Cancer treatment cost in Singapore for non-subsidised patients can be shockingly high. This is particularly so (the “shocking” part) for those of us who had not stopped to consider the implications of contracting cancer – whether by ourselves or by non-citizen family members who are staying with us. For Singapore citizens, we are fortunate that we can enjoy very substantial medical subsidies by the government. Or, if we have the means and wish to go private, we have that option too. Subsidies do not apply to non-citizens. For the less well-off, the cancer treatment cost in Singapore can be a very heavy burden.
Total Cost of Cancer Exceeds Just the Direct Cancer Treatment Fees
High as the cost directly associated with cancer treatment may be, the total monetary costs that cancer patients will have to bear exceed just the direct cancer treatment fees (you can refer to MOH’s fee benchmark for an idea of the level of fees applicable). From the medical angle, there may also be additional fees associated treatment of infections and other potential complications. At home, there will be additional purchases needed such as nutritional supplements to ensure adequate intake of nutrients and prevent unacceptable levels of weight loss. Last but not least, there is the cost of loss income if the patient is not able to work due to the cancer, or if the family caregiver(s) have to take time from work to care for the patient.
Real-Life Examples of Patients Facing Substantial Cancer Treatment Costs in Singapore
There are a number of cancer patients in need of support on crowdsourcing platform Give.asia (do be mindful of the country in case the search query does not fully filter out non-Singapore based results), we see that there a current case of a non-subsidised lung cancer patient facing a bill of $45,000 or more for a round of lung cancer treatment at the National Cancer Centre. This round of treatment comprises 4 cycles of chemotherapy and 2 cycles of radiation therapy treatments.
In another case, a stomach cancer patient had her treatment prolonged due to complications arising from the growth in the size of her tumour. This added additional treatment costs to an already substantial bill.
How Can Cancer Treatment Costs for Non-Citizens in Singapore be Mitigated?
One way to mitigate against the potential cancer treatment cost that a non-citizen loved one in Singapore might incur is to get adequate insurance. Often people might omit investing in insurance coverage due to oversight or even distrust of insurance companies. However, this may really be the best way of protecting ourselves from potentially catastrophic medical bills. Enquire with insurance companies on available packages, or take a look at this resource on Moneysmart.sg for an overview of insurance health plans for foreigners in Singapore.
This article is informative only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.