Private or public

Expat health choices

Private or public

Singapore is an international business hub with a healthcare system rated as one of the best in the world. Outstanding medical standards are consistent across both the public and private sector, and the system is renowned for its offer of unique national schemes which cover public healthcare costs.

The question you might be asking yourself, then, is why go private? The first answer is simple - the Singaporean healthcare system is not designed to accommodate expatriates, leaving many foreigners ineligible for public healthcare.  

Permanent residency

While expatriates with permanent resident status are fortunate enough to enter into the public health system, the path to becoming a permanent resident in itself is tricky - with a minimum of six months work needed under your belt followed by a processing time of 3 months, you’re going to be left unprotected for the best part of a year.

With the high costs of medical care and treatment for those not affiliated with the Singaporean health system, private medical insurance is therefore a must for expats living in the city-state.

Other expat needs

Even after having achieved permanent resident status, many expats still choose to subscribe to private health insurance as a supplement to the public system.

Individual private medical insurance (IPMI) policies offer a number of advantages to expats, one of which is providing support in English or another familiar language - something considerably difficult to find with a local policy. And in such a small country, international coverage is also something to consider to protect you on your travels.

Although a serious accident or illness is not something anyone plans for, in the case that you should need to be repatriated it will certainly not be covered under the national scheme, and is an expensive and stressful process.

A private policy helps to fill in the gaps left uncovered by the otherwise excellent public healthcare system, and with an increasingly large expat community in Singapore, there are several established private insurers - Cigna Global  offers a wide range of policies specifically tailored to expatriates.

When purchasing a private plan, pay attention to the premiums for the services that will be included in your policy while working abroad, and try to choose a plan specifically made to suit your needs.

Further reading

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