, Canada, Japan, Korea and sanctioned countries. Optional add-ons include outpatient, dental, vision and maternity benefits.
Compare The Best Expat Health Insurance Premiums Here!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it important for expats to get health insurance?
- Yes, it will come in handy as you can be covered against any risks and excessive health expenses. Moreover, many companies provide a group health insurance plan to cover you as their employee, but there is no guarantee that the coverage is extensive enough for you and your family as expats. In addition, you will receive medical coverage 24/7 wherever you fly to, have access to a dedicated personal health insurance advisor via a 24-hour hotline that is available anytime you may need assistance.
Can expats get Integrated Shield plans?
- Yes. Integrated shield plans administered by the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board (under the Singapore government’s Ministry of Manpower) from local insurance providers can also be purchased by expats, even though they are meant to be used together with MediShield Life, the basic national health insurance plan for Singaporeans.
Should I pick local or global health insurance providers?
- This depends on what you really need. Whether it’s a plan by a local or global health insurance provider, the type of insurance policy is ideal for you will depend on your current health situation, the cost and quality of the local health care system and hospitals, if you are settled in your country of residence or move frequently, how often you travel, and many other factors.
Can I choose the co-insurance and deductible payment amounts that I want in my health insurance plan?
- For international health insurance plans, you can opt for the deductible you want, or pay a higher premium to avoid having to pay any deductible, and you’ll be able to choose between different co-payment amounts, or pay a higher premium to avoid having to pay any co-insurance at all, unlike integrated shield plans whereby there’s a compulsory co-payment portion of at least 5%, although you can buy an add-on that caps annual co-payment amounts.