5 Ways to manage healthcare costs in Singapore
As per recent news reports, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said that the cost of healthcare in Singapore is expected to rise sharply in the next three to five years. He expects it to go up by at least $ 3 billion by 2020. The common man, which is us, will have to bear the brunt of this staggering healthcare costs. So, how do you plan to manage your healthcare expenses in Singapore? Do you have a contingency plan? Don’t wait for a serious illness to strike to start planning for your medical expenses. You may not be able to do anything about the rising healthcare costs, but you certainly can work a few things here and there to be able to cope with the expenses.
Get a referral
According to the Ministry of Health, If you are a Singaporean or Permanent Resident, you can enjoy subsidised SOC treatment if you:
- Do not choose your specialist, and
- Are referred by a polyclinic, or
- Are referred by a public hospital where you were a subsidised patient, or
- Is a Community Health Assistant (CHAS) cardholder referred by your CHAS doctor?
If you end up being eligible for the SOC treatment, then you would get a subsidy of about 50 percent. There are various other schemes that enable you to enjoy healthcare services in Singapore at significantly lower costs.
Opt for a suitable health insurance policy
Your health insurance policy is your safety glove that can protect you from unexpected and unpredicted healthcare expenses. having a medical insurance policy can help protect you and your family. It will be able to finance any kind of medical emergencies such as accidents, and also help cover hospitalization costs and enormous medical expenses. For a working professional with a limited salary, bearing exorbitant medical costs can be a strain. Even with the presence of government subsidies, paying for emergency medical expenses can be stressful. It is for this reason that having a suitable medical health insurance plan is necessary.
There are various types of medical health insurance policies in Singapore that you can avail of. The medical expense insurance policy is meant for covering your basic medical expenses. The critical illness insurance policy is best suited for cancer treatment and other long-term treatment expenses. Another medical insurance in Singapore for prolonged medical care is long-term care insurance. It helps people when they are unable to work due to their illness, by paying up their medical bills.
Understand which cards give you discounts
When it comes to government subsidies, there are series of cards just like the CHAS card, that helps you avail discounts. Some of them are:
- NTUC Income OrangeAid MediCard.
- SAFRA member card
- PAssion card
- NTUC member card
- Civil service card
All these cards provide you with discounted healthcare services in certain hospitals. You will have to check with the concerned authorities to find out which medical facility accepts these cards.
Visit your local pharmacy
You don’t necessarily have to go to the doctor for minor health problems. Your local pharmacist can assist you with advice on medications for minor ailments. Unity pharmacy services claim that they can assist with advice on medications for minor ailments, concerns on taking multiple drugs at the same time, diabetic care, chronic disease management, travel medication, etc. So, if you have had minor burn injuries, then don’t rush to the doctor, just reach out to your nearby pharmacists. But if you are suffering from a major health condition, then please do see a doctor.
Focus on healthy living
As the common saying goes, prevention is better than cure. You too should focus on leading a healthy lifestyle to avoid falling ill both mentally as well as physically. A regular dose of laughter, healthy diet, and a good night’s sleep go a long way in ensuring you are fit and healthy.
Here are some tips that can help you stay in the pink of your health:
- Try to maintain some level of work-life balance. Irrespective of how much work you have, make it a point to spend some time with your family and friends. Also, spend some time with yourself by continuing to work on your hobbies.
- Watch what you eat. You are what you eat. So be smart about your choice of diet. Pay attention to your total fat, sugar, and sodium intake. Opt for steamed, baked or boiled food.
- Everyone’s body is different and requires varying number of hours of sleep. Aim for about seven to nine hours of sleep depending on how much sleep your body needs.
- Lastly, make time to exercise for at least 30 – 45 minutes in a day. There are various types of physical activities that you could try out such as aerobics, yoga, dance, etc.
Keeping your healthcare costs low will also help you save money for other investments. The money you don’t spend on healthcare today can help increase your retirement fund for tomorrow. So, make the right choices and start taking your healthcare costs seriously now!
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