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Healthcare in Singapore: the facilities, the coverage, the risks, and standby support.

According to World Health Organization (WHO), Singapore ranked 6th after France (1st), Italy (2nd), San Marino (3rd), Andorra (4th) and Malta (5th) as the world’s top health systems in 2000. This makes Singapore: Asia’s leading medical hub.

17 hospitals and medical centres in Singapore have obtained Joint Commission International (JCI) accreditation as at September 2010, accounting for one-third of all JCI-accredited facilities in Asia, and many of the world’s most renowned medical centres such as John Hopkins and The West Clinic have been established in Singapore.

Rest assured, expats moving to this part of the world will find exemplary medical treatment in an island that sparked the world’s headlines for many complex and innovative procedures and well-respected doctors, including the:
  • Successful separation of 10-month-old Nepalese conjoined Siamese twins (2001)
  • Revolutionary “tooth-in-eye” surgical procedure to cure a boy of blindness (2004)
Medication Reminder For Expats! Do get your medications re-prescribed by a local doctor upon arrival in Singapore, as international prescriptions aren’t accepted here. Prepare ahead and pack enough supply to last you for your first few months in Singapore.

Health Insurance in Singapore Outpatient services (polytechnic clinics) are fairly affordable in Singapore, so when it comes to occasional visits to the clinic, expats can manage fairly well off on their own. It is an absolute essential however for expats to obtain an insurance coverage that includes ‘inpatient and critical illnesses’ in the event of serious illnesses or an unexpected emergency.

Permanent residents in Singapore come under a unique and compulsory system of universal coverage called MediSave, where employees co-pay with employers for a much of their medical expenses, and make monthly contributions in exchange for hospital coverage.

This does not apply to foreigners with normal work passes though, so it’s absolutely essential for you to find out if health coverage is part of your company’s employment package while negotiating your contract. Most mid-sized and large companies will cover insurance but if not, there are many internationally established insurers in Singapore like Allianz, BUPA, AZA, MSH, Aetna and GMC offering competitive solutions to suit your needs.

Public Healthcare of Private Healthcare? Which Is Recommended For Expats in Singapore? In Singapore, one could safely say: both function just as well! Public hospitals in Singapore are some of the most esteemed facilities in the world. The private sector is of course costlier, and many expats tend to pick private facilities for more personalized treatment, shorter waiting times, privacy and comfort – however, many expats swear by the fact that this is more a perception than a reality, and that there really isn’t much of a difference between waiting times in public and private care.

Others prefer not to compete for space in public hospitals with permanent residence holders who are instantly entitled to subsidized care under the national insurance scheme. What’s your opinion on this? (Do share in the comment box below.) Meanwhile, here’s a quick list of notable private hospitals in Singapore for expats:

Gleneagles Hospital | | Tel: (65) 6473 7222

Parkway East Hospital | | Tel: (65) 6344 7588

Mount Elizabeth Hospital | | Tel: (65) 6737 2666

Raffles Hospital | | Tel: (65) 6311 1222

Thomson Medical Centre | | Tel: (65) 6250 2222

Parkway Cancer Centre | | Tel: (65) 6737 0733

Mount Alvernia Hospital | | (65) 6347 6688

Any Health Risks In Singapore To Look Out For? Remember to drink lots of water and apply sunblock consistently! Singapore is a shockingly hot and humid city for expats who have just arrived in the island city from cooler-climate countries. Expect year-round summer, sweaty weather, stay hydrated and wear light clothing to stay cool.

In Case of An Emergency… 24-hour accident and emergency walk-in centres are available at all general hospitals. For life-threatening emergencies, call 995 to reach the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), which operates ambulance services to transport patients to the nearest hospital. For a non-emergency private ambulance, call 1777.  

Post created by Lisa


I’m Lisa and I have travelled extensively across Asia for over 17 years, I have also worked and lived in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Kuala Lumpur.

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