Testimonials to help you understand Singapore’s healthcare system

Want to understand how healthcare works in Singapore? Why is it essential to take out health insurance in Singapore? Mondassur interviewed a French doctor based in Singapore. You’ll gain a better understanding of the cost of consultations in Singapore, how the Singapore healthcare system works and the criteria for choosing your doctor in Singapore.

health costs singapore

What is the average cost of a GP consultation in Singapore?

It depends, of course, but is usually around 50 SGD. Some very “local” practices, i.e. in HDBs, can be as low as 35 SGD, but in this kind of practice, the level of medicine is very average, good only for colds or flus.

What is the average cost of a consultation with a specialist in Singapore?

It varies enormously. If in the public sector (hospitals for example), expats pay quite a lot: gynecologist= 100-150 SGD min (KK hospital), the private sector is generally even more expensive. A private gynecologist, for example, would cost SGD 200-300 or even more.

Is there a public healthcare system in Singapore? If so, is it effective? Are expatriates and foreigners eligible?

Yes, there’s an efficient healthcare system, but not for “non-resident” expats (even those on work contracts). The government covers part of the costs (“subsidies”) for Singaporeans and PRs (“Permanent Residents”, a status that is almost impossible to obtain these days!) Expats or non-residents pay “full price” in the public sector, or much more expensive in the private sector.

What percentage of the population is affected?

All Singaporeans and PR. There are also extra welfare benefits for Singaporeans in need.

How many French-speaking doctors are there in Singapore?

There aren’t many. French doctors are not allowed to practice in Singapore unless they have attended a specific university in Paris. Many of our doctors speak French (e.g. Valérie Druon, Mélissandre Noel, Vincent Tan). There’s a gyneco-endocrinologist at the KK Hospital who is French but sees mainly Singaporeans and locals.

How can I benefit from Singapore’s public healthcare system?

Becoming PR… which is very difficult for foreigners. It is strongly recommended that you take out expatriate health insurance to ensure you are covered in Singapore.

What are the health recommendations for Singapore?

Singapore is a highly-developed, modern country with a high-quality, albeit very expensive, healthcare system. There are recommendations especially in relation to diseases such as dengue linked to mosquito bites. There’s also a fair amount of hand foot and mouth disease, and many small viruses such as Mycoplasma.

What advice would you give to expatriates in Singapore?

To take out insurance at all costs, as prices are very high for hospitalization/operations and medicine in general.

How to choose a doctor in Singapore

By word of mouth and recommendations from local expatriates.

What is pregnancy like in Singapore?

Again, two choices: very good public maternity hospitals such as KK Hospital (state-of-the-art referral hospital for all post-natal and peri-natal problems and children’s hospital) or NUH and a much more expensive system with private hospitals, which are the ones expatriates have access to.

What advice would you give about hospitalization in Singapore? Private hospitals? Public?

It really depends on the difficulties and what the insurance covers. The best doctors often work in private hospitals after passing through the public system. But there are some very good public hospitals like KK (maternity, children, gynecological problems and cancers), TTSH (for emergencies and others). Also very good private hospitals such as Mount Elizabeth Novena or Orchard Road (more expensive). In Singapore, it’s often important to get a second opinion (in private hospitals, there may be a greater incentive to operate). For example: appendicitis costs 2,600 SGD in a public hospital, and 20,000 SGD in a private hospital!

What are the advantages of going to a French-speaking doctor when you’re an expatriate?

For people who don’t speak English well, this is a definite plus. On a psychological level, it’s often much easier to speak in your mother tongue. Expatriates need referral professionals to help them establish ties in their new country of residence.

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