High costs in Singapore encourage outbound medical travel


Singapore's rising healthcare costs may be pushing medical tourists to less costly competitors Malaysia and Thailand.

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

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.

A separate report by insurance broker Aon notes that medical inflation in Singapore is expected to hit 10% in 2019. The headline figure is above the global average.

Losing foreign patients mean private hospitals Raffles Medical, IHH Healthcare and Health Management International are building in other countries. Raffles Medical Group derives most of its revenue from Singapore, but after struggling to grow earnings over the past four years, has opened two hospitals in China. It also has clinics in China, Japan, Vietnam and Cambodia.

IHH Healthcare plans to open three hospitals in China within the next three years, while Thomson Medical will open two IVF centres. Perennial Real Estate is also developing hospitals and other healthcare facilities in partnership with local Chinese companies.

For further analysis of the medical travel market in Singapore, visit the IMTJ Country Profile.



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