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17 OCT 2019

Healthcare in Singapore – A Clean Bill of Health

Singapore’s healthcare system is often rated as one of the finest in the world and is seen as a marvel by several other countries. This is due to its extraordinary results.

By way of an example, life span during childbirth in Singapore is two to three years more than that in the UK and US. Also, the infant death rate here lower than any other country in the world.

Despite the superior quality of the offering, Singapore’s economic expenditure on healthcare is much lower than that of countries such as the US, the UK, France, Australia, Germany and Switzerland. However, even the best healthcare systems take a lot of research to reach.

Even non-residents in Singapore have access to top-notch healthcare. Except of course, specific care is more expensive than it is for citizens and permanent residents.

This day’s article focuses on Singapore’s healthcare system, which places the Lion City above the health systems of other nations.



Healthcare System in Singapore

Singapore’s Ministry of Health regulates the country’s medical system. It extends facts and figures, educates people on health issues, stretches healthcare to the last mile and also monitors and ensures outstanding services.

The MOH engages in:

  • Medical excellence
  • Promoting wellness
  • Minimizing illness
  • Bringing need-based advanced healthcare to all Singaporeans



Singapore Healthcare Essentials

  • Often tops the healthcare quality chart among countries in the world
  • The world’s minimal infant death rate, at 2.3 deaths per 1,000 births.
  • Has nine emergency care hospitals:
    • Alexandra Hospital
    • Changi General Hospital
    • KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital
    • Khoo Teck Puat Hospital
    • National University Hospital
    • Ng Teng Fong General Hospital
    • Sengkang General Hospital
    • Singapore General Hospital
    • Tan Tock Seng Hospital
  • Has eight facilities:
    • National Cancer Centre Singapore
    • National Dental Centre Singapore
    • National Heart Centre Singapore
    • National Neuroscience Institute
    • National Skin Centre
    • National University Cancer Institute, Singapore
    • National University Heart Centre, Singapore
    • Singapore National Eye Centre
  • Has four community hospitals:
    • Bright Vision Hospital
    • Jurong Community Hospital
    • Sengkang Community Hospital
    • Yishun Community Hospital
  • Has one mental illness hospital:
    • Institute of Mental Health
  • Government subsidies on healthcare do not apply to non-residents



Is Healthcare in Singapore Government Sponsored?

Although healthcare in Singapore has a price, most of it is paid for by the Government, like running hospitals, opening them to the public and paying the doctors in the country.

A MediSave cover helps Singaporean patients pay for pre-approved medicines, while many medical bills run on government subsidy. MediSave is a health insurance scheme, just like Medicare in the United States.


Company Incorporation Singapore, Singapore Incorporation Services, Company Registration Singapore


Public Healthcare Provisions

To understand how to get health insurance in Singapore and how it works, you need to be aware of the four main types of provisions, their average fees and their offerings.

Singaporean citizens and permanent residents must have a type of health cover. Concerning private and public health insurance in Singapore, there are many great choices.

The MOH offers the MediSave. With this scheme, Central Provident Fund (CPF) members can pay for hospitalization, surgery and selected outpatient charges for selves or next of kin. Let us know more about this scheme.


MediSave

Founded in 1984, MediSave is the oldest public healthcare in Singapore. Every Singaporean and Permanent Resident employee must mandatorily contribute 8 to 10.5% of their income. This amount collects in a particular savings account and is not taxable.

The precise percentage is determined by the individual’s age. Contributions increase with the individual’s age.

People with a monthly earning lower than 1,500 SGD (1,100 USD) add a certain percentage to MediSave. Independent business owners’ contribution is based on their net income. The upper deposit limit in your MediSave account can be a maximum of 49,800 SGD (36,500 USD) — this limit is called the Basic Healthcare Sum (BHS). The extra amount is diverted to different CPF funds (such as your retirement account).

The MediSave money can be used by Singaporean citizens and permanent residents to pay for certain medical expenses at all state health facilities and authorized private hospitals and clinics.

These expenses may cover bills for outpatient hospital treatment, outpatient surgery, mental health care, certain long-term ailments (like diabetes, asthma or depression), and remedies for cancer or HIV-positive patients, childbirth and selected health checkups.

To know more about the offerings of the MediSave scheme, click on the CPF website.

Any withdrawals exceeding the daily, monthly, or yearly withdrawal limits of MediSave healthcare in Singapore are chargeable. The next of kin (parents, spouse, and children) can contribute from their account, but that too is subject to restrictions.

 

MediShield Life: Supporting High Medical Bills

For patients with serious ailments, the government launched a new healthcare plan in Singapore, in late 2015. The MediShield Life is a kind of ‘disastrous ailment insurance scheme’ that offers hospitalization, surgery, and selected outpatient treatment.

MediShield Life covers all citizens and permanent resident except if they voluntarily withdraw from the scheme.

Premiums may be drawn from your or your next kin’s MediSave account. However, despite having MediShield Life healthcare in Singapore, payment of a yearly deductible sum is mandatory before availing reimbursements. Every charge also has an attached co-payment.

Also, the co-payments can be drawn from your MediSave account provided it is within the withdrawal limit for specific requirements. The remaining amount is payable in cash.


ElderShield: Advanced Age Support

The third component of subsidized healthcare in Singapore is ElderShield. This insurance scheme is for senior citizens with serious prolonged ailments.

Singaporean permanent residents and citizens have this automatically when they turn 40. However, they can volunteer to opt-out and rejoin later. Till the age of 65, those insured via ElderShield pay a fixed annual premium. The premium amount increases with the age of a person so that on the whole, people pay a similar amount.

For ElderShield members with severe handicaps in their old age, the program provides nursing care. They get monthly encashment of 400 SGD (290 USD) till six years as insurance against some related costs.

The following three state-endorsed insurance providers in Singapore offer ElderShield plans: Aviva, Great Eastern, and NTUC Income. For extra insurance with disbursements or longer duration, the ElderShield supplements need to be purchased from one of these three firms.


MediFund: Reasonably-priced Healthcare for Citizens

Another healthcare scheme in Singapore that comes out on top for the underprivileged and the aged. Singapore citizens who are unable to pay their medical bills can request funding support under MediFund, MediFund Junior, or MediFund Silver.

MediFund Junior is designed for children of poor families, whereas MediFund Silver caters to senior citizens. They are treated only at authorized premises.

Patients are reimbursed with amounts that are case-specific. This is usually determined by their medical condition, their treatment costs and their social and economic conditions. MediFund is only for citizens. Permanent Residents without citizenship do not qualify for this scheme.



Conclusion

Browsing through heaps of available options and trying to figure out which one is the best for you is a tiring task. This is where we step in to help you decide easily.

Our skills and knowledge in helping expats find and compare the most appropriate healthcare scheme for you are nothing less than the best.

We can help you pick the best plan, with objective advice and answers to all the queries that you might have about Singapore’s healthcare system. Contact us now!

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Fintech Guidelines in Singapore: Regulations, Compliance and Sandbox

For fintech companies to get to work in Singapore, it important to be in line with the financial services-based rules, along with Singapore’s corporate laws. This article presents an outline of the regulations, compliance issues and sandbox guidelines, directly related to Fintech companies in Singapore. Fintech Regulations The ecosystem in Singapore provides all the support to businesses. The main controller for the majority of fintech enterprises is the MAS. Fintech businesses may come under the ruling of one or more of the following statutory provisions: ·         Commodity Trading Act ·         Moneylenders Act ·         Trust Companies Act ·         Insurance Act ·         Securities and Futures Act ·         Finance Companies Act ·         Banking Act; ·         Financial Advisers Act; ·         Companies Act; ·         Business Trusts Act; ·         Payment Services Act (PSA) substitutes the Payment Systems (Oversight) Act and the Money-Changing and Remittance Businesses Act The new PSA aims to create provisions for a better-suited atmosphere for innovation in financial settlements and also ensure the reduction of risks throughout the payments value chain. Controlled financial settlements comprise cash transfers, issue of digital money and payment tokens. Key Compliance Issues Largely, Fintech entities must think through these key regulatory compliance issues: ·         Consequences of financing (for instance, venture capital investments transformed into Fintech entities). ·         Copyright issues (for instance, administration and protection of intellectual property). ·         Financial regulatory and compliance (for instance, the kind of license required from the concerned agency or licensing reliefs that apply to a Fintech product or service). ·         Data security (for instance, the conditions enforced on Fintech enterprises, concerning personal client information that they deal with. Additionally, Singapore also has a general data protection scheme, framed by the Personal Data Protection Act 2012). ·         Consumer/technology agreements (for instance, software licensing contracts or terms of use of the Fintech product or service that cover matters of consumer protection). Also, the Cybersecurity Act 2018, is aimed at governing systems that provide basic services in Singapore. The MAS Fintech Regulatory Sandbox is a distinctive licensing system designed for Fintech entities. For a Fintech product or service to function in the Regulatory Sandbox, the MAS supplies the required regulatory support by reducing specific legal and regulatory necessities for the period of the Regulatory Sandbox. A Fintech company that applies for entry into the Regulatory Sandbox, must know about its lack of compliance with specific statutory and legal provisions while presenting the Regulatory Sandbox application. It must ensure that a plan exists for fulfilling these conditions. By and large, the Regulatory Sandbox will cease operations, if the Fintech company lacks compliance with the concerned statutory and legal standards by the close of the Regulatory Sandbox timeline.   Fintech Regulatory Sandbox Guiding Principles To convert Singapore into a smart financial center, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), lately came out with the Fintech Regulatory Sandbox Guidelines. Earlier, a consultation paper was published by MAS. This paper was to simplify the legal provisions required by Fintech companies while testing innovative financial products and services regulated by the MAS. Based on the public discussion, the MAS has issued the final legal set of rules. These rules ease governing and legal obligations due to Fintech participants wanting to test and enforce innovative financial services in Singapore. The Regulatory Sandbox As explained by Ms Jacqueline Loh, the Deputy Managing Director of MAS, “The regulatory sandbox offers a favorable atmosphere for supervisory requirements to be business-friendly, enabling them to test budding innovations within the legal provisions.” This method is advantageous because FIs and startups are not required to surrender up-and-coming innovations just because they are not aware of its compliance with the statutory and legal criteria. The MAS’s directives list the main steps right from applying for the sandbox till its operation. Easing Regulatory Criteria According to the MAS, it will ease the legal criteria for applicants who succeed to the Sandbox. The directives underline the regulatory requirements that MAS may ease. These comprise: 1.      Creditworthiness 2.      Fund credibility and capital sufficiency; 3.      Cash equilibrium. 4.      License Fee; 5.      Asset maintenance obligation; 6.      Board constitution; Main Stages of the Sandbox 1.      Application Stage The applicant presents the sandbox application to the MAS that checks the application and lets the applicant know the decision within 21 days. 2.      Evaluation Stage If the applicant is practically right for the sandbox, the MAS will evaluate the application. After assessing it, the MAS will advise in writing to the applicant, to go ahead with the sandbox, or drop the idea. 3.      Experimentation Stage After approval of the application, the sandbox is sent for the experiment, where the sandbox entity should apprise its customers about the financial service it operates sandbox and also about the corresponding risks. The entity must get a confirmation from the customers that they are clear about all risks. Evaluation Criteria The evaluation criteria in the guidelines to be filled by the applicant are: 1.      The projected financial facilities use innovative technology, a rising technology or any prevailing technology differently; 2.      The projected financial service focuses on specific matters or benefits consumers or the domain; 3.      Once an applicant leaves sandbox, the intention is to expand the proposed financial service in Singapore; 4.      The experiments and intended results of the sandbox tests must be well-defined, and the sandbox entity must update on the developments to the MAS consistently; 5.      The corresponding limitations should be precisely stated; 6.      The applicant must identify and eliminate the serious threats owing to the projected financial service 7.      A satisfactory exit and changeover plan must be clear, in case the projected financial service is to be stopped. Promising Clarity, Flexibility & Transparency As per the MAS statement, the regulatory sandbox instructions will accomplish: 1.      Better Transparency – The instructions cover examples and details specifying MAS’ expectations, like the criteria for accessing entry into the sandbox; 2.      Increased Flexibility – The instructions cover higher flexibility and making the evaluation criteria easy for businesses keen on entering the sandbox. It also facilitates modifications while experimenting. Conclusion Despite the fact that Singapore lacks fintech-focused regulations, fintech firms are required to comply with the running laws that govern the financial services industry. These comprise ensuring the appropriate licensing, keeping personal data requirements updated, according to the Personal Data Protection Act and complying with AML/CFT notices. It is important to know that fintech is always going through innovations. Singapore lawmakers are always coming up with new ways to secure firms and consumers. Aspirants must always be updated with the latest compliance regulations as this new industry is always on the move. We would love if you get in touch with us to know everything about the Fintech domain in Singapore.

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Applying for Singapore Entrepreneur Pass

Are you a foreigner looking to relocate to Singapore to start and run a business? Then the Singapore Entrepreneur Pass or EntrePass is just the thing for you. To be eligible to apply for this work visa, the entrepreneur who intends to come to Singapore to establish a company, must display a paid-up capital of at least S$50,000. This helps entrepreneurs who have a more successful professional record, as compared to documented qualifications. The EntrePass works perfectly for foreign businesspersons who fall short of academic certifications or are not eligible according to the Employment Pass scheme, but have proved their business expertise through booming professional experience. In practice, applying for an EntrePass used to be more difficult than that for an Employment Pass (EP), due to the paid-up capital requirement of S$50,000. However, this requirement has now been removed to attract more qualified applicants worldwide. What Makes You Eligible and Ineligible for the EntrePass? A foreign entrepreneur can apply for the EntrePass if the following conditions are met: 1.      The candidate has or aims to launch a private limited company, registered with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) in Singapore. In case the company has already been registered, it should be less than or equal to 6 months old on the date of application. 2.      The applicant must be a minimum 30% shareholder in the capital of the company.Additional Provisions The applicant is required to meet a minimum of one of the listed requirements, either in the capacity of an innovator, an entrepreneur, or an investor: Innovator ·         The enterprise should be a holder or an intellectual property asset. ·         The company should have had participated in joint research with A*STAR or a university. ·         The company must possess excellent technical or domain expertise that is connected to the intended business. Entrepreneur ·         The financial support of the company must come from a Government-recognized VC or business angel. ·         The company should have active involvement in a Government-supported incubator. ·         The candidate must have a proven track record or network and bright business history of having launched very lucrative enterprises. Investor ·         The candidate must have a good previous experience of business investments and should be keen on expanding a new company or already existent one in Singapore. You can learn more about these requirements here. Businesses Ineligible for the EntrePass Cafés, cafeterias, massage parlors, pubs, night clubs, job placement services and others, do not qualify for the EntrePass. A full account of the businesses that do not qualify for the pass is available on the MOM website. The Application Procedure How to Apply? An applicant or a representative of the applicant is eligible to submit an application for the EntrePass. The MOM lays down the steps listed below to apply for the EntrePass: 1.      An applicant must attach the EntrePass application form with necessary documents and submit the pack. 2.      Once the application has been approved, as a policy, the MOM will issue an approval letter. The applicant is required to register the company (in case not already done so) with ACRA within a month of receiving the letter. 3.      As a rule, the EntrePass should be issued within 6 months of the approval letter. 4.      Once the EntrePass has been issued, the fingerprint and photo registration of the candidate is required. 5.      MOM will send the card to the address indicated in the application. Essential Paperwork The following documents must be attached and submitted along with the application for the EntrePass: 1.      Copy of the individual information page of applicant’s passport; 2.      Previous service testimonies in English; and 3.      A plan of action that mentions the enterpriser’s business strategy, market research, market plan, products or services in the offering, etc. Bear in mind that at the time of applying, if the business is already registered with ACRA, the following must be submitted: 1.      A copy of the company’s recent profile (as can be seen on the ACRA website) How to Renew, Cancel and Replace the EntrePass? EntrePass Renewal The EntrePass that is issued for the first time has a validity of 1+1 years. This means that one year after its issue, the EntrePass must be renewed. If all eligibility requirements for renewal are fulfilled, the validity is extended for one additional year. From then on, all the EntrePass renewals that follow will have a 2-year validity. An EntrePass holder can put forward an application to get his pass renewed, 3 months before it expires. Among the renewal requirements is that the EntrePass holder must retain the initial business plan submitted to the Ministry when applying for the first time. For renewal of the pass, the holder needs to make sure that his business creates employment in Singapore. For more information on the renewal of an EntrePass click here. Cancelling the EntrePass In case an EntrePass needs to be cancelled, it can be done by the pass holder, a company agent or an employment agent. The cancellation should happen and the pass must be returned in a week’s duration after the closure of the business. Replacement of the EntrePass In case of theft, loss or damage to EntrePass, the holder of the pass, or an agent appointed by the company, or an employment agent can submit an application to have the pass replaced, not later than 7 days since the loss. Additionally, in case an EntrePass holder’s card is stolen, the incident must be reported to the police. Notification of Changes If any one or more of the following changes are to be done to an EntrePass, the pass holder must notify the MOM: 1.      Line of business; 2.      Candidate’s personal information, home address, office address; 3.      Salary; 4.      Company name and account info and 5.      Line of work To know more about notifying these changes and the related timeframes visit the MOM website. Family Onboard There are two passes that enable EntrePass holders to call their families to Singapore and be with them; the Dependant’s Pass orthe Long Term Visit Pass. The eligible family members comprise: 1.      Spouse. 2.      Common-law spouse 3.      Unmarried and lawfully adopted children, below 21 years of age 4.      Unmarried differently-abled children, above 21 years of age 5.      Unmarried step-children below 21 years of age 6.      Parents EntrePass holders can get their family members on board in Singapore, once they have successfully renewed their passes. In other words, EntrePass holders are not allowed to get their family members after they apply for the pass the first time. Also, to get a family member to Singapore the EntrePass holder must ensure that he or she meets the total business expense and employment generation conditions as ruled by the MOM. Conclusion An EntrePass is a necessity for a foreign entrepreneur who intends to set up and operate a business in Singapore. Do not forget that the MOM carefully scans all applications, as well as the business plans that are submitted along with them, to check if the submissions conform to the requirements of the Ministry. With our help, your chances of getting the Singapore EntrePass are much higher and free of troubles. Contact us today so that we can evaluate your eligibility and come up with ways that increase your hit rate. This is your chance to live and do business in Asia’s most desired city.

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Reinsurance Market in Singapore

About Reinsurance Reinsurance is a contract under which a reinsurer agrees to indemnify a ceding company against all or part of the primary insurance risks underwritten by the ceding company under one or more insurance contracts. Market Trends Singapore is not only Asia’s largest international financial center but also one of Asia’s largest international reinsurance centers. The Singapore insurance market remains very competitive. As of the end of 2016, the market had gross premiums total receipt of about over S$3.97 billion and a total asset worth of about S$11.14 billion. Statistics collected over the seven-year period between 2010 and 2016 indicate a growing market. Total gross premiums and retention ratios have increased year on year, indicating good growth prospects for the market as a whole. In particular, the Singaporean general insurance sector registered a compound annual growth rate of 23.1% from 2010 to 2016 in respect of gross written premiums. Since 2011, statistics show that the offshore insurance market has maintained its retention ratio at about 60% and increased its total assets up to S$22.2 billion. The Singapore reinsurance market remains extremely competitive. Total gross premiums for the reinsurance industry were S$4.9 billion in 2016 and retention ratio has been 69.1%.   Regulatory Framework The Insurance Act (Cap 142) governs insurance and reinsurance activities in Singapore. Regulatory Bodies Insurance and reinsurance activities are regulated by the MAS (Monetary Authority of Singapore), established by the Monetary Authority of Singapore Act (Cap 186). MAS is responsible for the licensing, authorization and supervision of insurance and reinsurance activities.   Authorized Reinsurer Overseas insurers may apply for authorization to carry on life and/or general reinsurance business in Singapore. Authorized Reinsurers: -       Do not have a physical presence in Singapore and provide insurance services from overseas to persons in Singapore. -       Are subject to limited oversight by MAS compared to licensed insurers : Not required to set up and maintain separate insurance funds for policies taken out by persons in Singapore : No need to comply with solvency margin requirements Admission Criteria MAS assesses applications for authorization of reinsurers based on these criteria: -       Domestic and international rankings of the applicant by factors such as premiums and assets -       Past and present credit ratings by international rating agencies (i.e., Standard and Poor's, A.M Best, Moody's and Fitch) -       Track record, financial soundness and reputation of the applicant MAS will consult the applicant's home supervisory authority to check the applicant’s compliance with its home regulations. -       Risk management systems and processes aligning with the size and complexity of the business -       Fitness and propriety of the applicant and all persons having control of the applicant Documents To Be Submitted Along With The Application Form 1) A certified true copy of the license issued by the insurance supervisory authority in the country in which the company is carrying on insurance business 2) A copy of the annual report and financial statements of both the applicant and its ultimate parent company for each of the last three years Processing Time It will take approximately 6 to 8 weeks after submission of complete application to process and approve an application. As each application will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, processing time depends on the circumstances of each application and the completeness of the information submitted. Annual Fee Every authorized reinsurer shall pay an annual fee of S$10,000 to the Authority before 1st January of each year. License For Reinsurer Applicants need a license to carry on life and/or general reinsurance business in Singapore. Admission Criteria MAS assesses applications for life and/or general reinsurance licenses based on these criteria: -       Same as admission criteria for authorized reinsurer -       Well-developed business strategy and detailed plans reflecting the risk profile of the business Documents To Be Submitted Along With The Application Form 1) A certified true copy of the license issued by the insurance supervisory authority in the country in which the company is carrying on insurance business 2) A certified true copy of the letter from the insurance supervisory authority in the country granting the company to establish insurance operations in Singapore, if such approval is required. (If approval is not required, a statement to this effect should be provided.) 3) A copy of the annual report and financial statements of both the applicant and its ultimate parent company for each of the last three years 4) A copy of the feasibility study conducted in respect of the proposed Singapore operations (including financial projections for the proposed Singapore operations). Taxation Of Insurance And Reinsurance Providers Under the Income Tax Act, all companies are generally taxed at the rate of 17% on their chargeable income. However, some insurers may be subject to different tax rates depending on the type of insurance business carried on.   ∙ Life Insurance Business Insurers carrying on life insurance business are subject to a tax rate of 10% on life insurance surplus of any life insurance fund apportioned to policyholders for each year of assessment.   ∙ Marine Hull and Liability Insurance/Reinsurance Business Tax is payable at the rate of 5% on chargeable income derived by an approved marine hull and liability insurer for each year of assessment.   ∙ Offshore General Insurance/Reinsurance Business An approved insurer carrying on offshore life insurance business and insuring/reinsuring offshore risks will be taxed at the rate of 10% on chargeable income for each year of assessment.   ∙ Captive Insurers Captive insurers are exempt from tax on any underwriting income derived from insuring offshore risks.   Singapore Insurance Market Trends     Source: MAS (Monetary Authority of Singapore) Life insurance valuation results for the year ended 31st December 2018 -       Professional Reinsurer Source: MAS (Monetary Authority of Singapore) If you have any questions about Singapore company incorporation and investment in Singapore, please contact us via Contact Us page. We will provide you with a variety of solutions for efficient business operations as well as practical advice on legal requirements.

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