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5 Things to Consider Before Visiting Healthcare in Singapore 2024

Jasmine
February 28, 2024

Healthcare in Singapore system is impressive in many ways, from comprehensive financial system to local GPs within walking distance of your home system is impressive in many ways — from a comprehensive financial system to accessible hospitals and local neighborhood GPs within walking distance of your home. In fact, in 2020, it ranked 1st in the world for the most efficient healthcare, according to Bloomberg’s Health-Efficiency Index. 

But what do you do when it’s not just the flu? With the numerous options available, navigating the healthcare system can also be quite daunting and confusing, especially if you’re not familiar with it. 

Some people don’t like the wait (or do not have the luxury of time to do so) and are often passed around from one healthcare provider to the next until you find the right doctor for your condition. The comprehensive financial system may also be overwhelming, with the need to understand your insurance plans and the policies and entitlements that come with them. 

Things to Think Before Going to the Healthcare Facilities in Singapore

1. Is it the Right Doctor?

Contrary to popular belief, you do not need a GP referral to see a specialist. You can contact the specialist clinic directly to make an appointment. 

If you are already aware of your symptoms and have a general idea of what you suffer from, you could cut your time spent by visiting a specialist right away. For example, urinary issues could entail a visit to a urologist. 

Knowing your doctor’s background is essential. Specialist doctors have sub-specialties and certain treatments and techniques they are known for. These can generally be found on their clinic websites. 

An alternative option would be to visit your GP for an initial diagnosis, in which they may refer you to a specialist after. The trade-off, however, is that it may take you more consultations and hence, a longer wait before you get the necessary treatment or procedure. This may not be the best option if your condition is time-sensitive or if you’re experiencing symptoms that you would want immediately treated.

2. Are you Insured?

Healthcare in Singapore is expensive, especially for expatriates. This makes it paramount to take your insurance coverage into consideration. You may have restrictions on which medical providers you can visit and if certain treatments are insurance claimable. 

Some clinics have this information available online, but it would be best to give them a call and enquire because this information may not always be up-to-date. 

If you reside overseas, note that many insurance companies only partially cover emergency medical flights. Remember to read the fine details of your insurance policies carefully. 

3. Visa Applications

If you live outside of Singapore and would like to seek treatment within the country, you may need to make the appropriate visa application arrangements. 

You can apply via the Singapore embassy in your respective countries. Generally, you’ll have to make sure you have:

  • A valid passport
  • 3 copies of recent passport-sized photographs
  • A filled-in application form 

It’s important to note that these applications may take time, depending on your country of residence. It may take as long as 6 weeks, so plan early! 

Pro-tip: If you’ve already found the specialist you’d like to visit in Singapore, you may request a supporting letter to aid in your application.

4. Getting Around

Clinic location matters, especially if you will have to see the doctor often for check-ups and long-term care. Look into the location of the clinic, how accessible it is and how long it will take to travel to and fro appointments.

On that note, if you live outside Singapore, consider the necessary transport arrangements you would need to make. For more serious cases and disabilities, you may require medical evacuation services. 

5. Post-Care Support

If you plan to undergo surgery or a procedure, remember to make the necessary arrangements. Have a trusted friend or family member assume the role of primary caregiver to assist with the transition from hospital to home. 

The healthcare system in Singapore is top-notch but can be complex. By keeping the points above, you can navigate more easily and get the care you need.

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