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International Health Insurance in Singapore for Expats

Read our guide on international health insurance plans for expats in Singapore, along with information on public healthcare systems like Medishield Life.

Health Insurance for Expats and Foreigners in Singapore

Many international health insurance plans are available to expats moving to or living in Singapore. Expats cannot access healthcare public Singapore healthcare plans like Medishield Life or Medisave and will need to purchase their own when relocating to the Lion City. 

For more information, check out the guide we created to help you understand the basics of Singapore's public and private healthcare systems. To download the FREE PDF just click the button below.

Pacific Prime is Asia’s best insurance intermediary, providing expert services to over 120,000 clients in 130 countries. Our award-winning team of experienced and qualified advisors can help you navigate the world of Singapore health insurance to find the best solution for your Singapore relocation or travel needs.

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Health Insurance Options in Singapore

Public health insurance plans are unavailable to expats in Singapore, leaving them the option of purchasing their own. Expats working in Singapore under an S-pass are eligible for health insurance their employer provides (but these plans can be limited in coverage). 

Private medical insurance in Singapore is therefore recommended to visitors and recently arrived expats, although many locals and permanent residents opt to purchase ‘top ups’ to their universal coverage as well. 

 

Public Healthcare in Singapore

The public health system in Singapore is government-funded, providing universal coverage to all citizens and Permanent Residents. 

Public healthcare is partially funded by the Central Provident Fund, a crucial part of Singapore’s social security system. Only citizens and Permanent Residents can contribute to the Central Provident Fund and only have access to public healthcare schemes like Medishield Life or Medisave.

Medishield Life

MediShield Life is a universal basic medical insurance mandatory for Singapore citizens and Permanent Residents, providing lifelong coverage and protection. Medishield Life subsidizes a large part of outpatient treatment and hospital bills. 

Medisave 

MediSave is a national medical savings scheme that helps Singapore citizens and PRs set aside part of their income to meet their healthcare needs. These needs could include personal or dependents’ hospitalizations, surgery, and healthcare needs in elderly years. 

 

Private Healthcare in Singapore

Purchasing private health insurance as an expat in Singapore will protect you from out-of-pocket payments for hospitalizations, doctor visits, and other medical occurrences. Even if their employer provides insurance as part of their incentive package, expats should consider taking out private health insurance

Expats often purchase “top-up” plans to increase their healthcare spending limits or to reduce deductibles. 

Maternity insurance in Singapore is also not available as a standalone policy, so if you are considering pregnancy while living in the city-state you will need to purchase a complete plan with in-patient maternity included.

Best International Health Insurance for Expats

The best international health insurance for expats and foreigners in Singapore are customizable plans with excellent global coverage, ensuring you will be protected no matter where you travel abroad. 

Pacific Prime is partnered with a wide variety of insurers in Singapore, as listed here:

As an insurance broker, Pacific Prime acts as an intermediary between customers and insurance companies to find them the best plan to fit their medical needs and budget. We help compare plans from different insurers to secure the best plan for the best price. 

The price of international health insurance plans for Singapore will depend on different factors, such as your age, the size of the geographical area of coverage, your specific coverage benefits, and if you want a deductible on your plan.

 

Understanding the Singapore Healthcare System

Singapore's health sector is ranked top globally, with expertly trained doctors and staff. 

Singapore has a large international community, and so English is widely spoken across the health sector, with some private healthcare providers even offering international patient centers. 

Singapore has many public hospitals, including a women’s and children’s hospital, which provide inpatient, outpatient, and emergency care. Specialty clinics also exist in Singapore for services like dermatological and dentistry care. 

Singapore also offers polyclinics, which are public healthcare centers that offer medical treatment and preventative medicines at a subsidized cost. 

Accessing Care in Singapore

Expats will have access to Singapore’s renowned healthcare facilities but they will have to cover the costs themselves unless they purchase healthcare coverage.

Public hospitals in Singapore can offer shared rooms with very little privacy and can be crowded with longer wait times. Private hospitals have the advantage of shorter wait times, more comfortable facilities, and skilled specialists. 

Seeking Treatment in Singapore

In the event of getting sick with a non-severe illness, you will first want to seek treatment from a local doctor (GP). You can choose a private clinic or a public healthcare center known as a polyclinic. 

If you choose a private clinic, you can expect shorter wait times than if you choose a polyclinic. You can continue to meet with the same GP during your stay in Singapore or see a different doctor each visit. 

For more severe illnesses or health crises, you can seek treatment at the hospital. Singapore offers excellent healthcare services across all sectors but there are greater wait times and more crowded facilities in public hospitals.

 

Securing Health Insurance in Singapore

Expats will need to secure their own health insurance in Singapore as they are not eligible for universal healthcare schemes, and healthcare costs can be high for the uninsured. They can choose to purchase a local insurance plan or an international insurance plan. 

Local insurance is offered in Singapore alone and may have limited geographical coverage and limits. You may only be covered within Singapore if you purchase a domestic insurance plan. 

With international health insurance coverage, you can travel across the world and rest easy in knowing that any emergencies will be covered and taken care of. 

An additional benefit of international health insurance is its coverage of private hospitals and clinics. You can take full advantage of high-quality care and facilities without worrying about paying for everything.

Selecting an International Health Insurance Provider

When selecting an insurance provider, expats should know their unique health needs and considerations. You may want to add on mental health support, optical care, and other optional coverage, and you should choose a provider that offers those benefits.

U.S. Citizens may want to choose a provider that offers coverage across the world and within the United States, while a student may want an insurance provider that offers a plan with mental health benefits and 24/7 multilingual customer support. 

Factors to Remember When Comparing Health Insurance Plans

When comparing health insurance plans, expats should make sure the plan they choose has comprehensive and sufficient coverage, customizable benefits, clear terms, and access to an extensive network of providers. 

Pacific Prime can act as an intermediary between you and a wide selection of health insurance providers, helping you compare and contrast plans to find the best fit for you. We have a variety of partnered international providers who have plans that can be tailored to fit your needs.

 

Singapore International Insurance - Plans and Coverage

Expats have a wide selection of international insurance companies for coverage in Singapore, such as IMG, April International, and more. 

IMG

IMG provides international health insurance plans for expats while abroad. They offer comprehensive insurance policies, with multiple plans and payment options to fit any expat’s budget. They provide superior services to their members like crisis support and preventative care.

Some of the shared features across their varied plans are: 

  • Inpatient treatment
  • Surgery
  • Labs and diagnostics
  • Physical therapy
  • Cancer treatment

April International 

April International has over 30 years of experience in the international health insurance market and provides both comprehensive and flexible plans to expats while in Singapore. April International provides varying levels of coverage, fully customizable policies, and a wide direct billing network. 

Some of the shared coverage across their plans are: 

  • 24/7 Evacuation, repatriation, and assistance services
  • Hospital and Surgeries
  • Cancer treatments 

Aetna International 

Aetna is a Fortune 100 company in the United States of America and offers expats access to quality healthcare in 200+ countries globally. They offer flexible and comprehensive benefits plans with additional options for medical, vision, dental, and pharmacy coverage. 

Some of the basic coverage for their plans includes:

  • Inpatient treatment and outpatient treatment (up to 90 days)
  • Emergency medical evacuation
  • Rehabilitation up to 120 days
  • Emergency dental and optical treatment

Cigna

Cigna provides flexible insurance plans to expats in Singapore and across the globe. They offer their members 24/7 access to a customer care team and access to any Singapore’s private hospitals and healthcare system. Their plans are customizable and comprehensive. 

Cigna has a silver, gold, and platinum plan with different levels of coverage. All three of these plans share several common key coverage benefits: 

  • Hospitalization 
  • Inpatient and daypatient treatments
  • Cancer treatments 
  • Physiotherapy
  • Accidental death or total permanent disability compensation

Allianz

Allianz offers comprehensive insurance plans in Singapore to fit a variety of expats’ and foreigners’ needs. Riders are available to be purchased and attached to basic policies that Allianz provides. These riders can offer coverage for accidents and other risks that expats may face abroad. 

Some of the basic coverage for their plans includes: 

  • Inpatient costs
  • Diagnostics and laboratory tests
  • Surgeries
  • Ambulances transport
  • Cancer treatment 

HSBC

HSBC Life is a leading international insurer for expats in Singapore, offering various flexible plans such as HSBC Life Shield and more. They provide 24/7 emergency assistance, no-claim discounts, and comprehensive worldwide coverage for individuals and families abroad. 

Some of their plans' shared features include: 

  • Inpatient treatment
  • Organ Transplant
  • Inpatient pregnancy complications
  • Surgeries
  • Cancer treatment

Liberty Insurance

A part of the Liberty Mutual group, Liberty Insurance Singapore offers coverage to expats and their families all across the globe. They offer multiple comprehensive health insurance plans, with differing levels of coverage and additional customizable benefits. 

Some of the shared features across their plans are: 

  • Inpatient treatment
  • Hospitalization and surgeries
  • Ambulance transport
  • Accidents 

AXA Global 

AXA global health insurance is a great choice for expats in Singapore with its range of differing coverage and customizable additional benefits. They offer short-term and long-term plans, with comprehensive coverage for any medical needs. 

Some examples of coverage under AXA insurance plans are: 

  • Hospital charges and surgery
  • Emergency coverage
  • Medical evacuation and repatriation
  • Wide range of cancer treatment
  • Ambulance transport
  • CT, PET, and MRI scans


Additional Benefits and Coverage

Basic international health insurance plans cover inpatient treatment costs and hospitalizations, but most insurance providers also allow additional coverage options to extend your benefits. This could cover things like dental, optical, maternity, and more. 

  • Dental: You can have dental check-ups, cleanings, and major dental procedures covered by customizable, additional benefits when selecting your international health insurance plan.
  • Maternity and family coverage: Expats looking to expand their family can purchase international health insurance plans to cover prenatal care, childbirth, and postpartum care. There are also additional benefits to cover the newborn.
  • Preventive care: Certain health insurance plans will offer regular health checkups and screenings, along with vaccinations and wellness programs. These resources will help expats keep themselves healthy as they begin their new adventure abroad.


Pre-existing Conditions

Expats with pre-existing conditions may have limited coverage options when purchasing international insurance but there are still alternative solutions available. You can choose a plan with a pre-existing condition exclusion, a moratorium, or coverage with loading.  

Here is a general overview of what each term means: 

  • Exclusion: The insurer will not pay or reimburse the policyholder for medical bills related to the condition if they choose to buy a plan from them.
  • Moratorium: The insurance company offers health insurance but excludes and observes the pre-existing condition for a certain time known as the waiting period. This period is usually 24 months, and the insurance company reviews its decision.
  • Coverage with loading: Insurance companies may offer coverage for pre-existing conditions, but only with higher premiums. Not all pre-existing conditions are eligible for this kind of coverage, and not all companies offer this option. 

 

Retirees Seeking International Healthcare in Singapore

Expats retiring in Singapore should purchase an international health insurance plan that offers comprehensive and flexible coverage for their specific medical needs. This may include coverage for cancer screenings, chronic conditions support, and preventative health support. 

Reach out to Pacific Prime to hear all of our international insurance plans for retirees in the Lion City. We can help secure a plan that will provide excellent coverage for your needs, as well as provide access to all the best private hospitals and care. 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What international health insurance is best for foreigners in Singapore? 

The best international health insurance plan will fit your unique needs; however, they should have key characteristics such as excellent coverage across the globe, customizable, reasonable premiums, 24/7 support, and clear terms.

2. Does Singapore offer free healthcare to foreigners? 

Singapore does not offer free healthcare to foreigners, instead only offering it to citizens and Permanent Residents. A Singaporean employer must provide a basic health insurance plan if you are a foreigner working under an S-pass. 

3. Do expats need international health insurance? 

Expats will need a health insurance plan when living in Singapore, as the city-state will not provide one. An international health insurance plan helps protect expats from costly hospital bills and other unforeseen medical expenses.

 

Conclusion

International health insurance is an invaluable asset to expats when moving to or visiting Singapore. With worldwide coverage and customizable benefits, expats can enjoy their journey with the peace of mind that comes with health insurance protection. 

Weighing up your Singapore health insurance options can be a breeze if you use Pacific Prime Singapore. Visit our health insurance plans page to see what solutions we offer, or use our online health insurance comparison tool to start looking at our various provider quotes.

If you need to talk to someone, our expert advisors are happy to help make the process of finding cover simple! Contact us today to hear more about our international insurance.

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