Singapore is known worldwide for its superb medical coverage. With a rising industry in biotech and pharmacology, the city is hub of medical innovation – both in terms of procedures and medication.
In the last five years or so, the Little Red Dot has also become a growing center of medical tourism, because it is an ideal location for high quality care and a comfortable environment for recovery.
Singapore citizens and permanent residents are entitled to subsidized government healthcare services through the Central Providence Fund (CPF), a compulsory national savings scheme. As a foreigner, you are exempt from mandatory contribution to the fund, but it also means you do not have access to its coverage.
Expats receive insurance through their work or purchase independently.
However, like many other things in the city – healthcare can be quite expensive in Singapore, so it is important to make sure to be equipped with a comprehensive insurance plan that will allow you to take advantage of these services, remain healthy while you are away, and not sacrifice your savings to protect your health.
Luckily, many global insurance companies have devised schemes to provide services to expats that specifically meet their needs – including coverage in both their home country, their place of residence, and key global travel destinations.
When choosing a provider, make sure that the company you choose offers comprehensive, worldwide, annually renewable health insurance tailored to the needs of international citizens – including excellent customer service, 24/7 emergency assistance, and extensive networks of doctors and health care facilities.
If you want a “mix and match” plan
IMG Medical has listened to the feedback of consumers, who are saying they want the opportunity to move away from traditional plans, and instead build a personalized portfolio of coverage from an a la carte list of options.
With the new GlobalSelect plan, buyers can customise the length and area of cover with the choice to select from multiple annual excesses. This flexibility is based around four basic plans – HeadStart, Basic, Standard, and Executive.
There is also flexibility on coverage area with options for:
- Worldwide excluding USA, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, Singapore, and Taiwan
Across locations, the coverage ranges from:
- Entry level medical insurance designed to get you to see a consultant or specialist privately and quickly, as well as evacuation in case of an emergency
- Mid-level packages that include higher limits, plus coverage for specialist and osteopathic treatments
- The most comprehensive package, which includes some of the highest limits of cover and the widest range of premier international medical insurance services available, including such treatments as vision care due to accidents and restorative dental procedures
If you want to coordinate and manage your coverage online
Medicare International, through April International, has shifted to a web-based economy and provides an online based enrollment service. The global insurance company offers plans based on timelines (long and short-term) and type of coverage (students or business groups).
The portfolio of long-term health insurance packages offers four cover levels, catering from low cost essentials through a truly comprehensive package aimed at those who may require intensive treatment in their country of residence. Some key benefits of these plans include:
- Cancer and Chronic medical conditions covered in full, including an artificial hair and wig benefit for those going through cancer treatment
- Red24 security services included at no additional cost
- Bloodcare Foundation membership included at no additional cost
- Best Doctors Second Medical Opinion Service included at no additional cost
Professionals on international short-term work assignments are served by insurance solutions targeted to those whose trip overseas lasts between one month and one year. Some key benefits of these plans include:
- Full range of out and inpatient treatment, including full reimbursement for accident and emergency care
- Passive war cover included as standard for travel in dangerous locations
- Multi-currency claims settlements direct into your bank account
- Compassionate Leave home travel in the event of a death of a close family member
Student health insurance is designed to ensure minimum disruption to study in the event of an illness, with priority access to the best local facilities – and the option to extend should continued life abroad prove too tempting. Some key benefits of these plans include:
- Cover available for just one semester or a full course studying abroad
- Access to private medical treatment in country – no need to return home
- All inpatient hospital costs met in full
- Cover of emergency treatments needed while on a short visit home
The company is truly international, with clients from 86 nationalities across 121 countries. They also bill in multiple currencies and multi-lingually as necessary.
If you want traditional, fully comprehensive (but expensive) coverage
Cigna Global Health Benefits offers globally mobile employees and their dependents access to the health care benefits and services they need, wherever they are on assignment. Coverage can be purchased for one of two networks – worldwide, or worldwide excluding the USA.
Most likely Cigna will be offered as insurance provided through your employer, since many of their plans are designed for groups of two or more. Other customizable plans are available to those purchasing as individuals.
Cigna plans are designed for expats on more long-term assignments, though there is supplemental coverage available for those on short-term business travel. Because Cigna is an established global leader in insurance, the company has the breadth to provide top-level service.
Some key benefits of their plans include:
- An extensive health care network with more than one million health care professionals and facilities worldwide
- Clinical resources for health and wellbeing (outreach, coordination, and intervention)
- Concierge and Travel Assistance services for travel related concerns that go beyond health, including:
- Advice on how to recover or replace lost documents such as passports and credit cards
- Personal emergency telephone translation services
- Help locating nearby health care professionals or facilities
- Help finding or replacing prescription medication
- Coordination of emergency travel arrangements for children under the age of 18 who may be left unattended if a family member becomes sick
- Help obtaining necessary documents for medical insurance claims
- Arrangement of an emergency medical evacuation