International Health Insurance for Singapore

Embarking on a new chapter in Singapore?

Among the essentials for your relocation is securing reliable international health insurance in Singapore.

In a nation revered for its exceptional healthcare system, it is paramount that you have a health coverage plan that parallels this excellence.

Whether you’re an expatriate scouting for peace of mind or are currently residing in this dynamic city-state, grasping the intricate details of different expat health plans can profoundly influence your stay.

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Key Takeaways

  • Singapore’s leading healthcare system is underpinned by both public and private insurance schemes.
  • Understanding the details of your international health insurance in Singapore is crucial for comprehensive coverage.
  • MediShield Life acts as a public safety net, but expatriates need to consider private health insurance options.
  • Incorporating statistics, international health plans should be tailored to match personal healthcare needs and financial capabilities.
  • Expats in Singapore should be well-informed about the potential healthcare costs and the benefits of additional coverages like Integrated Shield Plans.
  • It is advisable for all residents, especially expatriates, to secure a health plan beyond the basic health coverage for wider access and financial security.

Understanding Your International Health Insurance Coverage in Singapore

Securing the right health insurance coverage is a critical step in safeguarding your well-being while living abroad. If Singapore is your destination, it’s essential to consider your options for international health insurance plans that can offer you comprehensive coverage. As you embark on this journey, understanding the intricacies of your insurance contract, such as the policy terms and conditions, and how the scope of coverage may affect your healthcare experience in this vibrant city-state, is vitally important.

Area of Coverage: From „Worldwide“ to „Singapore“

When examining your international health insurance plan, take note of where your coverage actually applies. The geographical scope can vary greatly; from global coverage labelled as „Worldwide“, to plans tailored specifically for healthcare services within Singapore. This fundamental aspect determines not only where you can receive medical treatment but also impacts the convenience and peace of mind when accessing healthcare services.

For example, Singapore’s national health expenditures were a notable 4.47 percent of its GDP in 2016, signifying a well-resourced healthcare system. As such, opting for an insurance plan that includes coverage in this highly-regarded healthcare environment could be a wise decision for both expats and travellers alike.

Navigating Policy Restrictions and Sanctions Laws

Furthermore, your international health insurance policy may come with certain stipulations influenced by global politics. Sanctions law or regulatory frameworks implemented by entities such as the United Nations or the European Union can impose constraints on your coverage. It’s crucial to delve into your policy’s fine print to identify any such regulations that might limit the plan’s effectiveness or exclude certain benefits which you might otherwise assume are included.

Understanding these details is particularly pressing when considering the dynamic nature of healthcare funding and provision in Singapore. For example, with the MediShield Life scheme, the government increased its share of health expenditures from about 32 percent in 2009 to 41 percent in 2016, reducing the out-of-pocket share from 43 percent to 31 percent in the same period. Knowing the interaction between public initiatives and your private international coverage reinforces the importance of thoroughly scrutinising your health insurance policy.

In navigating through policy terms and conditions, be reassured that Singapore’s healthcare system is consistently evolving to meet the needs of its population and residents, which includes those relying on international health insurance plans. In fact, government initiatives such as subsidies to MediShield Life premiums and Integrated Shield Plans demonstrate a progressive approach to healthcare funding, laying the groundwork for a robust support system that complements private health insurance products.

Paying attention to the nuances of health insurance coverage in Singapore ensures that you, as a global citizen or expatriate, enjoy the highest standards of healthcare available in this esteemed destination.

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Why Expats Rate Singapore’s Healthcare System Highly

When you consider relocating, Singapore healthcare system might appear as a beacon, attracting many expatriates with its renowned efficiency and positive healthcare outcomes. Home to approximately 5.8 million inhabitants within an area of just 279 square miles, Singapore boasts a highly developed healthcare infrastructure that stands out even in the crowded sphere of global medical excellence.

For individuals considering the move, expat health considerations are significant, and understanding the strengths of Singapore’s healthcare offerings is paramount. The World Health Organization’s high ranking of Singapore’s healthcare system—a commendable 6th globally—is a testament to the nation’s dedication to health and wellbeing, compelling many expatriates to consider Singapore favourably for its healthcare merits. This is further reinforced by the low poverty rates in Singapore, a factor contributing to the overall health and stability of its population as compared to other developed nations.

The city-state’s marvellous healthcare outcomes are supported by data that positions Singaporeans as holding the record for the world’s longest life expectancy. This is not merely a statistical triumph but a real-world advantage that expatriates often weigh when assessing healthcare systems abroad. Indeed, the mentioned highly rated Singapore healthcare system distinguishes itself not only in the delivery of medical services but also in the consequential quality of life that residents can embrace.

Considering these points, it’s clear why expatriates place a high value on the healthcare system in Singapore, not just for immediate medical needs but also for their far-reaching implications on long-term health and wellbeing. Therefore, it’s advisable for expats to secure a comprehensive international health insurance that aligns with the excellence of Singapore’s healthcare system, ensuring they fully benefit from the outstanding healthcare landscape the country has to offer.

Expert for international health insurance

  • Tailor-made international insurance: As an insurance broker, we offer customized insurance packages that meet the needs and budgets of our customers.
  • Independent advice and selection: We offer independent advice and can select from a wide range of insurance providers to find the best solutions for our clients.
  • Client-focused support: Our dedicated team is on hand to provide our clients with personal advice and support in selecting, managing and optimizing their insurance cover.
  • Many years of industry experience and expertise: Our many years of experience and expertise enable us to offer our clients sound advice and customized solutions based on a deep understanding of the insurance industry.
  • Innovative technology and digital services: We use innovative technology and digital platforms to provide our customers with convenient and transparent access to insurance information and services.

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MediShield Life: The Public Healthcare Safety Net for Residents

The notion of government healthcare services in Singapore is synonymous with MediShield Life, a universal health insurance scheme that forms a critical part of the city-state’s public healthcare safety net. Since its inception, MediShield Life has offered a foundation of financial protection for all Singaporeans and permanent residents against large hospital bills and selected outpatient treatments. It’s a plan ensuring that healthcare remains affordable and accessible to the masses.

Subsidising Health with a National Mandatory Plan

One cannot overlook the significance of MediShield Life when discussing the fabric of Singapore’s healthcare financing. In a concerted effort to manage the national health expenditures, which were 4.47 percent of GDP in 2016, the government increased its share of health expenditures from about 32 percent in 2009 to 41 percent by 2016. Concurrently, the out-of-pocket share for individuals diminished from 43 percent to 31 percent over the same period, highlighting the efficacy of the MediShield Life framework in alleviating direct financial burdens on residents.

The scheme is tailored to be inclusive, with annual premiums starting from a modest SGD 98 for individuals under 20 from low-income households. Prices peak at SGD 1,530 for those over 90 within the high-income bracket, reflecting a subsidisation scale that naturally adjusts to economic and age-related factors.

Navigating Penalties for Non-Payment and Understanding Subsidies

While there are penalties in place for non-payment of MediShield Life premiums, the government’s approach is far from punitive for those facing genuine financial hardship. This is where the Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) enters the equation, as a governmental initiative aimed at providing additional subsidies for lower to middle-income Singaporeans. In 2018 alone, approximately SGD 152 million was channelled into subsidies through CHAS, benefitting about 630,000 citizens.

To further fortify this safety net, during the nascent stages of MediShield Life, the government absorbed close to SGD 850 million in costs pertaining to policyholders with preexisting conditions. This pivotal move underscores the proactive and inclusive nature of the government healthcare services in Singapore, ensuring no resident is left unprotected. Moreover, a staggering 68 percent of the populace opt for Integrated Shield Plans by 2017, seeking additional coverage that complements the fundamental benefits of MediShield Life.

While MediShield Life is a beacon of public healthcare safety net, foreigners residing in Singapore must seek alternative international health insurance solutions since the MediShield Life scheme caters exclusively to citizens and permanent residents. This clear delineation asserts the need for comprehensive health insurance coverage for non-residents to navigate the intricacies of healthcare financing within the country.

Private Health Insurance: A Must-Have for Foreigners in Singapore

If you’re an expatriate or a visitor spending time in Singapore, securing private health insurance should top your list of priorities. Unlike local residents who benefit from the MediShield Life scheme, foreigners are excluded and thus require expat medical care plans to ensure they are well-covered in case of a medical emergency. The healthcare landscape in Singapore is complex, and having international health plans provides a safety net for high-quality medical treatments that could otherwise incur significant financial costs.

Considering Singapore’s national health expenditures stood at 4.47% of GDP in 2016 and the average annual healthcare inflation between 2007 and 2017 was 2.6%, one cannot overlook the importance of adequate health coverage. Especially since out-of-pocket health care costs in Singapore decreased significantly from 43% to 31% between 2009 and 2016, reflecting the government’s support in health expenditures which rose from about 32% to 41% in the same period.

These figures underscore the country’s progress in making healthcare more affordable for its citizens. However, as a visitor or expat, these subsidies aren’t available to you. The MediShield Life premiums alone highlight the potential costs one might incur, with amounts ranging from SGD 98 (USD 72) for younger, lower-income Singaporeans to SGD 1,530 (USD 1,117) for older, higher-income residents.

  • Room for expatriates and visitors to seek private health insurance with a broader scope of coverage.
  • Opportunity to benefit from various international health plans that include coverage for specialist treatments not covered by basic travel insurance.
  • The necessity for those on Employment Passes to voluntarily acquire expat medical care insurance, even when not mandated by employers.

It is worth noting that 68% of citizens and permanent residents in Singapore had Integrated Shield Plans in 2017, illustrating the trend toward additional coverage, which is a rationale you could adopt to optimise your healthcare plan. Similarly, travel insurance options for those from the US underscore the meticulous planning required for overseas medical care, with costs roughly being 5% of the trip cost and specials plans offering upwards of $100,000 coverage.

To circumnavigate the potential pitfalls of unforeseen health issues while away from home, it is advised to integrate your travel and health insurance meticulously. This level of foresight and preparation can save you from inordinate expenses and provide you with the peace of mind needed to fully enjoy the vibrant experience that Singapore offers.

Personalising Your Health Plan with Cigna Global and Other Insurers

With healthcare being a vital aspect of living abroad, it’s paramount to tailor your insurance plan to your unique circumstances. Insurance policies, such as those offered by Cigna Global Insurance Plan, provide tailor-made health plans that cater to the diverse medical needs of individuals and families, giving full control over the type of cover and healthcare network access.

The Advantages of Tailoring a Health Plan

Tailor-made health plans allow you to select from a range of cover options that best fit your requirements, providing a personalised approach to your well-being. Here’s what you can expect when you customise your health insurance:

  • Flexibility to add or remove cover components based on your changing needs
  • A selection of deductible and copayment options to manage your out-of-pocket expenses
  • Choice of geographical coverage area to meet your travel and residency patterns

Understanding Your Health Insurance Provider’s Network

The scope and quality of your healthcare network access can make a substantial difference to your international health experience. A provider like Cigna Global grants you access to an expansive network of healthcare professionals and facilities, ensuring you receive top-tier medical care wherever you’re located.

  1. Assurance of treatment from a wide network of accredited hospitals and clinics
  2. The ability to seek second opinions and specialist referrals with ease
  3. Streamlined direct billing arrangements for a hassle-free experience

Customer Service: A Critical Component of Your International Health Plan

Efficient and responsive customer service is essential, particularly when you’re navigating the complexities of healthcare in a foreign country. High-quality insurance plans boast dedicated support teams that offer guidance and assistance day and night.

Now, let’s compare the specifics of certain coverage aspects provided by different insurance providers.

Insurance FeatureCigna GlobalAetnaEmpire Blue CrossFoyer Global Health
Minimum Enrollment DurationFlexible options3 months continuous serviceVaries by planVaries by plan
Geographical CoverageGlobal networkAll 50 US states & internationalNY service area, Blue Card PPO & Global CoreVarious countries included
Deductible CreditAvailable under certain plansTransferrable with conditionsTransferrable with conditionsBased on policy terms
Customer Service24/7 supportAccessible providersResponsive serviceReviewed rating of 1.5/5
Emergency Coverage in the USAComprehensive optionsExtensive coverageLimited to emergency careNot explicitly listed

It’s crucial to identify an international health insurance plan that offers comprehensive coverage, remarkable service, and peace of mind. Remember, with a provider like Cigna Global Insurance Plan at your side, tailor-made health plans and extensive healthcare network access ensure that you’re well-equipped to manage your health care effectively, wherever life may take you.


In securing your well-being while living or travelling abroad, particularly in Singapore, understanding the full breadth of healthcare provisions is crucial. Singapore’s healthcare standards are amongst the highest in the world, but for foreigners, these come with considerable cost implications. By delving into the nuances of international health insurance coverage options, this guide underscores the paramount importance of being well-insured for a worry-free stay in the Lion City. Reflecting on the commendable strides made by Singapore in enhancing life expectancy and reducing premature mortality from critical ailments, you can appreciate the nation’s commitment to health – a fact which is underpinned by the substantial treatment coverage rates for chronic conditions realised in recent years.

Statistically speaking, with a healthy life expectancy ranking that has ascended impressively and household out-of-pocket payments evenly spread across income levels, Singapore’s healthcare system sets a global benchmark. The domestic healthcare scene is supported by a substantial commitment of approximately 4% of Singapore’s GDP toward health expenditures, ensuring that MediShield coverage and other affordability measures continue to provide extensive security across the population. Additionally, the smart employment of financial mechanisms and government policies like Medisave, MediShield, and related subsidies has proven effective in making copayments more manageable.

Throughout this exploration of healthcare in Singapore, it is evident that with the right coverage options, your health can be confidently entrusted within the capabilities of this city’s world-class medical infrastructure. With excellent treatment outcomes, accessibility to services for all educational levels, and ongoing government monitoring of important health indicators, Singapore presents an admirable case study in health system efficacy. By choosing a comprehensive international health insurance plan, you position yourself to fully embrace life in Singapore, safe in the knowledge that your healthcare needs are catered for, your out-of-pocket costs are sustainably low, and your well-being is securely prioritised.


What should I consider when choosing international health insurance in Singapore?

When selecting international health insurance in Singapore, it’s important to consider the area of coverage, whether it’s „Worldwide“ or limited to „Singapore“, as well as any policy restrictions that might apply due to sanctions laws. Additionally, assess the health insurance coverage based on your specific needs as an expat, taking into account the levels of cover available and the provider’s network within Singapore’s healthcare system.

Why is the Singapore healthcare system highly rated by expatriates?

Expatriates rate Singapore’s healthcare system highly due to its efficiency, high-quality medical care, and outstanding health outcomes. This can be attributed to Singapore’s strong record of the world’s longest life expectancy and high rankings by reputable organisations such as the World Health Organization and Bloomberg Global Health Index.

What is MediShield Life and how does it affect foreigners in Singapore?

MediShield Life is a national mandatory healthcare insurance plan designed to provide subsidies for hospital bills and certain outpatient treatments mainly for Singapore citizens and permanent residents. Foreigners in Singapore are not covered by MediShield Life and need to secure private international health insurance to ensure they’re adequately protected.

Why is private health insurance essential for foreigners living in Singapore?

Private health insurance is essential for foreigners in Singapore because they are not eligible for the national health insurance scheme, MediShield Life. The cost of healthcare can be very high, and having a suitable expat medical care plan is vital to cover potential healthcare expenses without incurring prohibitive out-of-pocket costs.

How can international health insurance plans be tailored to individual needs?

International health insurance plans in Singapore can be tailored to individual needs by selecting flexible plans offered by insurers like Cigna Global. These plans allow you to choose your desired level of coverage, preferred healthcare network, and additional benefits, ensuring that your plan specifically caters to your personal healthcare requirements.

What should I know about my health insurance provider’s healthcare network in Singapore?

You should know which hospitals, clinics, and doctors are included in your health insurance provider’s network in Singapore. This ensures that you have access to recommended healthcare services and practitioners and are aware of your options in case of medical treatment or emergencies.

How important is customer service in an international health insurance plan?

Customer service is a critical component of any international health insurance plan. It ensures that you receive support and clear communication regarding your policy at any time, especially when you need assistance with claims or clarification of your policy’s terms and conditions. Look for providers that offer 24/7 customer support.

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