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Health and Social Security in Singapore

Thinking about working in Singapore? The city-state offers job opportunities in various sectors as well as a high quality of life. With this InterNations Guide, you will learn all you need to know about the economy, social security, and business etiquette in Singapore.

Social Security — Not Always for Expats

The Social Security system for citizens and permanent residents working in Singapore is called the Central Provident Fund (CPF). It is one of Asia’s oldest contribution-based retirement schemes. Expats working in Singapore on employment passes are not liable to contributions and therefore not eligible for government support. However, most international employers provide group health insurance schemes for their expat employees working in Singapore. People who are not covered by either of the above are strongly advised to take out private health insurance.

Planning for the Future: CPF Contributions

Expats who acquire the Singapore permanent resident status will start paying CPF contributions based on the length of time spent in Singapore, age, and income. If later they decide to leave Singapore for good, they can request a CPF payout.

Employee contributions range from 5 to 20 percent of the monthly salary, and employer contributions from 7.5 to 17 percent of the employee’s salary. All payments and withdrawals are tax free.

Every CPF member has three accounts: the Ordinary Account (with a 2.5 percent interest rate), the Special Account, and the Medisave Account (both receiving 4 percent interest). Funds in the Ordinary Account can be used for purchasing property and insurance, paying for education, etc. The Special Account, on the other hand, is reserved exclusively for retirement savings. The Medisave Account is every Singaporean’s basic medical insurance.

For a more in-depth guide on the local social security system, and also information in regard to self-employed expatriates, take a look at our Social Security article in the Extended Guide for Singapore.

Singapore’s Healthcare: In Safe Hands

Healthcare in Singapore is not only of impeccable quality, but it is also affordable. In 2018, Bloomberg ranked Singapore’s healthcare system the second most efficient in the world, losing out only to Hong Kong. Medical professionals receive world-class training and education, and English is spoken in all healthcare centers across the country.

A whole industry has developed around the needs of international patients, expats, and medical tourists alike. Singapore Medicine, a multi-agency government initiative, provides a guide to all International Patient Service Centers in Singapore. Their services extend far beyond what one would expect from a traditional healthcare establishment. They also offer advice on accommodation, travel, and visa arrangements, as well as sightseeing trips.

Medical Facilities: Lots of Options Available

The Singapore Ministry of Health maintains 18 outpatient polyclinics, which are supplemented by over 3,000 private medical practitioners’ clinics across the island. There are eight public hospitals with emergency departments, including three psychiatric clinics, and six specialist centers. Women and children requiring healthcare in Singapore are also in good hands: the KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital provides specialist care and services, ranging from childbirth to dental procedures.

A detailed list of medical facilities can be found on the Ministry of Health website. All medical treatment is to be paid for immediately by the patient, either out of their Medisave Account or from private funds.

Further Information

You can read on about the Singaporean healthcare system in the Health and Insurance section of our Extended Guide. In these articles, we tell you all you need to know about Singaporean hospitals, pharmacies, dentists, doctors, and so on.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete.

If there’s something you’re still not sure about, check out the InterNations Forum

Donald Moore

"I moved to Singapore to build up my own business. In fact, it was easier than expected. With InterNations I quickly got in touch with the lively expat community here."

Barbara Sciera

"Settling as an expat woman in a different culture is always hard. But with InterNations I got to know many other expat spouses that helped me."

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