, Singapore

Singapore's staggering healthcare costs may be pushing medical tourists away

Malaysia and Thailand offer more cost-competitive alternatives.

The rising cost of healthcare in Singapore is increasingly diminishing the city’s attractiveness as a medical tourism hub with patients opting to turn to neighboring countries for their medical needs, according to RHB Research.

“As healthcare costs in neighbouring countries like Malaysia and Thailand are much lower, they have been attracting medical tourists from the region – thereby eating into Singapore's market share,” analyst Juliana Cai said in a report.

The strengthening of the Singapore Dollar against regional currencies also adds to the already expensive cost burden even as healthcare providers in other countries have been investing in the quality of their services whilst keeping costs down.

“Although there is no official data on the number of medical tourists, our channel checks with the companies under our coverage suggest that these numbers have been declining YoY. We believe this is a structural problem, and will continue to impact the Singapore players in the near term,” added Cai.

Also readSingapore needs to control inpatient costs amidst high medical inflation

The rising cost of healthcare is also hitting close to home as a growing number of Singaporeans also lament the staggering cost burden.

With healthcare insurance providers no longer offering integrated shield policies with 100% medical cost coverage, Cai expects the likelihood of softening demand for private healthcare which will consequently impact hospital bottomline.

“We think that some of the private healthcare providers‟ margins will be negatively impacted, with the local government keeping tabs on rising healthcare costs, due to public discontent,” she said.

A separate report by insurer Aon notes that medical inflation in Singapore is expected to hit 10% in 2019. The headline figure is above the global average of 8% as cancer and cardiovascular diseases continue to drive the cost of medical plans up. 

Beyond the threat of losing foreign patient, private hospitals like Raffles Medical, IHH Healthcare and Health Management International are in a capex-intensive expansion phase which is also set to weigh in on margins in FY19.

Join Singapore Business Review community
Since you're here...

...there are many ways you can work with us to advertise your company and connect to your customers. Our team can help you dight and create an advertising campaign, in print and digital, on this website and in print magazine.

We can also organize a real life or digital event for you and find thought leader speakers as well as industry leaders, who could be your potential partners, to join the event. We also run some awards programmes which give you an opportunity to be recognized for your achievements during the year and you can join this as a participant or a sponsor.

Let us help you drive your business forward with a good partnership!

Exclusives

Singapore’s new law weaves safety net for gig workers
Gig workers will be enabled to secure their retirement, benefit from improved workplace safety, and gain greater visibility within the industry.
HR & Education
Here’s how Gen Z consumer preference reshapes APAC’s marketing landscape
Gen Z consumers are observed to purchase based on pleasure and purpose, whilst being conscious of cost and convenience.

Event News

Event News

SBR National Business Awards 2024 Winner: Wiseasy Technology Pte Ltd Cards & Payments
Lay Cheng Tan, Co-Founder & Chief Investment Officer, and Mayank Raheja, Managing Director (EMEA & SA) of Wiseasy Technology Pte Ltd, provided insights into preventing fraud and inefficiency with the WiseQ QR Payment Solution.
Cards & Payments SBR National Business Awards 2024 Winner: Wiseasy Technology Pte Ltd
Lay Cheng Tan, Co-Founder & Chief Investment Officer, and Mayank Raheja, Managing Director (EMEA & SA) of Wiseasy Technology Pte Ltd, provided insights into preventing fraud and inefficiency with the WiseQ QR Payment Solution.