What is the cost of healthcare in Singapore in 2022?
With modern medical technology and highly trained doctors, nurses, and medical professionals, Singapore is one of the top medical destinations for travelers, visitors, and expats worldwide. In fact, Singapore was ranked 12th in the World Index of Healthcare Innovation in 2021.
Patients can receive quality healthcare in Singapore at much lower prices compared to, say, the USA (a global benchmark for healthcare costs) and experience the comforts of an English-speaking environment and a clean, sustainable city. See the table of costs for a few common medical procedures and their estimated cost range below.
Heart Bypass Surgery
Up to USD $200,000
Up to USD $26,000
Up to USD $45,000
Up to USD $22,000
Up to USD $50,000
Up to USD $32,000
Note: Last updated on March 7th, 2022. * Representative of public and private hospitals in Singapore.
Private vs. public hospital cost in Singapore
As an expat in Singapore, you can choose between public or private healthcare, which offers incredible service and medical care levels, but at completely different price points. Visitors and travelers in Singapore also have access to private hospitals. However, access to free healthcare via public hospitals is possible as a Permanent Resident (PR) only.
Level of service and investment
To begin with, the differences can be attributed to the level of investment in resources, including medical technology and service framework. Generally, public hospitals operate on taxpayers' funds. In contrast, private hospitals have access to a broader market of investors and can offer their services to various health groups.
As such, the costs for specialized care can be considerably higher at private hospitals than public hospitals, as private hospitals can offer specialist services or holistic care with the investment they have access to. Additionally, private hospitals generally offer increased privacy, level of service, hospital comforts, amenities, and additional benefits like transportation when receiving care as an inpatient or outpatient. These further add to the hospital bills for patients who receive treatment there.
Medical procedures differ depending on the healthcare institution
For some medical procedures, such as an Appendectomy (surgery to remove the appendix), the cost to have this treatment at a private hospital (USD $11,500 - $15,000) can be more than double that at a public hospital (USD $800 - $7,000). For instance, Hernia repair surgery at Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital charges USD $11,429 to $15,843, compared to USD $1,426 to $2,071 at the Singapore General Hospital*.
Competition levels the playing field in Singapore’s healthcare sector
Hospital bill sizes have also been marginally the same over the years for public and private, particularly among day surgery procedures including heart angiography, hemorrhoid, glaucoma, laser eye treatment, and colonoscopy. This indicates the competition between public and private hospitals for outpatient medical care and services.
Is Singapore healthcare expensive?
Put simply, healthcare in Singapore is expensive for the region, but not as much as you would be expected to pay in the US. It’s also no surprise, given how the demographics in Singapore have changed over the years and hospitals invest heavily in medical technology to draw in medical tourists from abroad. Furthermore, there’s been increased utilization of healthcare facilities as new, innovative medical technologies have increased the range of treatments available. Medical advancements have led to:
- Previous health conditions being treated, which were previously untreatable.
- Older procedures being replaced with more effective, albeit costlier, treatment options.
- Early detection and diagnosis of diseases, which allows for closer monitoring, treatments, and follow-ups. Thus, leading to increased healthcare utilization.
To add to the costs, hospitals are recruiting highly experienced, internationally trained doctors and increasing the nurse-to-patient ratio to reduce patient waiting times and improve healthcare service. With an increasing demand for healthcare staff, Singapore's healthcare workers are retained through higher pay rates, placing even further demand on hospital expenditure.
Healthcare costs on the rise in Singapore
The majority of countries, territories, and city-states worldwide are currently experiencing an upward trend in healthcare costs, which reflects a number of drivers, including the medical inflation rate, investments in medical technology, an aging Singaporean population, etc.
According to sources, Singapore’s medical inflation rate for 2018 to 2019 was 10% per year (10 times the Singapore economy's estimated 2018 inflation rate of 1%), while the cost of healthcare from 2001 to 2021 had increased by 54%. Coupled with the effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic in 2021, these trends look set to continue in 2022, as healthcare becomes increasingly expensive.
At the time, Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH) made significant efforts to curb rising costs by publishing the fee benchmarks for common procedures in 2018. While in 2020, the MOH published benchmarks for anesthetists’ fees and inpatient consultation charges. These publications enabled patients and payers to make better-informed decisions, and increased competition as healthcare costs were available to everyone.
Checking hospital bill estimates in Singapore
Whether living in Singapore or 'medical tourists,' patients can check the average hospital bill sizes of more than 70 common medical procedures, along with data that is updated monthly.
Hospital bills are categorized by the type of hospital room (from private single rooms to private 2, 4, or 6 bedded rooms) and other important data, such as length of hospital stay and volume of patients (this must exceed 30 patients for the year).
You can also get a good idea of the price bracket for each medical treatment, as the average hospital bill size is provided along with the higher 90 percentile range. Data is offered objectively, allowing you to make your comparisons and decisions. To compare private healthcare and public healthcare costs in Singapore, click here.
Alternatively, you can download our FREE Private vs. Public healthcare in Singapore guide to learn about the major differences between both healthcare systems in Singapore.