Singapore Expats

Cost of giving birth in Singapore as an expat

Singapore has long been one of the top destinations for expats and their families. With a robust economy, a variety of industries, a wealth of jobs, easy access to the rest of Southeast Asia, and some of the world's best schools it is easy to see why. If you are planning on moving here and starting a family there is one thing you might be interested in knowing: The cost of giving birth in Singapore.

In this article, leading Singapore-based global insurance broker Pacific Prime Singapore discusses not only the cost of giving birth in the city but also how expats can pay for it.  

The cost of giving birth in Singapore

It is well known that Singapore has one of the most efficient healthcare systems in the world. This has made it one of the top destinations for medical tourism and expats who move here can benefit from the high quality of care available. In fact, according to the recently released Expat Explorer survey from HSBC, Singapore was ranked 6th overall for healthcare by expats.

One of the reasons why healthcare is so lauded here is due to the high transparency from the government and hospitals. The Ministry of Health, for example, regularly publishes average costs of health care procedures of hospitals in the city. From these figures, we can get a good glimpse into how much it costs to give birth here.

Cost of a natural birth in Singapore

As of October 2, 2017 the cost of a normal birth for 75% of people who gave birth in Singapore at the most popular hospitals (by number of births from 1 Aug 2016 to 31 Jul 2017 was reported as being:

 

KK Women's and Children's Hospital

Type: Public hospital

Ward / Bed: A (single bed)

Number of births from 1 August 2016 to 21 July 2017: 2,670

Average cost of a normal deliver (SGD)* 5,943

 

Mount Alvernia Hospital

Type: Private hospital

Ward / Bed: Private room

Number of births from 1 August 2016 to 21 July 2017: 2,099

Average cost of a normal deliver (SGD)* 9,130

 

KK Women's and Children's Hospital

Type: Public hospital

Ward / Bed: C (6 beds)

Number of births from 1 August 2016 to 21 July 2017: 1,803

Average cost of a normal deliver (SGD)* 1,558

 

National University Hospital

Type: Public hospital

Ward / Bed: A (single bed)

Number of births from 1 August 2016 to 21 July 2017: 1,549

Average cost of a normal deliver (SGD)* 5,680

 

Thomson Medical Centre

Type: Private hospital

Ward / Bed: Private room

Number of births from 1 August 2016 to 21 July 2017: 1,292

Average cost of a normal deliver (SGD)* 8,326

 

* It is important to note here that the costs above represent what the Ministry of Health refers to as the '75% percentile'. This means that 75% of all births cost around this much, with 25% being either higher or lower. All figures above are from the Ministry of Health's website.

Cost of Cesarean birth in Singapore

Below is the average price of birth at the top five hospitals (by number of Cesarean sections). All figures from the Ministry of Health website.  

 

Mount Alvernia Hospital

Type: Private hospital

Ward / Bed: Private room

Number of births from 1 August 2016 to 21 July 2017: 1,299

Average cost of a normal deliver (SGD)* 12,532

 

KK Women's and Children's Hospital

Type: Public hospital

Ward / Bed: A (single bed)

Number of births from 1 August 2016 to 21 July 2017: 1,170

Average cost of a normal deliver (SGD)* 10,442

 

Thomson Medical Centre

Type: Private hospital

Ward / Bed: Private room

Number of births from 1 August 2016 to 21 July 2017: 840

Average cost of a normal deliver (SGD)* 12,296

 

National University Hospital

Type: Public hospital

Ward / Bed: A (single bed)

Number of births from 1 August 2016 to 21 July 2017: 619

Average cost of a normal deliver (SGD)* 8,392

 

Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital

Type: Private hospital

Ward / Bed: Private room

Number of births from 1 August 2016 to 21 July 2017: 588

Average cost of a normal deliver (SGD)* 16,919

 

* It is important to note here that the costs above represent what the Ministry of Health refers to as the '75% percentile'. This means that 75% of all Cesarean births cost around this much, with 25% being either higher or lower.

There's other costs to consider too!

The prices above provide a good look into the actual cost of birth in the city. That said, they do not present the whole picture. For example, the costs above only look at the cost without complications at birth. If there are complications bills will be higher, possibly up to double or more, depending on the extent of medical care needed. Similarly, these prices do not include any extra medication, or doctor's fees.

It is important to also take into account the cost of both post and pre-natal care. For example, in a recent guide published by Pacific Prime Singapore on maternity, it was reported that, "overall [pre-natal] costs ranging from $4,000 to about $8,000 are a good estimate for a standard pregnancy without specific complications."

How can expats pay for this?

Regardless of how you look at it, giving birth in Singapore, like almost all other forms of health care, is not exactly cheap. If you have Permanent Residency or are a citizen you are in luck, as your Medisave account can be used to help offset the cost of giving birth.

Unfortunately, expats in the city are almost always ineligible to join this program, meaning you will be required to pay the full price out of your own pocket. It is for this reason that health insurance is highly recommended for any expat in the city.

If you are looking to cover the cost of giving birth in Singapore you should be aware of two things. First, maternity coverage is only available as part of a health insurance plan. In other words, you will need to purchase health insurance coverage and add on maternity cover.

Most plans sold in Singapore allow you to do this but it would be a good idea to consider where you want to give birth when looking at coverage. Generally speaking, local insurance plans (those that cover only Singapore) will have a relatively low limit meaning there is a good chance you will be paying for some of the cost out of your own pocket.

Similarly, if you want to give birth in your home country or at a private hospital in the city then an international health plan would be a better idea. These have higher coverage limits which affords you better options.

The second thing to be aware of, and arguably the most important, is that all health insurance plans have a set waiting period that must elapse before you can submit maternity claims. This is usually between 10 and 20 months, so it is highly advisable that you secure coverage well in advance.

Is there anything else one should know about giving birth in Singapore?

The cost is not the only important thing to be aware of when it comes to maternity and health insurance. Pacific Prime Singapore has a handy guide on this topic which sheds some light on important things mom-to-be in the city should be aware of, including:

  • The best maternity hospitals in Singapore
  • Average costs of pre and post-natal care
  • Important maternity insurance terms
  • How to find the best maternity insurance plan
  • Zika and your baby
  • And more.

 Download your copy of the guide today from their website.

09 Oct 2017
Robert Mcbroom