Singapore healthcare ranks as 2nd most efficient worldwide
People in Singapore, no matter who they are, will have to visit a medical professional sooner or later. Fortunately, when it comes to Singapore healthcare, Singaporeans are generally spoiled for choice when it comes time to finding a doctor. Between the affordable and effective public healthcare system, the exemplary private hospitals, the plethora of medical clinics to be found, and the ubiquitous presence of Traditional Chinese Medicine providers all over Singapore, the options are seemingly boundless.
And not only are there numerous medical facilities to use, but there is also a great tradition of highly trained medical practitioners in the city that can offer services in any number of languages thanks to the international nature of the area. With all of this in mind, native Singaporeans are generally satisfied with the healthcare system in the city-state, however, new expats in the city may take some convincing. If you happen to come across one of these individuals, or you happen to be one yourself, you’ll be happy to know that a 3rd party has recently confirmed the efficiency of the healthcare that Singapore offers.
The Bloomberg Health-Care Efficiency Index has become a publication that many now look forward to following its first annual release in 2012. This report aims to analyze and rank the healthcare found in 55 countries based on how efficient it is deemed to be. Ever since the report was created, many countries around the Asia Pacific region have ranked highly on the list. Singapore, in particular, has performed extremely well in the rankings, regularly battling for the top spot with its Chinese contemporary, Hong Kong.
The most up to date iteration of the report, which came on in September 2016, has Singapore-listed as the 2nd most efficient healthcare system globally. That’s right, it seems that Hong Kong got the better of Singapore for the time being, as it currently sits in the top spot. While Singapore had an efficiency rating of 84.2 out of 100, Hong Kong managed to come out on top with a score of 89.9. In the 3rd spot with a score of 72.2 was Spain, so you can see how Singapore and Hong Kong stand head and shoulders above the rest in the rankings.
Digging further into the rankings, six different countries in the Asia-Pacific region were included in the rankings, including South Korea (which came in 4th overall) and Japan (5th). China also made the top 20, coming in at #19. Pacific Prime would also like to note that the UAE came in 9th place, as, while not in Asia, this country has proven to be a bellwether for major insurance trends.
Regarding countries that underperformed based on the amount of money that is spent on healthcare, the United States ended up ranking a paltry 50th out of 55 nations.
Okay, so according to Bloomberg, Singapore is the 2nd most efficient healthcare system in the world. What does that mean? What makes Singapore less efficient than Hong Kong and more efficient that the United States when it comes to healthcare? It isn’t the costs, as costs for private hospitals in Singapore can be even greater than some American hospitals.
No, efficiency in the Bloomberg report is actually defined quite specifically based on 3 major factors. These factors are:
- Relative health expenditure – This is the amount spent in a given country on medical care vis-à-vis the country’s total Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This factor accounts for 30% of the rating.
- Absolute health expenditure – This is the amount, on average, that people in each country spend on medical costs. To arrive at this number, Bloomberg took each country’s total GDP and multiplied it by relative health expenditure. This factor was weighted to account for 10% of the rating.
- Life expectancy – This is the age that a given person in a country is expected to live on average. This factor accounted for 60% of the rating.
For Singapore, the reported life expectancy clocked in at 84.2 years of age, relative health expenditure accounted for 4.92% of the city-state’s GDP, and absolute health expenditure ended up being US$2,752.
The world’s largest economy, the United States, on the other hand, has a life expectancy of 78.94 years, a relative health expenditure of a whopping 17.14% (which happens to be the highest percentage of the countries ranked), and an absolute health expenditure of US$9,403.
So how does Singapore keep their expenditure costs so low? Well, the government takes a very active role in shaping the medical system, controlling costs for treatment, pharmaceuticals and more. One example of this is the introduction of electronic medical records, which will allow every citizen to access their medical details by 2021. As well, many Singaporeans are heavily subsidized by the government, so they do not have to pay high costs as long as they remain inside of the public system.
Health insurance implications
By all accounts, Bloomberg has it right when they rate Singapore’s healthcare system as being highly efficient, as most people in the city would likely attest. However, as outlined above, the rankings were determined based on only 3 different factors. To truly figure out how efficient a healthcare system is, it will take looking at the topic with quite a bit more depth. After all, it’s not like Singapore’s healthcare system doesn’t have issues, such as long wait times at public health facilities.
As well, the numbers related to costs in Singapore-listed in the Bloomberg report will not apply to many expatriates living in the city, as they will not have access to the public healthcare system here. As such, they will be limited only to private medical facilities and the substantially higher costs that come with them.
What will be more efficient for people using private hospitals and clinics are the shorter wait times, highly trained doctors, and increased time spent by doctors with patients. In other words, for expats in Singapore, your care is as efficient as you are willing to pay for. Fortunately, expats and Singaporean natives alike can access the highest quality care without breaking the bank by purchasing a private health insurance policy like those available through Pacific Prime Singapore.
What’s more, the international health insurance plans that we offer will not only provide medical coverage in Singapore but in hospitals all over the world too. Talk to one of our insurance advisors today to find out how you can maximize the efficiency of the Singapore health system for your family, as well as in countries around the globe. They can help by comparing plans available from major insurers, and give you a free price quotation.
When she's not typing away on her keyboard, she's reading poetry, fueling her insatiable wanderlust, getting her coffee fix, and perpetually browsing animal Instagram accounts.