Singapore to cut foreigners' medical subsidies

Thursday, December 14, 2006
13 December 2006

Singapore's Ministry of Health (MOH) will reduce medical subsidies for non-citizens at public hospitals and national medical centres starting next year. The medical services affected are :

  • inpatient services,
  • day surgery, and
  • specialist outpatient clinics (SOCs).

Emergency services at hospital emergency departments will be excluded from the changes.

Effective October 2007, foreigners will pay the full cost of medical treatment at public hospitals. Bills for such inpatients could rise as much as four times in the lower class wards.

Permanent Residents(PR) will have their bill subsidy percentages reduced by 5 percentage points, and another 5 the following year (October 2008). The changes are shown in the table below.

Subsidy Levels of Medical Services
(Oct 2007)
(Oct 2008)
Specialist Outpatient Clinics50%45%40%0%
Day Surgery65%60%55%0%
Ward - Class B120%15%10%0%
Ward - Class B265%60%55%0%
Ward - Class C80%75%70%0%

Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan says the move is expected to save about 36 million Singapore dollars annually, which the government will use to defray medical expenses of elderly Singaporeans. There are about 875,500 foreigners and 480,000 permanent residents in Singapore - a significant increase over the past decade, prompting the move by the government.

The Minister mentioned that his ministry is considering a move to require employer-purchased medical insurance for foreign workers to cushion the impact of medical bill size increases.