Health & Insurance
Hospitals in Singapore
- In Singapore, there are around 30 hospitals, both private and public ones.
- Foreign residents often need to provide their personal and credit card information upon admittance, unless it is an emergency.
- Hospitals often have international patient services and liaison centers to cater to the needs of the expat population.
The city-state of Singapore does not only have a much-lauded healthcare system. Its medical facilities also have a good reputation among local residents and medical tourists from other Asian countries.
Altogether, there are around 30 hospitals in Singapore, if you include specialty centers for the clinical treatment of specific diseases like cancer. With this number of hospitals in Singapore, there was an average of two beds per thousand inhabitants in 2011.
In addition to general hospitals in Singapore and the abovementioned specialty centers, you will come across other types of facilities, too: 18 public polyclinics serve as outpatient clinics for primary care, and there are a large number of nursing homes for the elderly, hospices, and convalescence hospitals in Singapore.
Private vs. Public Clinics
All public healthcare facilities are divided into different kinds of wards. The so-called C and B2 wards receive heavy subsidies from the Singaporean government. Therefore, they usually admit only citizens and permanent residents with public healthcare schemes from social security in Singapore.
B1 or A wards are part of public hospitals in Singapore as well, but they get little to no subsidies. As a result, they cater to Singaporean patients with top-up insurance or expats with private health insurance plans — just like private hospitals.
Medical care in public facilities is by no means of lower quality than in Singapore’s private clinics. However, it is not necessarily cheaper, either.
Foreign residents admitted to any of the hospitals in Singapore often have to provide credit card information and leave a hefty deposit. In this way, hospital staff wants to make sure that they have adequate insurance coverage. Obviously, medical emergencies are an exception to this rule. Still, you should have decent health insurance when you relocate to Singapore.
Admission as a Patient
Hopefully, your time as an expat in Singapore will be a positive experience without any major illnesses. However, if you should require hospitalization at some point, these are some things to bear in mind.
In an emergency situation, call 995 for ambulance services or contact the nearest hospital directly. Normally, though, admission to hospitals in Singapore is scheduled on referral from a doctor.
Before you go to the clinic for your hospital stay, please get in touch with the administration or patient info desk. They should be able to answer the following questions:
- Do you require any medical exams when you are admitted?
- What kind of wards does the hospital have, and where will your accommodation be?
- How high are the estimated costs for your treatment?
- How long is the average stay for the procedure?
- Which payment methods does the hospital in Singapore accept? And how much money do they expect as a deposit?
- Which documents do you have to bring for admission?
- Are there any kinds of extra services for international patients (such as interpreters or multilingual staff)?
Most hospitals in Singapore are used to dealing with foreign patients on a daily basis, and they often have international patient services and liaison centers. Especially since you, as an expat, are probably a private patient, you can generally expect a “customer-service” mentality, with all its advantages (pampering) as well as drawbacks (commercialization of the healthcare sector).
To find a suitable clinic in Singapore, please check the Ministry of Health’s e-services.
Public Sector Facilities
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