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Osteopathy in Singapore and the importance of insurance : UEX meets Sébastien BODET

17 Dec 2019

UEX met with Sébastien BODET, an osteopath in Singapore, and who represented France in Swimming in the 2008 Olympic Games! In his point of view, what are the differences between the Singaporean and French medical systems? How does insurance affect the treatment of an osteopath? How did he develop his activity here? Discover the point of view of an osteopath who used to work in France before moving to Singapore.

Hello Sebastien! Can you introduce yourself?

” My name is Sébastien Bodet. I’m 34 years old and I’ve been living in Singapore for almost 3 years. I’m an osteopath at UFIT, a job I had been practising as an independent in Paris since 2014. Former professional swimmer, I participated in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games representing France in swimming. I’m also trainer and manager of the swimming/triathlon group “Singapore Swim Stars” and physical trainer for the Singapore XV Gaulois rugby club. I love my job as an osteopath and a coach! More precisely, I love the relation between the practitioner and the patient and between the trainer and the trainee. I like to be attentive to my patients’ needs and to manage healing people and getting them into a long-term healthy lifestyle.  “


Who makes up your client-base?

” My experience as a former high-level sportsman will necessarily make me interact with and treat a lot of sports people but my clientbase is really diverse : newborns, pregnant women, business men/women with more sedentary lifestyles, older persons… Everyone comes with their story and their own reason for consulting. “

” My clientbase in Singapore is mainly composed of French people and French speakers. I have very few Singaporeans and so to speak almost expats only. In terms of percentage, I’d say 70% French, 25% Anglo-saxons or others and only 5% Singaporeans. They don’t often go to the osteopath simply because they don’t know about osteopathy. In general they prefer to go to their GP or will go for Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). “


How did you proceed to develop your activity as an osteopath?

” A lot of word of mouth and social networks, where the French community is really active. I also appear in the osteopath lists of the French Embassy in Singapore and Le Bottin Singapour. Lastly, my sports background through the sports network and notably through swimming and rugby also helped me. I must have spent between 6 months and 1 year to develop my client base. However, Singapore being a hub, we are really dependent on expats’ turnover. “


How does insurance intervene in the healing process with the osteopath? 

” For me it is vital to be insured if we want to properly get treated at the osteopath. If the client doesn’t have a health insurance or one that does not cover osteopathy, then the person may not be able to afford the necessary treatment. “

” If the person can’t benefit from a follow-up treatment, then there won’t be any positive results afterwards (around 1 to 3 sessions for an acute problem like lumbago, torticollis and up to  10+ sessions for a chronic problem or a post-surgery reeducation). Those who come back are those who are insured and reimbursed (partially or totally). “

” Many overlook putting money aside for osteopathy, kinesitherapy or any other health professional. That is a problem and it should absolutely be covered during a health insurance subscription. As each health insurance contract is different, some patients get lost and ask for my advice regarding their paramedical coverage. That is where the health insurer intervenes. Each case being different, I have to always adapt my treatment to these parameters. “

” Clients in Singapore receive higher reimbursement than in France. In France, we are well covered for kinesitherapy but not for osteopathy. In Singapore, we really need a good health cover: even when the client is insured, their treatments may only be partially covered and they will need to cover the remaining cost out of pocket. Today we are reaching a limit in terms of price, it can reach the 200 SGD and it can be complicated with limits. It’s less efficient in terms of administration here and the price can be really high: the service is incredible but you have to pay for it. You also have to think about the consumption model that would best suit your needs: for some, it can be a better solution to save money and pay for some sessions with any insurance. It depends on the client, for high-level sportsmen who need reeducation, it is way better to be insured. “


What is the most difficult in your work?

” I’d say there are 4 points:

  1. Adaptation. Always adapting myself to the client should be the most difficult dimension of my work. Every person is different, every session will be different. For example, it won’t be the same session at all if the patient is French, Anglo-saxon, or Singaporean. The French client will be more caring about the relationship and more empathic, the English one will be more direct… The Singaporean client doesn’t speak much. It is hard to get a clear feedback.It won’t be the same session when the client is French, English, Singaporean… I’d say this is the most difficult dimension of my work: always adapting myself to each client as each one is different. The French client will be more caring about the relationship, the English one will be more direct… The Singaporean will follow the rules: they don’t speak much, it is difficult to treat them and to have clear feedback. And, for sure, the French are always late!
  2. Managing my patients’ delay or cancelation
  3. The complexity and quantity of administrative work (claims, letters…)
  4. The consultation booking system that is not adapted (phone, WhatsApp, emails…) “


Thanks to Sebastien for sharing his point of view! To know more about him, you can click here. If you want to book an appointment with him, you can reach him by email or by phone at (+65) 8813 5532. We will talk more precisely about the differences between the French and Singaporean medical system in a second article with Sebastien!

To find out more about healthcare topics in Singapore you can check our articles. To understand how your health insurance plans cover the healthcare costs, you can approach UEX’s happiness team by email for more information and guidance – and the good news is that they are super nice!

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