Public health care coverage is financed by two policies – individual responsibility and affordable healthcare for all. Government subsidies, individual private savings and a group of insurance schemes known as the “3Ms” (Medisave, MediShield and MediFund) system, help finance the citizens’ health care coverage. Medisave, a mandatory medical savings program, requires workers to contribute a percentage of their income to a personal account, with the same amount contributed by employers. MediShield is a health insurance scheme that supplements Medisave to help meet medical expenses of major or chronic illnesses. MediFund, on the other hand, is a government fund that aids citizens who received treatment in a Medifund-approved institution and cannot afford the expenses even with government subsidies, Medisave and MediShield coverage. Besides this, several private insurance options are available to citizens that supplement the MediShield plan and are funded by Medisave accounts. Other premium plans not covered by Medisave funds can also be opted for alongside the insurance provided by employers.
The health system is organized such that the administration overseen by the MoH is distributed amongst various statutory boards and healthcare institutions. Statutory Boards include the Singapore Medical Council, Singapore Nursing Board and Singapore Pharmacy Council to name a few. Registered nurses made up the largest share of medical staff in 2018, followed by enrolled nurses, non-specialist and specialist doctors, and pharmacists. Healthcare facilities run by the public and private sectors as of 2018 included: 19 acute care hospitals, 8 community hospitals, over 50 nursing homes, nearly 260 pharmacies and several polyclinics.
With regard to diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis and measles, the number of reported cases had reduced considerably in 2018. Reports from 2017 also show that the number of cases of dengue fever had reduced dramatically by approximately 79 percent over a span of one year. Although the infant mortality rate decreased since 2016, the death rate of the overall population increased during the same period. The leading causes of death reported in 2018 were diseases of the circulatory system, neoplasms and respiratory diseases.
To deal with the rising rate of mortality, the MoH would need to tackle the problems of alcoholism and smoking prevalent in Singapore as well as spread awareness about autoimmune diseases such as HIV/AIDS. However, the improvements made in the area of infant inoculation and reduction of traffic accident fatalities must be acknowledged.