Speaking in Parliament last week, Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan revealed statistics for the medical tourism sector of Singapore. Mr Khaw informed that the number of medical tourists is estimated by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) using exit surveys at Changi Airport. For year 2007 (the last year for which figures are available), there were 348,000 medical tourists. This was 15% less than the previous year, 2006 (410,000). While tourist numbers dropped, the dollar value expenditure went up to $1.7 billion (+30%) over that period.
Singapore has introduced means testing for public hospital patients starting 1 January 2009. From the first day of the new year, the government will start assessing new patients' entitlement to subsidies for class B2 and class C wards based on their tax-declared incomes or, for non-working patients, the value of their homes.
While income disclosure itself is not mandatory, patients who refuse to do so, effectively opt out of the scheme, and will have their subsidies minimized, similar to that of the highest earning group - currently 50% for class B2 and 65% for class C wards.
The government has announced a set of changes to the Medisave/Medishield scheme. From 1 December 2008, the medical insurance scheme Medishield's premiums will be raised together with increased claim limits.