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Which Asian countries have the best healthcare ?

02 Apr 2020

Asian healthcare system is renowned worldwide for its quality, innovation, and prices. Driven by tourism and workers from all over the world, the area developed a booming industry thanks to cheap prices and facilities that attract visitors in need of a check-up or long term residents needing trustworthy practitioners. But which are the three Asian countries* that have the best healthcare systems?

*They have been ranked according to Bloomberg’s World Healthcare ranking. The criteria include life expectancy, healthcare cost as a percentage of GDP and healthcare cost per capita to rank the world’s healthcare systems.

Hong Kong has a well established and low-cost healthcare system. Its government provides all public healthcare services free of charge or for a small fee even for non-permanent residents having a valid visa.

How does it work?

The healthcare system is divided between private and public with 41 public hospitals and 12 private hospitals.

The private and the public are both high quality. If you choose the public option of medical care, you don’t need any private insurance. However, many expats choose a private insurance as the government imposed some rules on foreigners. You will then need a good one since the bills can go extremely high (2nd country with the most expensive private cost in the world).

Organization

You will find medical care close to you, thanks to a medical organization in regional clusters. The emergency number for an ambulance in Hong Kong is 999.

However, what you will need to cover is your teeth! Indeed, what public healthcare does not cover is dental care. You have to seek treatment from a private dentist and take out an additional health insurance policy.

Healthcare costs

Check up at a general practitioner ≃ 50 HKD (6,45 USD)

First specialist consultation ≃ 100 HKD (13 USD)

Follow up ≃ 60 HKD (7,7 USD)

Hospitals stay ≃ 100 HKD/day (13 USD)

Pros
– Is virtually free
– High-quality services
– Excellent emergency and maternity care
– Many doctors speak English

Cons
– Does not cover dental care
– Long waiting times
– Doctors might treat their patients fairly straightforwardly

If you want to know more about the healthcare system proper to Hong Kong click here (govhk).

The healthcare system in Singapore is supervised by the Ministry of Health (MOH). Ranked as one of the best in the world by many (WHO, Bloomberg …), you will have access to excellent healthcare facilities and English-speaking specialists.
But as an expat or non-resident, you will have to look out for yourself and find good insurance.

As an expat or non-resident, is it free?

Singapore’s healthcare system is not free. Permanent residents (PR) and citizens have to give monthly Medisave contributions taken automatically from their wages (around 9%). We made you a guide about it.

How does it work?

The healthcare system is divided between 9 private hospitals and 14 public. Both hospitals have pretty much the same quality, but you would want to take into account the location, the room type, and the cost.

The emergency number for an ambulance in Singapore is 995.

Healthcare costs for non-residents

The price difference is huge between public and private hospitals, and without the subsidies from the government, public healthcare costs can rise along with the private ones. That is why expats should invest in private insurances when moving to Singapore.

In public hospitals

Check up at a general practitioner ≃ 48 SGD (30 USD) at central clinics

First specialist consultation ≃ 125 SGD (85 USD)

Hospitals stay ≃ 500 SGD/day (315 USD) in a Ward A room (1 bed) and 80 to 200 SGD (50-130 USD) for a Ward B2 Room (5-6 beds)

In private hospitals

Check up at a general practitioner ≃ 74 SGD and more (Minimum 50 USD)

Hospitals stay ≃ from 250 SGD (170 USD) in a room with 4 beds to 700 SGD (480 USD) and more for a Private Suite

Pros
– Cheaper for Permanent Residents or citizens
– One of the best medical systems (ranked 6th country by the WHO for the efficiency of its healthcare system)
– Short wait times

Cons
– Expensive for the non-residents
– Need for private insurance policies schemes to be fully covered
– You will be treated as a client

The healthcare system in South Korea is supervised by the National Health Insurance Service (NHIS). It is of an extremely high-quality system for both residents and non-residents, and as a foreigner, you will have to register for the national health scheme after living in the country for six months. You will find many English speaking doctors in urban areas, but be aware that many people don’t speak English all the time. So we advise you to take a translation dictionary with you.

How does it work?

The healthcare system is divided between public hospitals and clinics. For common illnesses, it is very common to go to public hospitals and registering on the hospital website.

Is it free?

No, it is not but the prices are reasonable (prices below). You will have to pay the fees before the treatment, even in an emergency. If you don’t have cash, you may not be treated.

Healthcare costs

Check up at a general practitioner ≃ 10,660 KRW (8 USD)
First specialist consultation ≃ max 200,000 KRW (162 USD)

Pros
– Precursor in skin treatments
– Reasonable costs
– Medical facilities are modern and efficient
– If you work there, it is mandatory by law that your employer covers you

Cons
– Air pollution is a major issue, be careful if you have asthma
– The disparity of medical facilities between urban areas and the countryside
– The system focused on treatment rather than prevention, leaving long term health issues going

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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