Healthcare: Rising hospitalisation bills for our ageing population

Singapore may have to foot a bigger health bill to care for its ageing population. 

A generally concerning trend is highlighted by Singstat’s findings on the Singapore resident population having many more elderly and fewer younger people in the age distribution. The proportion of residents aged 65 years and above has increased from 8.9% in 2010 to 13.1% in 2017, and this trend seems likely to continue as Singapore’s total fertility rate is at 1.2 (well below the 2.1 population replacement rate). Singapore has to ramp up its healthcare capabilities to meet the expected rise in demand from an ageing population.

In Singapore, the national healthcare spending has increased by more than 60% from $11.5b in 2011 to $18.8b in 2015, as there were more healthcare facilities built to meet the growing healthcare needs. With an ageing population, it is inevitable that the total spending on healthcare will continue to increase further.

Let’s take a look at the breakdown for hospitalisation bills*

*Mainly for non-complicated treatments for which you only need to stay in the hospital for about 2 to 4 days, and do not require day surgeries.

This year in 2018, the government has doubled its healthcare spending from $3.9 billion in FY2011 to an estimated $10.2 billion in FY2018. By 2030, the total number of elderly will increase by about 450,000 to 900,000. The increase in healthcare spending is necessary to meet the rising healthcare demand, and to invest in new medical technologies to improve care quality.

Read more on Singapore Budget 2018.

Let’s take a look at the subsidies available for Singaporeans and Permanent Residents:

Impact of inflation on healthcare cost in Singapore

Inflation rate risk refers to the way your wealth declines as a result of the rising cost of goods. Similarly, healthcare inflation measures the growth rate of prices for healthcare related goods and services paid by patients, after government subsidies. The cost of healthcare in Singapore has been on the upward trend for years, and medical cost escalation is imminent due to the ageing population.

This is also under the assumption that the inflation rate stays consistent throughout the years which is rather unlikely. Despite the alarming numbers, healthcare inflation rates are still expected to keep increasing year after year. To ensure that you attain the financial security you need in an event of a medical emergency, you need to have proper coverage. It is important to align your needs with your affordability – both in terms of the medical care you expect as well as the insurance to cover it.

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