Private health insurance for expats in Singapore

Private health insurance for expats in Singapore

Private health insurance for expats in Singapore

Singapore is a favourite amongst upwardly mobile expat professionals, even although it’s one of the world’s most expensive locations. The city-state of Singapore has been a land of opportunity for countless expats, and is still drawing in its fair share of top professionals.

Salaries are high and, although relocation packages have shrunk recently, they’re plenty enough to cover the city’s expensive lifestyle. Normally, private healthcare insurance is included, but those arriving on their own should realise that, although the standard of care is excellent, private medical treatment is extremely expensive. Singapore’s Medisave subsidies don’t apply to foreigners or non-residents, leaving those not covered to arrange their own private health insurance.

As with any service-based insurance, comparing what’s on offer is essential, as is carefully searching for exclusions and other small-print get-outs. In the vast majority of expat destinations, there’s a wide choice of providers both local and global, with deciding which one’s right for your circumstances a daunting prospect. Do-it-yourself is possible, but many choose an insurance broker. Whatever your priorities, benefit types are the same across the board as regards types and plan levels, and flexibility in the market can confuse event the brightest person.

First of all, you’ll need to assess your specific health needs, tricky if you’re younger and in the so-called prime of life. Looking at your parents’ medical histories might help, although the likelihood of your having the same problems is slight, possibly making it easier to decide what illnesses you’re least rather than more likely to have. A favourite way to mitigate the cost of a policy is to opt for higher excess payments, thus leaving your insurer to cover a smaller amount, and you’ll also need to estimate a total amount of annual claims. Checking your coverage area as well as your eligibility is another task you’ll not want to do!

One important issue is renewability after you reach a certain age, which doesn’t mean you’re no longer insurable by any healthcare company, but it does mean you’ll almost certainly pay more for a new policy, especially if you’re, say, 75 years old. Some plans offer a lifetime coverage guarantee, but at a price. Joining a group policy will certainly cost less, but may not be as suitable as regards cover.
Another issue is billing, with the traditional way meaning the insured person pays the bill, reclaiming it from the insurer after treatment is ended. Many people found this difficult to arrange, with most companies nowadays switching to a direct billing model involving the healthcare provider and the insurance company working together and the claimant simply submitting an insurance card before treatment begins. However, an increasing number of private hospitals, especially in Southeast Asia, are now demanding part payment in advance via the patient’s credit or debit card, not easy for those arriving unconscious after a road traffic accident, stroke or heart attack!

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