Healthcare in Singapore

Understand what to expect from the medical system if you're moving to Singapore, from registering for health insurance to seeking medical treatment…

Singapore has a highly-developed healthcare system with an emphasis on private provision which attracts international medical tourism from well beyond the region. The government plays an important role in delivering state of the art healthcare facilities operating 10 public acute hospitals often referred to as restructured because they are run as private companies but remain government owned. There are currently 9 private hospitals.  

Singaporeans and permanent residents fund their own medical costs by paying into government-operated programmes and/or private insurance plans. The option of simply paying the fee upon treatment is also available, and specialists can be directly approached without referrals from a general practitioner.

Singaporeans and permanent residents of Singapore are covered under MediShield Life which is a basic health insurance plan administered by the Central Provident Fund (CPF), a compulsory comprehensive savings and pension plan set up primarily to fund retirement, healthcare, and housing needs; however, non-residents are not covered under the CPF and should ensure they possess adequate private medical insurance. Singaporeans and permanent residents have the option to add on additional private insurance cover for added benefits and comfort. 

The price of medical treatment in public hospitals is regulated by the Ministry of Health (MOH), which licenses all medical practitioners. The ministry publishes data on the average cost of healthcare treatment in private and public hospitals.

Visit the Ministry of Health for more details of treatment prices and subsides

Ward Types

Hospital wards in Singapore fall into a categorisation system with A-class rooms offering more and better facilities at a higher price while B- and C-class rooms are cheaper and fall under public subsidy schemes for citizens and PR’s:

Standard Ward Type A: One bed, attached bath

Standard Ward Type B1: Four beds, shared facilities

Standard Ward Type B2: Six beds, shared facilities 

Standard Ward Type C: Eight beds, shared facilities

Emergency Care

24-hour accident and emergency walk-in departments are available at all general hospitals. The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) operates an ambulance service for life-threatening emergencies (tel: 995), and will bring patients to the nearest public hospital at no charge. If the SCDF ambulance callout is not for an emergency, a fine of 274 Singapore dollars must be paid. For a non-emergency private ambulance, call 1777