1. Health Screening

Price list for Family Health Screening in Singapore (2020)

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Here’s the deal: staying healthy is much more than eating well, keeping fit and getting enough sleep. Don’t get me wrong; of course these are essential for living a healthy life that you love. Unfortunately, in life, there are other things at play here – it’s possible to still suffer from illnesses and diseases despite doing everything right.

At a time of a pandemic when health is more precious than ever, you may be asking yourself – with a twinge of guilt, no doubt – “when was the last time I went for a health check-up?”

A standard health screening (for a healthy adult with no known illnesses) comprises 4 basic tests – or health markers:

  1. A medical health check-up by your doctor (medical history, lifestyle, etc)
  2. A physical examination (height, weight, BMI, vision)
  3. A blood glucose test (for risk of diabetes)
  4. A blood cholesterol test (for risk of heart disease)

However, most comprehensive health screening packages also allow you to test for additional things like:

  • Blood pressure test, for healthy blood pressure levels
  • Blood count, for anaemia
  • ECG (electrocardiogram) test, for heart activity and condition
  • Urine test, for kidney condition
  • Chest X-ray, for lung condition

“I’m in the pink of health. Do I really have to go for a health screening?”

Firstly, a health screening is different from diagnostic tests, which you need to undergo if you are showing symptoms of a particular condition. [1]

Health check-ups are meant for people who are in the pink of health, because it helps to detect conditions early – before the illness even starts wreaking havoc on your body and on your health for you to feel the effects.

The health screening results would also give you an in-depth review of your body’s condition; for example, your blood glucose levels, your cholesterol levels, etc. This can help you be aware of your body’s condition and adapt to it by making small and simple lifestyle changes to prevent the progression of this condition – and to nip the problem in the bud before it starts.

Also, a health screening helps to detect diseases which are asymptomatic in nature – meaning these illnesses do not show any symptoms until the disease is widespread in the body. Quite a number of severe illnesses, such as colorectal cancer, cardiovascular diseases, do not display any symptoms especially in the early stages. [3]

Also read: Bleary eyes, blurry vision: What’s going on? A must-read for anyone experiencing blurred vision.

In health, prevention and early detection is always the best ways to manage a disease as treatments are generally more effective and also less costly. In other words, going for a health screening can potentially save you a whole bunch of money and hefty medical bills!

“I want to schedule health screenings for my whole family. What are the different types of health check-ups I should take note of?”

There is a wide spectrum of health screenings available. In general, a health check-up for adults would be different for newborns due to different needs. It’s also different for the elderly for the same reason.

Here is a general guide on the types of health screening tests for different age groups in your family, WITHOUT any history of medical conditions:

1. General health screening for adults (21 to 45 years old)

Adults aged 21 to 45 years old who have no history of medical conditions can go for these health screening tests once every 2 to 3 years:

Screen for Screening test
Obesity Height, weight, BMI test
Lung condition Chest X-ray
Kidney condition Urine test
Diabetes Fasting blood glucose test
Hypertension (high blood pressure) Blood pressure test
Heart condition and activity ECG test
High cholesterol and associated heart problems Blood cholesterol test

Find out here: 7 Symptoms of diabetes every Singaporean needs to know!

2. Additional health screening for women

These additional female health screening tests should be done once every 3 years:

Screen for Screening test
Cervical cancer (for women who have had sex) Pap test, HPV test
Breast cancer Mammogram

3. General health screening for the elderly (above 45 years old)

Due to a deterioration of one’s body functions from ageing, the elderly are more at risk of diseases, and thus should undergo additional check-ups* which affect the elderly and go for health screenings more frequently – once a year is a good benchmark:

Screen for Screening test
Obesity Height, weight, BMI test
Lung condition Chest X-ray
Kidney condition Urine test
Diabetes Fasting blood glucose test
Hypertension (high blood pressure) Blood pressure test
Heart condition and activity ECG test
High cholesterol and associated heart problems Blood cholesterol test
Colorectal cancer Faecal immunochemical test (test for blood in stools)
Glaucoma Eye pressure test
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and other retinal problems Eye examination by ophthalmologist

Also read: Singapore war on diabetes how can I prevent it from happening to me

4. General health screening for newborns (0 to 4 weeks old)

This is a general, one-off health screening guide for newborns:

Screen for Screening test
Hearing loss Audiometry
Glucose-6-Phosphate-Dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency Umbilical cord screening
Inborn errors of metabolism (IEM) Tandem mass spectrometry (TMS) screening
Primary hypothyroidism Thyroid function test 

“I have a family history of a certain chronic disease and/or existing medical conditions. What should I do?”

You may have to undergo additional screening tests which fall into Category 2 screening tests also known as individual-level decision screening tests, according to the Ministry of Health’s guidelines. The definition is of these screening tests are as follows: the net benefit does not outweigh the risk in general populations, but the screening may be useful for high-risk populations.

Some examples for Cat 2 individual-level decision screening tests include and are not limited to:

  • MRI breast screening (high risk: women with hereditary breast cancer predisposition syndromes)
  • Liver cancer screening (high risk: Hepatitis B carriers)
  • Lung cancer screening (high risk: smokers)

In general, if you have a family history (of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc) and/or you are at high risk of suffering from a specific disease, make arrangements to go for these disease-specific health checks. Whenever in doubt, always consult your doctor with regards to the type of health checks you need and the recommended frequency suitable for your condition.

“Where do I go for health screenings in Singapore?”

We’re lucky that there are plenty of health screening options available for us in Singapore. We’ve quite a robust system of healthcare, from the public route – government polyclinics and public hospitals, to the private route – private medical clinics and private hospitals.

They all offer health screening packages in varying services and price points, so in a way we’re also spoilt for choice and it may also be confusing.

If you’re looking for basic health screening i.e. the four health markers as mentioned before, you could go to any polyclinic or public hospital to get it done affordably.

You should also check out Health Promotion Board’s Screen for Life Programme, which allows all eligible Singapore citizens to go for specific health screening tests for $0 to $5. It’s an amazing price point and Singaporeans do love ourselves a bargain – it doesn’t get any better than this elsewhere.

How much does the Screen for Life Programme cost?

The Screen for Life Programme involves only GP clinics under the Community Health Asssist Scheme (CHAS). So make sure you locate a CHAS clinic first.

Category Screening cost
Pioneer Generation (PG) cardholders

(aged 71 and above)

$0 (Free)
Merdeka Generation cardholders

(aged 61 and above)

$2
Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) cardholders – Blue or Orange $2
Singapore citizens; CHAS Green cardholders $5

As you can see from the table above, it seems that every Singaporean will be eligible for a $0 to $5 health screening test! This screening cost also covers one additional follow-up consultation if required.

However, this programme only covers specific health screening tests that may only benefit certain groups of people, in particular three types of diseases: cervical cancer, cardiovascular disease and colorectal cancer.

Here is a summary of what Screen for Life specifically covers:

Screen for: Your age must be:
Cervical cancer 25 years old and above, female
Cardiovascular disease 40 years old and above
Colorectal cancer 50 years old and above

You’ll also need to make an appointment with your preferred CHAS clinic and remember to bring along your CHAS/MG/PG/PA* card to qualify for the subsidized rate!

“Price list: Health screening packages in hospitals in Singapore”

Many Singaporeans would turn to getting health checks at public hospitals rather than private hospitals, since it is viewed as the more affordable option in general.

We found that this is actually not completely true. The prices of health screenings in public hospitals like Changi General Hospital (CGH) can be on par with a private hospital like Farrer Park Hospital.

One possible reason is that health screenings at public hospitals are not subsidised, unlike polyclinics and CHAS GP clinics which dish out quite a bit of subsidies.

We have compiled the price list of health screening packages in public hospitals as well as in private hospitals in Singapore:

Health Screening Cost in Public Hospitals

Hospital Name Basic Health Screening Package Price (incl. GST)
Ng Teng Fong Hospital $88
Khoo Teck Puat Hospital $98
Mount Alvernia Hospital $131.60
Tan Tock Seng Hospital $200
National University Hospital $260
Changi General Hospital $360

Source: Individual hospital websites

Health Screening Costs in Private Hospitals

Hospital Name Basic Health Screening Package Price (incl. GST)
Raffles Medical Group $74.90
Farrer Park Hospital $350
Parkway East Hospital $438
Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre $788 (men) & $818 (women)

Source: Individual hospital websites

As you can see, prices are not necessarily that cheap in public hospitals when it comes to health screenings. In fact, Raffles Medical in the private sector offers the most affordable health screening package.

Of course, it’s important to read into the fine details of the specific health screening tests you’ll be getting for each package as they do differ.

“Price list of Health Screening in Private Clinics”

Singapore’s healthcare industry is also peppered with many private practices, typically owned by doctors who eventually “set up shop” after serving in public hospitals for a period of time or businessmen. These private clinics vary in sizes and can be a chain or an individual standalone clinic.

Private Clinic Basic Health Screening Package Price (incl. GST)
Mediway Medical $25
Acumed Medical Group $26
LifeScan Medical Centre $180
Sata CommHealth $275
Thomson Wellth Clinic $310.50
Healthway Medical $350
Fullerton Health $500.76

Source: Clinic websites

As you can see, health screening services provided by the different medical providers could differ greatly in terms of prices due to the what the health screening package offers.

Generally, those packages that are more costly tend to have a broader scope of detection, i.e. detect a wider range of diseases. Again, it’s important to read thoroughly what the package comprises before deciding on which to go for.

“Can I use Medisave to pay for health screening tests?”

Unfortunately, you cannot use Medisave to pay for health screening packages in general. Health screening is also not subsidised because you cannot get referrals from polyclinics for the screening tests, so you will not be able to enjoy subsidised or discounted rates even if you are a Singaporean visiting a public hospital. That’s also why getting your health screening at public hospitals may not be necessarily cheaper than those offered by private hospitals or clinics.

However, Medisave can be used to cover a few very specific health screening tests, such as mammograms and colonoscopies. [6]

A cost-related pro tip: Some private clinics have interest-free installment plans available with payment by specific credit cards – typically you can opt for a 12-months or 24-months installment plan. It is not very widely communicated by clinics itself so you may have to ask the clinic directly if they offer it.

“A peace of mind”

For most of us, going for our health screenings once every 2 to 3 years is good enough and not that difficult to accomplish if only you make it a point to schedule them in.

Your health screening results can give you a really good picture of where your health is at and help you track your health over time. Furthermore, early detection is such a crucial factor in overcoming diseases and almost always result in better recovery outcomes. The benefits of health screenings are so endless – and far-reaching – we cannot recommend it enough.

Personally, health screenings are also a big part of self-care and I’m all for it just based on the fact that it gives me a peace of mind – that my body is in good health – so I can focus my energy on living my life to the fullest.

 

References:

[1] Healthhub. Screen For Life, from: https://www.healthhub.sg/programmes/61/Screen_for_Life

[2] Lai. L (2017). Many not following up after health screening, from https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/many-not-following-up-after-health-screening

[3] Parkway Shenton (2018). Different ideas and opinions about health screening abound – but what’s true and what isn’t?, from https://www.parkwayshenton.com/healthplus/article/health-screening-myths-debunked

[4] Raffles Health (2018). (UPDATED) YOUR GUIDE TO HEALTH SCREENING TESTS IN SINGAPORE, from https://www.raffleshealth.com/health-articles/health-screening-tests-what-you-need-to-know/

[5] HealthHub. The ABCs of Health Screening, from https://www.healthhub.sg/live-healthy/403/abcs_of_health_screening

[6] Central Provident Fund Board. Medisave: Can I use my MediSave savings for my own or my approved dependants’ outpatient scans or health screenings?, from https://www.cpf.gov.sg/members/FAQ/schemes/Healthcare/MediSave/FAQDetails?category=Healthcare&group=MediSave&folderid=12997&ajfaqid=2189495

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