Overheard: Rash, medicines and credit cards 

I come from a dry and relatively cold climate. So when I moved to Singapore, the humidity & heat did strange things to my body. My hair suddenly explodes into a frizzy mess; I started sweating for no particular reason taking only five steps outside; I developed a non-stop cold from going in and out of air-conditioned rooms amidst other weird things that I had never encountered before. A quick check with my friends confirmed they had the same “problems”.

According to the experienced expats I had spoken to, your body needs to get used to the climate. And the only way to go is to take it easy and listen to your body whilst acclimatizing.

Healthcare is really good here in Singapore -- one of the reasons why Singapore is ranked number 4 of the world in 2014 for medical tourism. But clearly the quality comes with a price.

The first visits to the doctor were interesting. Medication was easily dispensed and this took some getting used to as back home doctors seemed much more conservative with prescribing medication. With the amounts of medication I received I could easily start my own pharmacy!

Another thing that really startled me was the price of medication. Take the the contraception pill, for instance... it was 5 times higher than what i usually paid for back home! Plus the doctor would only give you a prescription for three months, so you have to go back every 3 months.

Also very often diagnostic tests are done to confirm, reconfirm or just to rule out any possibilities. Now I know you can also say no, or question why some of the test or medication is needed. As I don’t have direct billing, I had to pay my bills myself before claiming with the insurer. The useful thing about this is that I now have full knowledge of the prices. 

Another lesson I also learnt was less pleasant. Always have your credit card or a recognized insurance card with you when going to the hospital.

My friend had to go to A&E, when we reached the hospital, Raffles Hospital in this case, she had to give her credit card. She didn’t didn’t have one yet as she had only just arrived in Singapore. As the insurance company would only reimburse on invoices and we only had our debit card with us, we had to go to a public hospital. I was simply shocked that we were sent away from a hospital when we needed help and all because we were unable to produce a credit card?!

If you are you curious what your policy covers (or doesn’t cover!) please have a look at this comparison page. If you can’t find your insurance plan, do drop GoBear a line. But do note that only private health insurance plans that are available in Singapore are featured for comparison on GoBear.