Public hospitals are well-equipped and patients from surrounding countries often travel to Singapore for more complex treatments and a better standard of care. Community clinics, known as polyclinics, serve as multifunctional primary care facilities. They provide health screenings and immunisation as well as general outpatient services, including dentistry in some cases.
Singapore has a unique approach to public healthcare, where patients co-pay for most of their medical expenses through contributions to a mandatory savings plan. Unfortunately, only citizens or permanent residents can access this care. Therefore, the majority of expats in Singapore take out private health insurance or have it provided by their employer as part of their expat package.
Private hospitals are slightly pricier than their public counterparts but the level of service is also slightly better. They tend to cater more for foreigners and wealthy Singaporeans, and are usually smaller and less prevalent than public hospitals. Generally, expats use private hospitals and clinics for day-to-day services and only turn to public hospitals in an emergency.
For expats living in Singapore, a good international health insurance plan is advisable to ensure continued access to quality healthcare and to avoid expensive medical fees.
Those moving to Singapore for work are likely to have private health insurance included as part of their relocation package. Regardless, it is wise to carefully check the terms of any health insurance policy to ensure that it provides adequate cover to meet each individual’s needs.