3 THINGS THAT MAKE HEALTHCARE IN SINGAPORE UNIQUE
Updated 3rd October 2021 to include Covid Travel Requirements
This article is continuously updated.
Foreigners from all over the world travel to Singapore for many reasons, including tourism, education, trade and especially, healthcare. Healthcare in Singapore has a rather impressive history, gaining momentum alongside the country's quick ascent into first-world excellence in a single generation.
If you're looking to travel for your health, then here are three compelling reasons why healthcare in Singapore should be at the top of your list!
COVID TRAVEL NOTICE: Singapore is subject to travel restrictions during the current pandemic. See below for more information.
1. The Standard of Healthcare In Singapore is Exceptionally High
Unlike many countries, public healthcare in Singapore maintains such a high level of excellence that the public sector actually sets the standard for the private sector.
All healthcare centers in general run on a semi-private system, which pushes them all to achieve the highest standards and compete against each other, no matter whether privately owned or government run. As a result, many countries and their citizens turn to healthcare in Singapore for the best treatment possible.
2. The Cost of Treatment is Greatly Reduced
While healthcare is free to all of Singapore's citizens thanks to taxes and a mandatory national savings scheme; tourists are still expected to pay the fees.
However, even the full cost of the most expensive medical procedures is still less than what you would expect to pay in the US and other Western countries. On average, you can expect to pay a third or less of the price!
Private hospitals tend to charge a slightly higher fee than public hospitals in Singapore for the same degree of service, but many foreigners still prefer private hospitals as there are minimal queues to wait in.
The price also depends on your requirements. In a typical Singapore hospital, the wards are divided by class, much like on an airplane flight. The best rooms are comparable to that of a five-star hotel and will charge you accordingly, whereas an average hospital room will be a lot cheaper than staying overnight at a US hospital.
3. Singapore Has a Few World-Renowned Specialty Clinics
Another reason people from far and wide travel for healthcare in Singapore is due to its reputation for world-class specialists and specialty clinics. You can find reputable clinics for the following specializations and diseases in Singapore:
- Sports Injuries
- Eye Treatment
COVID Travel Restrictions and Requirements for Singapore
Singapore has implemented very strict lockdown precautions, including a stringent travel ban. Travel to Singapore depends on the type of travel pass you’re eligible to apply for, which determines the locations you may travel from in order to enter the country.
While some of the most up-to-date information is provided below on Singapore’s current travel requirements, it is best to triple-check with your local Singapore Embassy as the information may change at any moment. Furthermore, officials may decide to impose additional restrictions which may take time to reflect online.
Violating pandemic restrictions may result in a hefty fine (up to S$10 000), 6 months of jail time or both. Subsequent violations may result in fines or jail time of up to double these amounts. You may also wish to check other local laws before traveling to Singapore, as capital punishment may include caning, the death penalty, a fine or a long prison sentence.
Travel Passes: Singapore has introduced four ‘Safe Travel Lanes,’ which refer to specific entry passes that one may apply for in order to travel there. These consist of:
- Air Travel Pass – Short-term travelers from Mainland China, Taiwan, Macao or Hong Kong may apply for this pass. Applications need to be submitted 7-30 days prior to departure. Securing this pass includes paying for a post-arrival covid test. This pass is not suitable for citizens, residents, students or those who work in Singapore. More information about the Air Travel Pass can be found on the ICA site.
- Connect@Singapore (Suspended until further notice since 27 May 2021) – This pass was originally intended for business officials that frequent Singapore for visits of 14 days or less. Any applications made for this pass are no longer valid. Alternatively, business officials may apply for an Air Travel Pass for short-term visits (see above).
- Reciprocal Green Lane – This pass is valid for companies or government agencies who need to arrange travel to Singapore for employees. Currently, only applicants with a valid passport from mainland China and Brunei are eligible. This pass is meant for short-term essential travel (under 14 days), single-entry visits or for business/official dealings between Singapore and the country of departure.
Applications need to be submitted 2-5 weeks prior to the week of travel. Travel in Singapore, 14-day itinerary, accommodation and departure need to be pre-arranged by the applicants sponsor. More information is available for sponsors and applicants on the ICA site.
- Vaccinated Travel Lane – This pass is applicable to fully vaccinated individuals traveling to Singapore via Brunei or Germany. Vaccinated citizens and residents may travel to Singapore without a vaccinated travel pass, provided they adhere to the requirements of this pass. Applications need to be submitted 7-30 days prior to travel. QR codes from a valid vaccination certificate and pre-arranged PCR testing are requirements for the application. Vaccinated individuals may not travel to Singapore for at least 14 days after they received their vaccination. For more information, see the ICA’s requirements for vaccinated visitors.
- Other Travel Lanes – Several other travel lanes are applicable to Singapore citizens, residents, and students. These include the Returning Singapore Citizen/ Permanent Resident Lane; the Familial Ties Lane; the Death and Critical Illness Emergency Visits Lane; and the Student’s Pass Holder Lane. There are four categories detailing unique covid travel requirements for applicants depending on their country of departure. Additional passes may need to be applied for by these travelers. More information can be found here.
The following online tool may be used to assess the Safe Travel Lane pass that applies to you.
The departure airport will demand to see a copy of a pass approval letter, a valid visa, and the TraceTogether app (see below). Without these, you may be denied entry prior to leaving.
You may also need to have on hand your SG Arrival Card, a copy of your travel insurance policy and proof of arranged departure. Arranged departure (i.e. a return air/bus ticket) is only a requirement for Reciprocal Green Lane Pass holders.
SG Arrival Card: Please note that aside from needing to apply for a safe travel lane pass, an SG Arrival Card is required for entry into Singapore. This needs to be submitted electronically 3 days prior to travel.
Visa: Travelers also need to apply separately for a visa. Some individuals may be eligible for a visa-free transit facility.
Travel History Requirements: Entry into the country will only be granted if the person:
- Remains located at their declared point of departure for 21 days prior to traveling.
- Has not been tested positive for COVID-19 21 days before departure.
- Does not have symptoms of COVID-19.
- Has not been in close contact with someone else who has COVID-19 at least 14 days before traveling to Singapore. This includes caring for a person with COVID-19; living with an infected person; or spending ≥15 minutes within a ≤2 meter radius near an infected person.
TraceTogether App: The TraceTogether app is mandatory for all visitors over the age of 6 years. The app is designed to facilitate covid contact tracing and should be used to check in and out of areas visited in Singapore. Children aged 7-12 years and handicapped individuals that are unable to use a mobile device are required to apply for a Trace Together token instead. You’ll need to show you have the app or a token when in the departure airport or you may be refused entry into Singapore. While in Singapore and for 21 days after leaving the country, the app needs to remain active.
Testing: A PCR test will be administered upon arrival. It’s advisable to sort any travel-related business in the airport before receiving your test (e.g. money exchange, Singapore SIM cards, renting mobile devices, etc).
Test results are usually available within 24hours. After being tested and undergoing immigration clearance, visitors will need to hire transport to their pre-designated accommodation (pre-arranged for Reciprocal Green Lane Pass holders). They will need to remain in this location until the results return negative, after which they may travel and make use of other facilities in Singapore.
If tested positive, the traveler will be required to undergo medical treatment at their own expense, which may be covered by mandatory travel insurance (see below).
Those traveling via the Reciprocal Green Lane Pass need to acquire a negative PCR test result 3 days before visiting Singapore. Only test result certificates from an authorized health center will be accepted. Travel sponsors will submit this prior to travel on behalf of the applicant, alongside a 14-day travelers itinerary and proof of travel insurance (see below for insurance requirements).
Those traveling via the Vaccinated Travel Pass need to pre-book post-arrival PCR testing for day 3 and day 7 of their stay in Singapore. These travelers also need to be pre-tested at a certified facility 2 days prior to departure. The test result certificate will be required as proof; and needs to include the person’s name, date of birth or passport number matching their passport, the date and time of the test, the name of the testing institution and confirmation of a negative covid result.
Quarantine: Visitors will be required to self-isolate upon arrival until they get a negative covid test result. This applies to all Safe Travel Lanes. Testing will occur within the first 24hours of landing. If the test is positive, the traveler will need to quarantine themselves at a certified hotel at their own expense, or at their private residence. Travelers will only be allowed to self-isolate in the same facility if they are household members and if they share the same travel history, arrival date and isolation requirements.
Vaccinations: Vaccinations are mandatory for foreigners from select locations wishing to make long-term visits to Singapore (see vaccinated travel lane above). They are also required for attending many social events and gatherings in Singapore. To qualify for full vaccination status in Singapore, one needs to have had a full regimen of any WHO EUL Vaccines. These include: Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty, Astrazeneca, Covishield, Janssen (Johnson & Johnson), Sinovac and Sinopharm. Mixing of any of these vaccines will be approved by Singapore authorities.
Vaccination status may be displayed via a valid certificate, on the TraceTogether app or the HealthHub app. A vaccine certificate needs to display the travelers name, birth date or passport number, country of vaccination (only Singapore and/or country of departure are accepted), name of vaccine/s received and the vaccination date/s.
Vaccination in Singapore is only free to citizens and long-term residents. One can book an appointment here.
Mandatory Insurance: For all travel passes listed above, you will need a digital or physical copy of your travel insurance policy. Your policy needs to be able to cover for at least S$30 000 in COVID-19-related medical fees or you may not be eligible for traveling to Singapore. More information is provided on the ICA website, including insurance providers that offer travel-compliant packages.
Transiting Via Singapore: Travelers may transit via Singapore’s Changi Airport, provided that their transfer route has been approved by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore. Approval needs to be discussed with the airline before purchasing tickets. Those traveling from India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Myanmar will not be allowed to transit via Singapore.
A negative PCR test result certificate 2 days prior to transit to Singapore is required for most travelers (see testing above). Those journeying from Hong Kong, mainland China, Macao or Taiwan do not need PCR testing to transit. Entry visas are not a requirement for transit through Singapore, as long as the traveler remains in terminals 1-4 without receiving an immigration check. A visa may be required for flights that demand making use of facilities outside of the airport transit area.
Healthcare Providers in Singapore
Kids Clinic is a children's hospital & medical center located in Singapore. Kids Clinic’s Child Specialist provides general and specialized pediatric care.
Lifescan Imaging is a radiology centre in Singapore offering a range of imaging services such as Bone Mineral Densitometry, Diagnostic X-Rays and so on.
SW1 clinic is known for experienced, passionate & knowledgeable medical practitioners. SW1 provides some of the best anti-aging, acne treatments & regenerative medicine in Singapore.
The Cancer Center in Singapore provides some of the best cancer/oncology care in Singapore. The facility treats cancer/oncology by various methods including chemotherapy, Immunotherapy, and much more.
The Dental Studio provides some of the best dental health care services in Singapore for both adults and children.
Cardiac Center International is part of the Singapore Medical Group (SMG). The facility has highly experienced heart specialist doctors as part of their staff.
Wellness & Gynaecology Centre by Dr Julinda Lee
Wellness & Gynaecology Centre in Singapore is the arm of SMG providing health care services for women. Services are centered primarily around functional medicine.
Lifescan Medical Centre located in Singapore specialises in delivering personalised, executive screening, general check ups and wellness programmes.
For Healthcare in Singapore, please visit Mya Care.
-  https://www.guidemesingapore.com/business-guides/immigration/get-to-know-singapore/healthcare-in-singapore
-  https://www.singaporeexpats.com/guides-for-expats/healthcare-in-singapore.htm
-  https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/singapore
-  https://www.visitsingapore.com/travel-guide-tips/travel-requirements/
-  https://safetravel.ica.gov.sg/connectsg/overview
-  https://safetravel.ica.gov.sg/health/vtsg#acceptedvaccines
-  https://safetravel.ica.gov.sg/transit/overview
Disclaimer: Please note that Mya Care does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The information provided is not intended to replace the care or advice of a qualified health care professional. The views expressed are personal views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Mya Care. Always consult your doctor for all diagnoses, treatments, and cures for any diseases or conditions, as well as before changing your health care regimen. Do not reproduce, copy, reformat, publish, distribute, upload, post, transmit, transfer in any manner or sell any of the materials in this blog without prior written permission from myacare.com.
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