Best Expat Health Insurance Singapore 2021

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What Is Expat Health Insurance In Singapore?

Who is it for?

Expat health insurance is meant for foreigners (neither Singaporeans nor Permanent Residents) who have relocated from other countries to work and live in Singapore with a valid visa.

What is it?

A health insurance plan for foreigners to access Singaporean healthcare facilities while residing here in Singapore. It is essentially a foreigner’s version of the Integrated Shield Plan (although expats don’t get the government-provided MediShield Life portion).

Where to buy?

There are only 3 insurance companies offering Integrated Shield health insurance plans for expats and foreigners, namely NTUC IncomeShield, AIA, and Great Eastern.

Best Expat Health Insurance in Singapore

PLANINSURERFOR
AIA HealthShield Gold Max For ForeignersAIAInpatient hospitalisation and day surgery, outpatient treatments
NTUC IncomeShield For ForeignersNTUC IncomeOutpatient treatments, pre- and post-hospitalisation, over 300 panel clinics
Great Eastern SupremeHealth For ForeignersGreat EasternOutpatient treatments, high claim limit per policy year, full hospitalisation coverage

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What Is An Integrated Shield Plan

Now that you are relocating to Singapore, take some time to understand the basics of health insurance in Singapore. If there’s one thing you need to know, it’s the government-issued health insurance plan called MediShield Life and its booster counterpart, Integrated Shield Plans.

Government

All Singaporeans and Permanent Residents (PRs) are automatically enrolled into the Ministry of Health’s subsidised health insurance policy called Medishield Life.

Private

Singaporeans and PRs then have the choice to boost their MediShield Life health insurance with higher claim limits, additional medical coverage, and more benefits with an Integrated Shield Plan purchased from private insurance companies.

Expats

Integrated Shield Plans can also be purchased by foreigners and expats residing in Singapore with a valid visa – although foreigners will not get the government-subsidised portion from Medishield Life.

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How Does Health Insurance Work in Singapore?

MediShield Life is a basic health insurance provided by Singapore's Ministry of Health for all Singaporeans and Permanent Residents (PRs). It covers basic public hospital treatments and hospitalisation stays in the basic class B2 and C wards.

Singaporeans and PRs can purchase Integrated Shield Plans (IPs) from private insurers to boost the existing coverage they already have from the MediShield Life. With this additional coverage, they can enjoy a wider range of healthcare treatments and higher annual claim limits.
Integrated Shield Plan riders, otherwise conveniently known as IP riders, can then be purchased to further boost and customise the health insurance coverage Singaporeans and PRs receive. There are numerous riders available, ranging from hospital cash benefit riders which offers you cash allowance for each day you are hospitalised, overseas medical treatments, alternative medicine, or even deductibles and co-insurance riders which serves to cover a bigger portion of the hospital bill.

What Does Expat Health Insurance Include?

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Expat Health Insurance Coverage

Hospitalisation

Your hospitalisation stays and any surgeries (approved by Singapore's Ministry of Health) will be included in your Integrated Shield Plan for foreigners. Your hospitalisation ward, Intensive Care Unit (ICU), surgical, medication, diagnostics, and other miscellaneous fees will all be covered by your health insurance plan.

Outpatient Treatments

Most IP plans for foreigners will also include common outpatient treatments such as kidney dialysis, erythropoietin, cancer radiotherapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and stereotactic radiotherapy. Other claimable outpatient treatments include immunosuppressants for organ transplant patients, and long-term parenteral nutrition (which you may know as tube feeding).

Travel Emergency

While local health insurance largely offers you medical coverage while you are physically in Singapore, some plans may offer you overseas emergency medical coverage (in life or death situations) such as emergency medical treatments or evacuations.

Pre-Hospitalisation

If your hospitalisation stay and the treatments you receive during your stay have all been approved by your insurance company for claims, then you can start filing your pre-hospitalisation treatments for claims as well.

Post-Hospitalisation

After you're discharged from the hospital, you'll most likely have some form of follow-up treatments, or regular prescriptions. If your doctor referred you to an insurance-approved clinic, you will be able to claim these post-hospitalisation treatments' bills as well.

3 Expat Health Insurance Plans For Foreigners

AIA HealthShield Gold Max (For Foreigners) is an integrated Shield Plan offered by AIA. There are 4 tiers available: A, B, B lite and Standard. However, only the highest tiered Plan A is available for foreigners residing in Singapore. It includes private hospital coverage for hospitalisation and surgical procedures, along with unique benefits such as an extended post-hospitalisation treatment benefit for 30 critical illnesses for up to 100 days.
Great Eastern's SupremeHealth is an Integrated Shield Plan with 4 tiers: Standard plan, B Plus, A Plus and P Plus. Only the SupremeHealth P Plus is available for foreigners residing in Singapore. Benefits include access to private hospital wards, medical concierge service called HealthConnect, and competitive premiums that are priced below market average.
NTUC IncomeShield is an Integrated Shield Plan with 4 tiers – out of which 3 (Preferred, Advantage and Basic) are available to foreigners. Benefits include coverage for hospitalisation and surgical procedures, outpatient treatments such as radiotherapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, pregnancy and childbirth complications, and more.

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Why Do I Need Health Insurance?

While Singapore has a high standard of healthcare, the cost of healthcare is equally high. Hence, it is highly recommended that you have a health insurance plan that allows you to access local healthcare facilities – and get reimbursed for it. If your company provides you with sufficient health insurance coverage, or if you have existing health insurance from your home country which covers your stay in Singapore then it may not be necessary for you to get additional health insurance in Singapore. However, in the event that you do not have any corporate health insurance at all, you should consider getting additional local health insurance for your stay in Singapore.

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Who Is Expat Health Insurance For?

If you are on a work permit or S-pass, do you need to buy health insurance? The answer is yes. In fact, your employer has to purchase health insurance for you.

Work Permit or S-Pass

If you are a foreigner on a Work Permit or S-Pass, it is compulsory for your employer to insure you with health insurance coverage with them with a minimum annual coverage of S$15,000. The health insurance coverage should be fully paid for by your employer. However, there may be a co-payment of up to 10% of the employee’s monthly income for claims that are non-work related.

Employment Pass

However, for foreigners with an Employment Pass, it is not compulsory for employers to insure you with health insurance. If you are not covered by any corporate health insurance or other types of health insurance coverage, it is highly advisable to get yourself some coverage.

Private Health Insurance

If you are a frequent flyer looking for a health insurance plan that will cover your medical expenses around the globe, you will need to purchase an international health insurance from private insurance companies.

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Choosing Your Health Insurance Plan

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How To Choose The Best Health Insurance Plan

We understand – health insurance plans come with numerous benefits, options, riders, and variations. It’s complicated. So, instead of trying to compare all the available plans and all their benefits, you should cherry pick and only compare the benefits that are relevant to you.

Your Needs

Instead of trying to compare all available plans and all their benefits, you should evaluate your personal health status, medical history, and family medical history etc. to pick out and only compare the benefits that you think are important to you.

Riders

Check the riders available as riders can help to increase your coverage and/or lower your out-of-pocket costs such as reimbursement of deductibles and co-insurance.

Co-Payments

In Singapore, 100% full coverage riders have been phased out to curb the abuse of medical facilities. Therefore, everyone has to pay a legal minimum of 5% of the total medical bill upon checkout in cash. Most plans require you to pay 10% in co-insurance payments, but you can lower that amount to the legal limit of 5% by purchasing a rider that allows you to do that.

Expat Health Insurance Premiums in Singapore

The average cost of a health insurance plan for foreigners varies with age, lifestyle factors, and medical history.


For a 45-year-old non-smoker, the average cost of an Integrated Shield Plan in Singapore is S$132.

However, for 75-year olds, the average cost in premiums ranges from S$69 to S$1,063.


An expat’s health insurance payment does not include any MediShield Life premiums. The cost in premiums will increase if you decide to purchase a rider along with your Integrated Shield Plan for foreigners.

Expat vs International Health Insurance

If you are a foreigner relocating to Singapore to study or work as an expat, you have 2 health insurance options. One, a health insurance plan that grants you access to local healthcare facilities called the Integrated Shield Plan for foreigners. Two, an international health insurance plan.

Local Health Insurance Plan

If your profession requires you to be physically based in Singapore and you do not foresee yourself travelling or uprooting much to move around global offices, you should get an expat (or local) health insurance in Singapore. The local Integrated Shield Plan for foreigners primarily offer local medical coverage within Singapore – any overseas medical coverage will be limited and has to classified as emergency. Your local health insurance will be valid as long as you are a legal resident of Singapore.

International Health Insurance

If your profession, however, requires you to uproot a couple of times per year to move around global offices in Southeast Asia – for instance –, then you should consider an international health insurance. That way, your international health insurance will be able to offer you medical coverage not only for your stay in Singapore, but elsewhere around Asia such as Tokyo, Hong Kong, Seoul, or Jakarta. Likewise, you can opt for other iterations of such international health insurance plans – worldwide, worldwide (without the USA), or Asia only.

How To Apply For Your Health Insurance Plan

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Apply For Your Health Insurance Plan Through MoneySmart

From research, comparisons, pricing quotations, to eligibility, and documentation, let our insurance specialists help you with your health insurance application.

Step 1

Answer Some Questions

Don't have time to compare all the different health insurance plans in Singapore for foreigners? Answer some questions and let our intelligent system find the best health insurance plan for you.

Step 2

Speak To An Insurance Specialist

Let our insurance specialists drop you a text and a call to clarify your medical and lifestyle needs. They will also be able to explain the health insurance plans' offerings to you in greater detail.

Step 3

Choose And Apply

Finally, let our insurance specialists offer you unbiased advice and help you complete your application process.

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Further Reading

Guide to Health Insurance in Singapore for Foreigners (Expats & Dependents)

Best Health Insurance Plans Singapore

International Health Insurance

Frequently Asked Questions

Can foreigners buy medical insurance in Singapore?

Yes, foreigners can buy medical insurance from private insurers in Singapore. In fact, foreigners can choose to purchase an expat (or local) health insurance in the form of an Integrated Shield Plan for foreigners – offering access to, and coverage for medical treatments and expenses within Singaporean hospitals and medical facilities. Otherwise, foreigners can buy international health insurance from insurance companies to insure their stay in Singapore and beyond. If you are a foreigner with Permanent Resident (PR) status in Singapore, you can purchase the Integrated Shield Plan medical insurance for locals.

How much does medical insurance cost in Singapore?

The average cost of an Integrated Shield Plan with access to Class B1 wards and below in public hospitals for a 45-year-old non-smoker in Singapore is S$132 per year. This does not include the cost in premiums of the mandatory government-issued MediShield Life health insurance.

I may not live in Singapore forever, do I still get health insurance?

If you are a Singaporean who has relocated abroad, your mandatory government-issued MediShield Life will still be valid. However, do take note that MediShield Life only offers you medical coverage within Singapore. If you have any Integrated Shield Plans (IP), your IP plans will still be valid for your use when you return to Singapore as long as you continue to pay your premiums. In the event you relocate overseas permanently, you can just notify your insurance company to cancel your Integrated Shield Plan.

What kind of insurance do I need in Singapore?

If you are a Singaporean just starting to buy insurance, or if you are a foreigner residing long-term in Singapore, youshould have 5 types of insurance, namely life insurance, health (or hospitalisation) insurance, personal accident insurance, critical illness insurance, and income disability insurance plans.

Do I still need health insurance if I have corporate health insurance?

To decide if you need to purchase additional health insurance, first check if your company provides you with sufficient health insurance coverage and if you have any other existing personal health insurance plans. If you are well covered by both your company and personal plans, it's not necessary for you to get any more health insurance. Some people may opt to not purchase personal health insurance if their companies provide adequate coverage. However, in the event that your company goes into retrenchment, administration, or if you decide to leave your job, you may be left with no medical insurance coverage at all. It is best to get some a modest health insurance plan even if you have corporate health insurance.

Can foreigners apply to be insured under MediShield Life?

Unfortunately no – MediShield Life is only available to Singaporeans and Permanent Residents (PRs).