Expat Health Guide

Expat Health Guide: Screenings & Insurance

The importance and usefulness of health screenings shouldn’t be underestimated. Although Singapore has a reputation for having some of the world’s best healthcare services, residents and expats alike are still encouraged to have comprehensive health cover. This protects them from the high costs of medical bills and treatments, allowing them to receive the best care possible without compromising due to inability to pay. 

Health screenings are more than preventive measures. They also instill a proactive attitude towards keeping your physical health in its best shape and form – encouraging regular check-ups, balanced lifestyle, and an open mindset towards healthier living. Likewise, it is helpful in detecting any conditions or illnesses you may have at the earliest possible stage, providing ample time for treatment solutions and recovery. Lowering risks for serious health complications is a step towards the right direction. 

As health insurance brokers, we’d like to emphasise the importance of going for regular health check-ups and screenings, they are what we’d clarify as essential. The new year is a good time to check on the available health screenings, especially post covid-19 lockdown periods in 2020. We recognise the inertia and difficulties involved in sourcing for the information, so we’ve compiled all that you’ll need here. 

What are health screenings? 

Consisting of various tests such as blood or urine tests and procedures like ultrasound and X-rays, health screenings are usually conducted yearly or once every two to three years. For more specific health screenings, we recommend consulting your doctor beforehand. 

Which health screening should I go for? 

We’d categorise the health screenings into two types; general health check-ups and condition-specific health screenings.

General Health Screenings

Depending on your age, there are different sets of health screenings available to you. That said, there are some additional check-ups recommended for women, often related to sexual well-being. 

For those aged 18 years and above:

[A] Obesity – once a year 

[B] High blood pressure – once every two years 

For those aged 40 years and above:

[C] Diabetes* – once every three years

[D] High blood cholesterol* – once every three years

*Those with a family history of these illnesses are recommended to visit a doctor to review how often they should be screened for the conditions.  

For those aged 50 years and above:

[E] Colorectal cancer – once a year 

Women between the ages 25 to 69 who are sexually active or have had sexual intercourse are encouraged to get checked for cervical cancer. A PAP smear test is done every three years. Women above 50 years of age are advised to get mammograms once every two years

Condition-specific Health Screenings 

Although these are not mandatory, individuals exposed to risk factors, hereditary conditions or a history of chronic diseases are advised to consider getting checked based on their doctor’s advice. The different ‘individual-decision’ based tests check for:

[A] Chronic Illnesses: High blood pressure, obesity, diabetes and high blood cholesterol 

[B] Cancer: Colorectal, cervical and breast cancer (women only) 

Why is expat health cover necessary?

While the locals are heavily subsidised for health screenings done through polyclinics and public hospitals, expats living and working here do not have that luxury. That said, not going for health screenings is not a viable solution, especially if you’re living here for a longer term. Expats are encouraged to acquire health cover so that they, too, can go for these health screenings and be covered financially should there be an emergency. Given Singapore’s high healthcare costs, you don’t want to be left uninsured. 

Liaising with your health insurance broker 

There is no good reason to delay going for your regular health check-ups. Besides this, individuals are also encouraged to keep a healthy lifestyle and diet – lowering risks and need to visit a doctor here. With a myriad of health insurance solutions available, you can easily tailor a plan that best matches and covers you medically, and is portable. 

With years of experience in the healthcare industry, Expat Insurance Singapore is your preferred choice. Speak to a consultant today