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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.
So, now that you understand how local health insurance works in Singapore, you need to ask yourself some questions. If you are on a work permit or S-pass, do you need to buy health insurance? The answer is yes – in fact, your boss has to buy health insurance for you. However, whether you hold a work permit, S-pass, or employment pass, you should have expat health insurance so long as you are living in Singapore because – it’s no secret – healthcare costs are so high here in Singapore.
While Singapore has a high standard of healthcare, the cost of healthcare is extremely high. Hence, it is highly recommended that you have health insurance so that you don’t have to end up emptying your savings on hospital bills. 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 your company does not provide sufficient health insurance coverage, or you do not have any corporate health insurance at all, you should consider getting additional local health insurance for your stay in Singapore.
|Medical Benefit||What It Means|
|Hospitalisation||You will usually spot “inpatient benefits” in the local health insurance aka Integrated Shield Plan brochures and it basically refers to your hospitalisation stay and any surgeries you may have to go under the knife for. To file an eligible claim under this benefit, you will first and foremost need to be hospitalised. Any surgeries you go through will need to be in the Ministry of Health’s Table of Surgical Procedures 1A too 7C. If so, your ward/ room charges, Intensive Care Unit (ICU), surgical, medication, diagnostics, and other miscellaneous fees will be covered by your IP plan.|
|Outpatient Cancer Treatments||Outpatient benefits cover medical treatments out of the hospital or those that may not require you to stay overnight in a hospital. Most common outpatient benefits across all IP plans include 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 (what you 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 received during your stay have all been approved by your insurance company for claims, then you can start filing your pre-hospitalisation treatments for claims. That means, if you have been visiting the doctor for the same illness even before you were hospitalised, you can submit the receipts for claims within 180 days (or lesser, depends on your plan).|
|Post-Hospitalisation||When you’re about the be discharged from the hospital, chances are your doctor will ask you to schedule another appointment for follow-up treatments. While you may most likely come back to the same hospital, some doctors may refer you to other medical centres, clinics, or even Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) clinics for post-hospitalisation treatments. If your plan allows, and your doctor referred you to an insurance-approved clinic, you will be able to claim these treatments’ bills.|
We understand – health insurance plans may offer numerous benefits, options, riders, and variations. It’s complicated. Instead of trying to compare all available plans and all their benefits, you should pick out and only compare the benefits that you think are important to you.
The average cost of an expat health insurance varies with age, lifestyle factors, and medical history. The average cost in premiums, however, ranges from S$69 to S$1,063 for 75-year-olds. For a 45-year-old non-smoker, the average cost of an Integrated Shield Plan in Singapore is S$132. An expat’s health insurance plan does not include any MediShield Life premiums or MediSave contributions. The cost in premiums will increase if you decide to purchase a rider along with your foreigner’s Integrated Shield Plan.
If you are a foreigner relocating to Singapore to study or work as an expat, here's the question: "Should I buy an expat (local) health insurance aka the Integrated Shield Plan for foreigners, or should I buy an international health insurance plan?"