Last Updated on by Rodrigo @ OutofYourComfortZone
Moving to Singapore as an expatriate, immigrant or international student? Here’s what you need to know!
If you are moving to Singapore, you’ll be joining a global community of expats who have set up home in the Lion City. Vibrant and cosmopolitan, it offers a quality of life and standard of living that attracts the best business talent to its shores.
Characterized by the stunning Marina Bay waterfront and towering skyscrapers, Singapore looks the part. On top of all that, it also has an excellent healthcare system.
In this short article, I’ll explain how the system works and what you and your family can expect when relocating to Singapore.
Table of Contents
- 1 Healthcare in Singapore
- 2 Singapore – a city of expats
- 3 How the healthcare system in Singapore works
- 4 Global health insurance that covers Expats in Singapore: Cigna Healthcare global health plans
- 5 10 Top Singapore Attractions for Travelers and Expats Visiting or Living in the Country
- 6 Conclusion…
- 7 Planning your next trip?
Healthcare in Singapore
When it comes to healthcare, Singapore boasts impressive credentials. It is one of the healthiest countries in the world according to the World Health Organization, which ranked the country second, behind Japan, based on rates of chronic illness, life expectancy and access to care.
The Economist Intelligence Unit, another trusted barometer, placed Singapore second out of 166 countries for healthcare outcomes. There was a similar conclusion from the Bloomberg Global Health Index, which included Singapore in the world’s top ten healthiest countries. Based on these results, expats are moving to a country that prioritizes health and well-being and has an effective healthcare system.
Singapore – a city of expats
Singapore has always welcomed expats. It is estimated that 1.7 million global employees live in the city – that’s around 30% of the population. It is this influx of skilled employees, together with its strategic location and thriving economy, that proves irresistible to companies looking to expand and establish a base in Asia. Singapore is a great place to do business.
Singapore is also a great place to live. It was ranked the world’s best destination for expats by HSBC in 2018 and continues to attract global employees. When you move to Singapore, you’ll be in the company of other expats and will quickly make new friends. With others in the same boat as you, adjusting to life in a new country will be easier and less stressful.
Here’s an interesting fact: Along with Monaco and Vatican City, Singapore is one of only three city-states in the world. It is also the world’s second most expensive city, pipped at the post by Tel Aviv1. And just a word about the property market. Yes, it’s pricey if you’re looking to rent or buy in Singapore.
Also, demand for prime property is high, a situation heightened by Hong Kong-based expats relocating to Singapore in 2020. Around 80% of the population live in high-rise government-owned apartments, with many well-heeled expats choosing to buy in neighborhoods including Holland Village, Sentosa and the arty district of Tiong Bahru.
How the healthcare system in Singapore works
Singapore has an excellent healthcare system – it’s one of the best in the world. However, if you’re an expat, you’ll need private insurance or deep pockets to access its services – unless your employer has a health plan you can join. There’s a simple explanation: in Singapore, expats have non-resident status. They are visa holders, don’t contribute financially to the system and, for this reason, are not eligible for subsidized primary care.
The system is publicly funded through taxes and topped up with contributions from mandatory life insurance schemes paid by employers and their employees. These are called the 3Ms – Medisave, Medishield and Medifund.
It’s an efficient system that finances the running of ten public and 12 private hospitals, plus numerous clinics where you can register with a GP. The government-run Singapore General Hospital was ranked eighth out of 2,000 in a 2021 poll of the world’s best hospitals2, the only Asian hospital in the top ten.
With around 80% of hospital beds in public hospitals, it’s perhaps surprising that many expats opt to go privately. For non-permanent residents, the cost of private care is higher. However, the admissions process is quicker and more specialist treatments are available.
Also, there’s greater choice of beds, private rooms and amenities. Demand for healthcare is constantly high. In addition to residents and expats, the country’s reputation as a popular medical tourism destination means it attracts patients from around the world.
What about the costs for healthcare in Singapore? Yes, healthcare is expensive, but you get what you pay for. Singapore has invested heavily in its system and it shows: a strong infrastructure, great facilities and experienced medical staff.
A ten-minute private consultation with a GP can cost €20-30, a figure that rises to €120-200 for an out-of-hours appointment. You could expect to pay €120 for a visit to A&E, while for a surgical procedure, you’d be looking at anything between €8,000-18,000. While not as expensive as, say, the United States, the case for private medical insurance is indisputable.
Global health insurance that covers Expats in Singapore: Cigna Healthcare global health plans
Cigna Healthcare is a world leader in the international health insurance market. It is part of a global business with around 180 million customers and patients worldwide. The company specialises in designing health plans for the expat community, providing solutions that protect the health and well-being of globally mobile employees, digital nomads, and students as they travel and work abroad.
Benefits of choosing Cigna for health insurance in Singapore
- Access to healthcare for expats and non-residents.
- Find comprehensive cover that fits your needs.
- 24/7 access to our customer care team.
- Personalised, predictable, reliable service and care.
Click below to receive a health insurance quote based on your profile and needs:
10 Top Singapore Attractions for Travelers and Expats Visiting or Living in the Country
As already mentioned above, Singapore is often referred to as the “Lion City” and is a vibrant and dynamic metropolis that seamlessly blends its rich cultural heritage with modernity. Besides its huge Expat population, this small island nation in Southeast Asia has also become a sought-after destination for travelers from all corners of the world. With its stunning skyline, lush green spaces, and a melting pot of cultures, Singapore offers a multitude of attractions that cater to every traveler’s or resident interests.
So since you will already be living in Singapore as an expatriate, international student or immigrant, why not explore the whole country? Then, here are the top 10 must-visit tourist attractions in Singapore (some already mentioned above), making your stay an unforgettable experience.
1. Marina Bay Sands
The iconic Marina Bay Sands resort is a stunning architectural masterpiece that has become a symbol of Singapore. This integrated resort is not just a place to stay; it’s a destination in itself. The resort complex boasts a luxurious hotel, a world-class casino, high-end shopping, and a rooftop infinity pool that offers breathtaking panoramic views of the city skyline.
Whether you’re staying at Marina Bay Sands or not, visiting the SkyPark Observation Deck is a must for that picture-perfect postcard view of Singapore.
2. Gardens by the Bay
Gardens by the Bay is a marvel of horticulture and design, an oasis of green in the heart of the city. The Supertree Grove, a collection of towering tree-like structures, is an awe-inspiring sight, especially when they come alive with a mesmerizing light and sound show at night.
The Flower Dome and Cloud Forest conservatories house an incredible array of flora from around the world, and the colorful Flower Dome is the largest glass greenhouse in the world. It’s the perfect place to escape Singapore’s humidity and immerse yourself in a world of stunning plants.
3. Sentosa Island
Sentosa Island is a playground of fun and entertainment, just a stone’s throw away from the city center. It offers something for every type of traveler, from beautiful beaches to adrenaline-pumping theme parks. You can relax on the pristine beaches, visit Universal Studios Singapore for some thrilling rides, or explore the S.E.A. Aquarium, one of the largest aquariums in the world.
Sentosa is also home to the beautiful Sentosa Merlion, a national symbol of Singapore, and the lush Butterfly Park & Insect Kingdom.
Step into the heart of Singapore’s Chinese heritage by exploring Chinatown. This vibrant district is a treasure trove of culture, history, and delectable cuisine. The Chinatown Heritage Centre provides insights into the lives of early Chinese immigrants, while the Sri Mariamman Temple, Singapore’s oldest Hindu temple, showcases the country’s diverse cultural tapestry.
Don’t forget to visit the bustling Chinatown Street Market, where you can shop for souvenirs, trinkets, and enjoy a variety of local street food.
5. Little India
Little India is a sensory overload, a place where the vibrant colors, aromatic spices, and lively atmosphere create an authentic Indian experience. Explore the bustling streets, visit the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, and indulge in mouthwatering Indian cuisine at local restaurants and stalls. Don’t forget to pick up some traditional Indian garments, spices, and souvenirs at the local shops and markets.
6. Orchard Road
Shopaholics will find paradise on Orchard Road, one of the world’s most famous shopping streets. This bustling avenue is lined with a dazzling array of malls, department stores, and boutiques, offering everything from high-end designer fashion to affordable bargains. If shopping isn’t your thing, the street is still a great place to take a leisurely stroll, dine at a wide range of restaurants, and enjoy the city’s vibrant energy.
7. Singapore Zoo
Singapore Zoo is not your typical wildlife sanctuary; it’s a place where animals are given room to roam in habitats closely resembling their natural environments. The zoo’s open concept makes it one of the most family-friendly attractions in Singapore, with a range of animal encounters and educational programs.
The Night Safari, an adjacent attraction, allows visitors to witness nocturnal creatures in their natural habitats under the cover of darkness. It’s a truly unique and unforgettable experience.
8. Singapore Botanic Gardens
Singapore Botanic Gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a lush escape from the urban hustle and bustle. Established in 1859, it’s a haven for nature enthusiasts and a picturesque spot for a leisurely stroll. The National Orchid Garden within the park showcases over 1,000 species and 2,000 hybrids of orchids. The gardens are the perfect place for a picnic, a jog, or simply unwinding in a serene natural setting.
9. Merlion Park
The Merlion, a mythical creature with the head of a lion and the body of a fish, is Singapore’s national symbol and a must-see attraction. The Merlion Park, located at the mouth of the Singapore River, is home to the iconic Merlion statue, which spouts water into Marina Bay. This spot offers stunning views of the city skyline and the nearby Marina Bay Sands. It’s a great place for a photo opportunity and a leisurely walk along the waterfront.
10. National Museum of Singapore
To delve into Singapore’s rich history and cultural heritage, a visit to the National Museum is essential. This architectural masterpiece houses an extensive collection of artifacts and exhibits that trace the nation’s journey from its early days to modern times.
The museum’s interactive displays, multimedia presentations, and immersive exhibitions make history come alive for visitors of all ages. It’s an engaging and educational experience that offers a deeper understanding of Singapore’s evolution.
Navigating Singapore’s healthcare system as an expatriate can initially seem complex, but armed with the right information and understanding, it becomes a straightforward and efficient process. Singapore’s healthcare system is renowned for its high-quality care, excellent facilities, and accessibility. Whether you can opt for the public or prefer the private healthcare route with an expat insurance like Cigna Global, you can expect world-class medical services that prioritize patient well-being.
By familiarizing yourself with these healthcare options and being proactive about your well-being, you can enjoy a healthy and fulfilling expat experience in Singapore. Then, with this peace of mind you will have time and energy to visit all the top 10 attractions I mentioned above. J
Have fun in Singapore!
Planning your next trip?
Already reserved your hotel or hostel? If not, we recommend Booking.com. They have a huge selection of hotels and hostels all over the world. Plus, in most cases, you can cancel your reservation without any costs up to a few days before the check-in date!
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And finally, will you need to rent a car during your trip? Then check out Rentalcar.com to search and compare car rental companies from all over the world in a single website. Then, you can find the cheapest price for the best car!
Planning your next trip?