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The Cost of Health Care in Singapore

Find out the cost of surgery and health care costs in Singapore public and private hospitals, one of the leading medical tourist destinations in the world.

With relatively low health care costs, modern medical technology and highly trained doctors, Singapore is one of the top medical tourist destinations worldwide. Singapore's private hospitals offer exceptional health care services, with the majority of public and private hospitals holding international accreditation. In 2000, Singapore was ranked 6th by the Worldwide Health Organization rankings of health care systems.

Patients can receive quality health care in Singapore at much lower prices compared to the USA, along with the comforts of an english-speaking environment and clean city. Of the 10 million patients traveling per year for medical treatment, more than ninety percent visit the countries of Singapore, Thailand and India. Patients can receive health care for more than half the price in Singapore, compared to having the same procedure in the USA, and for even less in Thailand and India.

Table 1.0 Comparison of health care costs in the USA, Singapore and Thailand

Medical Procedure USA Singapore Thailand
Heart Bypass Surgery USD140,000 USD25,000 USD15,000
Hip Replacement USD45,000 USD13,000 USD13,000
Knee Replacement USD15,000 USD15,000 USD12,000

Singapore attracts more than 200,000 medical tourists every year and the government wants this number to exceed 1 million. The majority of Singapore's medical tourists travel from neighboring countries in Asia, with a growing number of tourists coming all the way from the USA and the UK. To attract more medical tourists, Singapore has set up International Patient Service Centres (IPSCs) that work like 'medical travel agencies'. IPSCs are designed specifically for medical tourists and expatriate patients, they are attached to hospitals providing information and assistance to international patients. IPSCs provide hospital pricing to patients and coordinate appointments with health care specialists. They can also provide practical information and advice such as booking accommodation, where to eat and getting around Singapore.

Click on the below for more information on the cost of health care in Singapore:

  • Hospital Bill Sizes in Singapore
  • Health care costs on the rise in Singapore
  • Comparison of private healthcare and public healthcare costs in Singapore
  • Singapore health care costs in future
  • JCI Accredited Hospitals in Singapore

 

Hospital Bill Sizes in Singapore

Patients can now go 'comparison shopping' for medical treatment in Singapore. Since 2003, Singapore's Ministry of Health has encouraged hospitals to publish their hospital bill sizes on their website. Patients, whether living in Singapore or 'medical tourists', can visit the Ministry of Health to see the average hospital bill sizes of more than 70 common medical procedures; data which is updated on a monthly basis.

Hospital bills are catergorised by the type of hospital room (private single room, private 2, 4 or 6 bedded room) along with other important data such as length of hospital stay and volume of patients (this must exceed 30 patients for the year). Patients can 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 patients to make their own comparisons and decisions.

In the meantime, the Ministry of Health hopes to provide more information to patients, such as surgical complications rates; working towards better health care and better informed patients in Singapore.

Health care costs on the rise in Singapore

Health care costs are however on the rise in Singapore, increasing at 8 to 9 percent per year on average. Singapore's public hospitals have almost doubled their class C wards while private hospitals are increasingly driven by profit. Along with Singapore, all countries worldwide are experiencing an upward trend, with health care costs exceeding the inflation rate.

With high competition among hospitals in Singapore, providers are focusing on quality healthcare to attract more and more customers. Hospitals are spending money on research and expensive medical technology; resources which are experiencing high inflation rates. Hospitals are recruiting highly experienced internationally trained doctors and increasing the nurse to patient ratio, offering patients reduced waiting times and improved health care service. With an increasing demand for health care staff, Singapore's health care workers are retained through higher pay rates, placing an even further demand on hospital expenditure.

After Singapore's hospital reform we have seen an improvement in public hospitals, along with an increase in public health care costs. Corporitsation was introduced more than thirty years ago, allowing public hospitals to operate autonomously and respond more freely to supply and demand. While public hospitals in Singapore are fully owned by the government, public hospitals are able to set their own prices for surgery and other medical procedures. Hospital room charges however, remain controlled by the government. Since corporatisation, Singapore's public hospitals have improved their standards of service by increasing nurse to patient ratio and buying modern medical technology. As a result, public hospitals in Singapore are experiencing shorter waiting times and reduced hospital stay. With increased hospital expenditure, public hospitals have also increased their hospital bill sizes up to ten percent.

Comparison of private healthcare and public healthcare costs in Singapore

Not surprisingly, private hospital bill sizes are generally a lot higher than public hospitals in Singapore. For some medical procedures, such as an Appendectomy (surgery to remove the appendix), the cost to have this treatment at a private hospital is more than double. Hernia repair surgery at the Mount Elizabeth Hospital charges S$11,628, compared to S$5,219 at the Singapore General Hospital. Hospital bill sizes have also been seen as marginally the same 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.

Singapore's public and private hospitals offer a wide choice in room selection and this will reflect the total cost of your hospital bill. Both public and private hospitals offer private single rooms, as well as the option to stay in a two bedded, four or six bedded ward. While patients are treated in a public hospital, they are still able to experience a 'private room' (often classed as A1) at a relatively lower price.

Patients can visit the Ministry of Health Singapore website to shop around and make comparisons for their elective surgeries. It is hopeful that hospitals will reflect on the price of their health care packages; bill transparency in Singapore is seen as a major achievement, with hope that hospital bill sizes will decrease through competition.

Singapore health care costs in future

With hospital bill sizes on public display in Singapore, the Ministry of Health hopes to see a drop in hospital bill sizes through competition. As hoped, hospital bill sizes have decreased slightly since the policy was introduced back in 2003. For example, gall bladder surgery at a class B2 ward at the Changi General Hospital was S$1,311 and S$867 at the Tan Tock Hospital. The same procedure is now S$1,190 and S$823 respectively. Pneumonia treatment has decreased from S$513 to S$502 at the CGH, tonsillectomy has decreased from S$903 to S$896 at the KK Women and Children's Hospital and stroke treatment has decreased from S$3,141 to S$2,459 at the NUH.JCI Accredited Hospitals in Singapore. There are a large number JCI accredited hospitals in Singapore.

Table 1.2 JCI Accredited Hospitals in Singapore

Public Hospital (S$) Private Hospital (S$)
Singapore General Hospital  6,757 Mount Elizabeth Hospital 11,192 
KK Women and Children's Hospital   6,188 Gleneagles Hospital      10,767
National University Hospital  6,696 Mount Alvernia Hospital  7,916
  Parkway East Hospital  7,944
Raffles Hospital 10,472
Thomson Medical Center  7,546
Public Hospital (S$) Private Hospital (S$)
Changi General Hospital  1,472 Mount Elizabeth Hospital  6,110
Singapore General Hospital  2,224 Gleneagles Hospital  5,232
Tan Tock Seng Hospital  2,180 Mount Alvernia Hospital  3,414
KK Women and Children's Hospital  2,312 Raffles Hospital  6,024
National Cancer Centre  2,471  
National University Hospital  2,415
Public Hospital (S$) Private Hospital (S$)
National Heart Center  4,773 Gleneagles Hospital  3,730
National University Hospital  3,661 Mount Elizabeth Hospital  4,516
Tan Tock Seng Hospital  1,933  
Public Hospital (S$) Private Hospital (S$)
National University Hospital  5,346 Gleneagles Hospital 11,608 
Singapore General Hospital  5,219 Mount Elizabeth Hospital 11,628 
Tan Tock Seng Hospital  4,234  
Public Hospital (S$) Private Hospital (S$)
Changi General Hospital  4,820 Gleneagles Hospital 13,357
National University Hospital  9,186 Mount Elizabeth Hospital 15,347
Singapore General Hospital  6,316 Mount Alvernia Hospital  9,404
Tan Tock Seng Hospital  5,813  
Public Hospital (S$) Private Hospital (S$)
National University Hospital  20,866 Gleneagles Hospital 17,426
Singapore General Hospital  19,951 Mount Elizabeth Hospital 21,643
Public Hospitals
Changi General Hospital
First Accredited: 11 June 2005
Re-accredited: 26 April 2008
Re-accredited: 15 April 2011
Johns Hopkins     Singapore International Medical Centre
First Accredited: 4 August 2004
Re-accredited: 13 November 2007
Re-accredited: 5 November 2010
Khoo Teck Puat Hospital
First Accredited: 27 August 2011
KK Women's and Children's Hospital
First Accredited: 9 December 2005
Re-accredited: 29 November 2008
Re-accredited: 19 November 2011
National Heart Centre of Singapore
First Accredited: 27 October 2005
Re-accredited: 24 July 2008
Re-accredited: 21 July 2011
National University Hospital
First Accredited: 1 August 2004
Re-accredited: 14 July 2007
Re-accredited: 7 August 2010
Singapore General Hospital
First Accredited: 16 July 2005
Re-accredited: 19 July 2008
Re-accredited: 16 July 2011
Tock Seng Hospital
First Accredited: 6 August 2005
Re-accredited: 23 August 2008
Re-accredited: 6 August 2011
Private Hospitals
Institute of Mental Health/Woodbridge Hospital
First Accredited: 29 July 2005
Re-accredited: 12 July 2008
Re-accredited: 30 July 2011
Parkway Hospitals Singapore Pte Ltd Gleneagles Hospital
First Accredited: 27 May 2006
Re-accredited: 13 December 2009
Parkway Hospitals Singapore Pte Ltd - Mount Elizabeth Hospital
First Accredited: 3 June 2006
Re-accredited: 10 December 2009
Parkway Hospitals Singapore Pte Ltd - Parkway East Hospital (Was East Shore Hospital)
First Accredited: 22 November 2007
Re-accredited: 17 December 2010>
Raffles Hospital Private Limited
First Accredited: 13 December 2008
Re-accredited: 26 November 2011
 
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