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In 2021, Singapore was ranked most expensive city in Asia, and second in the world. While being expensive, Singapore was also ranked alongside Hong Kong as the top two countries for most efficient healthcare system by Bloomberg in 2021. In a country where most things are expensive, including its top-class healthcare, are there any solutions to reducing your healthcare expenses? This article gives a full guide on the tips to saving money on healthcare expenses in Singapore. 

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Get the right health insurance 

As with any product you buy, it is always important to ensure that you get the right product that meets your needs and expectations. With health insurance, though Singaporeans are covered by government issued health insurance such as MediSave and MediShield, many of them still purchase their own health insurance to get additional benefits and coverage for areas that are not covered by such plans. Hence, it is equally, if not, more important for non-citizens in Singapore to get health insurance to ensure that they are protected. Choosing between local and international plans is also important to consider, as most local plans in Singapore offer lower reimbursement limits. Ultimately, it all depends on your needs and circumstances, so be sure to choose a health insurance that optimises your budget and needs.

Consider deductibles or co-insurance

While deciding on a health insurance plan to purchase, consider getting a deductible or co-insurance if you are looking to save money while still having comprehensive coverage. By taking either option, it will reduce your annual premium. Both deductibles and co-insurance involve having to pay out-of-pocket, but there are differences between the two.

Deductibles refer to the initial set amount of money you are required to pay before your health insurance can start paying for your medical expenses. For instance, if your plan requires you to pay a deductible of SGD $1,500, you must pay the amount first, then your health insurance plan will cover the rest. This deductible is annual, and once you have settled it, any medical expense covered by your plan will be fully reimbursed.

A co-insurance is a fixed percentage of out-of-pocket money you must pay on a medical expense. It applies to the medical expenses that your health insurance plan has covered, and the cost is split between you and the insurer. For example, under MyHEALTH Singapore, we offer a 20% co-insurance option on your Outpatient module. This means that for any Outpatient expense, you would be responsible for 20% of the cost and we will reimburse you the remaining 80%.

Here is an example:

An Example of Copayments on a medical bill with Myhealth singapore

A unique feature of MyHEALTH Singapore is that if you choose this option, your co-insurance will be completely waived if you visit a medical provider from our Panel Network, which is composed of selected clinics from the APRIL network in Singapore, Hong Kong and Thailand.

Choose your network

When choosing a health insurance plan, be sure to always read up on the list of providers in the network in which your plan grants you access to. With MyHEALTH Singapore, our members have the possibility to choose an option called “Specified Inpatient Providers” on their Inpatient module. By choosing this option, they would be restricted to a selection of hospitals should they need to receive inpatient treatment, and in exchange will receive a significant discount on their premium. This list is composed of top-quality international and local hospitals in Singapore and Hong Kong, always ensuring that you receive the best care possible when hospitalised.

Hospital room types

The price difference between different room types (private room, semi-private room, ward) in Singapore is huge. Without private health insurance, a single occupancy room in a private hospital could price up to roughly SGD $1,000 per night, while semi-private rooms can cost up to SGD $400 per night. Hence, if your insurance limits are quite low, or if you are actually paying out of pocket for your hospitalisation, choosing the stay in a ward or semi-private room will considerably lower your hospital bill.

Select your healthcare practitioners carefully

Singapore is known to have one of the best healthcare systems in the world, so no matter which health practitioner you visit, it is guaranteed that they will be well-trained and highly capable to deliver quality service. For a non-citizen of Singapore, both public and private healthcare options offer no subsidies, hence the cost between both is not that much different. However, depending on the location, some health practitioners also charge higher fees in locations like the central business district area. Hence, it is always advisable to compare prices between several practitioners beforehand and call in advance to learn more about the differences in cost before making a decision.

Use public healthcare when possible

Though public and private healthcare costs may be similar in costs for non-citizens living in Singapore, it is always recommended to use public healthcare when given the choice to, as public healthcare in Singapore will always be cheaper than private healthcare while offering equal quality of service. The only difference between the two sectors lies in the comfort levels, as private care allows for more personalisation of services such as choosing your doctor and appointment times while public care does not offer that option.

Apart from that, public healthcare services are of equal quality to private healthcare services, so it is definitely recommended to use public healthcare over private healthcare when possible.

Consider going abroad

Over the years, healthcare in Asia has become increasingly popular for its high-quality service at lower cost. Countries like Thailand and Malaysia have become increasingly popular as they offer high-quality treatments at lower costs compared to Singapore. Thus, they remain a favourite for many expats as they travel to those countries to enjoy quality healthcare at lower costs.

In Singapore, healthcare can be expensive, especially for those who have no health insurance or those who are not eligible for government subsidies. Some major treatments or surgeries in Singapore may require you to pay out-of-pocket if your limit is too low. Other treatments, such cosmetic surgeries or IVF for instance, are also normally not covered by insurance companies. With these limitations in place, it would be cheaper to go abroad to where they offer those same services at lower cost.

What APRIL can do to help

Are you looking for a comprehensive health insurance to cover you in Singapore and abroad? Our advisers are here to guide you and help you find the plan that really suits your needs. Do not hesitate to contact us to discuss your situation in more details or click on the button below to get your own quote.

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