Working in Singapore?
Health and Social Security in Singapore
Social Security — Not for Expats
The Social Security system for citizens and permanent residents working in Singapore is called the Central Provident Fund (CPF). It is one of Asia’s oldest contribution-based retirement schemes. Expats working in Singapore on employment passes are not liable to contributions and therefore not eligible for government support. However, most international employers provide group health insurance schemes for their expat employees working in Singapore. People who are not covered by either of the above are strongly advised to take out private health insurance.
Expats who acquire the Singapore Permanent Resident status will start paying CPF contributions based on the length of time spent in Singapore, age and income. If subsequently they decide to leave Singapore forever, they can request a CPF pay-out.
Employee contributions range from 5% to 20% of the monthly salary, and employer contributions from 6% to 15.5% of the employee’s salary. All payments and withdrawals are tax free, and only the first 4,500 SGD of every salary is liable to contributions.
Every CPF member has three accounts: the Ordinary Account with a 2.5% interest rate, the Special Account and the Medisave Account, both earning 4% interest. Funds in the Ordinary Account can be used for purchasing property and insurance, paying for education, etc. The Special Account, on the other hand, is reserved exclusively for retirement savings. The Medisave Account is every Singaporean’s basic medical insurance.
The previous paragraphs could of course only give a first introduction to the local social security system. For more information, for example also in regard to self-employed expatriates, take a look at our Social Security article in the Extended Guide for Singapore.
The Most Efficient Healthcare System
Healthcare in Singapore is of superior quality while still remaining affordable. In 2014, Bloomberg ranked Singapore’s healthcare system the most efficient in the world. Medical professionals receive world-class training and education either at home or abroad, and English is spoken in all healthcare centers across the country.
A whole industry has developed around the needs of international patients, expats and medical tourists alike. Singapore Medicine, a multi-agency government initiative, provides a guide to all International Patient Service Centers in Singapore.
Their services extend far beyond what one would expect from a traditional healthcare establishment. They also offer advice on accommodation, travel and visa arrangements, as well as sightseeing trips.
The Singapore Ministry of Health maintains 19 outpatient polyclinics, which are supplemented by some 2,000 private medical practitioners’ clinics across the island. There are eight public hospitals with emergency departments, including one psychiatric clinic and one mother-and-child hospital, plus six specialist centers.
A detailed list of medical facilities can be found on the Ministry of Health website. All medical treatment is to be paid for immediately by the patient, either out of a Medisave Account or from private funds.
You can read on about the Singaporean healthcare system in the Health and Insurance section of our Extended Guide. In these articles, we tell you all you need to know about Singaporean hospitals, pharmacies, dentists, doctors and so on.
We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete.