Average Cost of Cardiovascular Disease Treatment in Singapore

Cardiovascular disease is the leading killer in Singapore, accounting for 1 in 3 deaths. Cardiovascular disease encompasses everything from heart palpitations to cardiac arrest and stroke, meaning that treatment can range from simple and affordable medication to complex and expensive surgeries. Below, we break down the cost of cardiovascular treatments and surgeries based on disease category and hospital type.

Table of Contents

Average Cost of Ischaemic Heart Disease Treatment

The average bill size of getting treatment for ischaemic heart disease-related illnesses costs S$2,944 at a public subsidised ward, S$11,618 at a public unsubsidised ward and S$24,149 at a private hospital. Ischaemic heart disease (also known as coronary artery disease) can lead to heart attacks, heart failure, chest pain and cardiac arrest. Procedures for these disorders include everything from examination of chest pain to heart bypass surgery. As expected, the cost for simple procedures such as chest pain or high blood pressure treatment is fairly low, averaging less than S$700 at a public subsidised ward. However, complicated procedures such as heart attack treatment and bypass surgery can leave patients with bills in the several thousands. For instance, heart bypass surgery in a public subsidised ward has a median bill of S$6,966, with the average cost increasing to S$75,398 in private hospitals.

Median Bill Size for Ischaemic Heart Disease Treatment

ProcedurePublic Sub.Public Unsub.Private
Admission for High Blood PressureS$614S$1,956S$4,751
Admission for Chest Pain (No Complications)S$677S$1,912S$5,895
Heart Failure (No Complications)S$1,113S$3,355S$7,708
Heart Attack (No Complications)S$1,293N/AN/A
Heart Angiography (Overnight)S$2,045S$6,011S$8,718
PTCA (No Heart Attack)S$6,437S$20,914S$36,017
Heart Attack (w/ PTCA)S$6,308S$17,258S$40,201
Conventional Heart Bypass SurgeryS$6,966S$36,682S$75,398
Data Source: Ministry of Health

Cost of Heart Disease Medication

High blood pressure or high cholesterol is either a risk factor or a symptom of heart disease. Thus, your doctor may prescribe medication to treat these conditions to prevent your condition from worsening. The average cost of generic hypertension (high blood pressure) medication ranges from S$0.26 per pill to S$0.46 per pill. Generic hypertension medications typically cost 75% less than branded medication but provide the same effectiveness, thus being a good option for budget-constrained patients. The most expensive types of high blood pressure medication are tablets containing both calcium channel blocker and statin medications (e.g. Caduet). These types of medications treat high blood pressure, heart pain and lower blood pressure. They have an average cost ranging between S$4.17 and S$4.65 per pill.

Average Cost of High Blood Pressure Medication (Per Tablet/Capsule/Sachet)

Medication ClassLow-End PriceHigh-End Price
ACE InhibitorsS$1.06S$1.20
ACE Inhibitors & DiureticS$1.85S$2.10
AT II Receptor BlockersS$2.12S$2.34
AT II Receptor Blockers & DiureticsS$2.11S$2.34
Beta BlockersS$0.84S$1.05
Beta Blockers & Calcium Channel BlockersS$1.48S$1.62
Beta Blockers & DiureticsS$1.41S$1.52
Calcium Channel BlockersS$1.45S$1.66
Calcium Channel Blockers & DiureticsS$4.17S$4.65
DiureticS$0.59S$0.75
Renin InhibitorsS$2.72S$3.08
Other (Alpha-1 Blocker, Alpha-2-Agonist, etc.)S$0.61S$0.77
Data Source: Pharmaceutical Society of Singapore

Similarly, hyperlipidemia (high blood cholesterol) medication is another form of treatment used for treating symptoms or reducing the risk of ischaemic heart disease. The average price for generic hyperlipidemia medication ranges from S$2.70 to S$3.05 per pill. Branded medications cost an average of 1.4 times more than generic versions. Statin medications such as Crestor, are the most common type of cholesterol medication in Singapore. They are also the most expensive, with an average cost between S$3.93 and S$4.44 per pill. Fibrate medications, such as Lipofen, are the cheapest type of cholesterol medication and have an average price range between S$1.41 and S$1.69 per pill. Fibrates are given to patients who can't take statin medications. While they are less effective than statins in lowering LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) levels, they are better than most statins in raising HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol).

Average Cost of Cholesterol Medication (Per Tablet/Capsule/Sachet)

Medication ClassLow-End PriceHigh-End Price
FibratesS$1.41S$1.58
Nicotinic AcidS$1.58S$1.78
StatinS$3.93S$4.44
Statin & Calcium Channel BlockersS$4.17S$4.65
Data Source: Pharmaceutical Society of Singapore

Average Cost of Cerebrovascular Disease Treatment

The average bill size of cerebrovascular disease treatment costs S$2,764 at public subsidised wards, S$7,882 at public unsubsidised wards and S$16,976 at private hospitals. The most common condition that falls under cerebrovascular disease is stroke. As expected, treatment will be more expensive if the stroke comes with complications or if comorbidity is present (stroke and other conditions affecting the patient at the same time). We found that stroke treatment with minor complications costs 31-36% more than stroke treatment with no complications in public hospitals. However, this cost can increase by 80% if the complications end up being serious. The cost of treating a stroke with complications is even greater in private hospitals. For instance, we found that treatment for a stroke with minor complications will cost patients 145% more than treatment for a stroke without any complications in the same hospitals.

Median Bill Size for Cerebrovascular Disease Treatment

ProcedurePublic Sub.Public Unsub.Private
Stroke (No Complications)S$1,787S$4,902S$9,836
Stroke (w/ Complications)S$2,342S$6,681S$24,116
Stroke (Serious Complications)S$4,162S$12,060N/A
Data Source: Ministry of Health

Average Cost of Arrhythmia Treatment

The average cost to treat arrhythmias, such as irregular heartbeats and heart palpitations is S$3,415 at a public subsidised wards, S$13,744 at public unsubsidised wards and S$16,279 at private hospitals. Typically, routine treatment for heart palpitations and irregular heartbeat doesn't cost more than S$2,400 at a public hospital. However, if your arrhythmia doesn't respond to traditional medication, treatment can get quite costly. The median bill to treat an irregular heart rhythm by burning heart tissue costs S$5,959 in a public subsidised ward, S$25,132 in an unsubsidised ward and S$28,660 in a private hospital.

Median Bill Size for Arrhythmia & Similar Condition Treatment

ProcedurePublic Sub.Public Unsub.Private
Heart Palpitation Treatment*S$536N/AS$5,592
Treatment for Irregular Heart Rhythm, Lack of HeartbeatS$871S$2,356S$4,798
Burning of Heart TissueS$5,959S$25,132S$28,660
* 2017 Figures
_Data Source: Ministry of Health_

Average Cost of Cardiovascular Treatment by Hospital Ward

The average cost of treating a heart condition as an inpatient costs S$2,929 in a public subsidised ward. Public unsubsidised wards cost 2.82 times more than public subsidised wards. Private hospital treatment costs twice compared to treatment in public unsubsidised wards and 5 times more treatment in public subsidised wards. The average cost of day surgery for routine ischaemic heart disease treatment or diagnosis is S$3,922 in public subsidised wards. Day surgery at a public unsubsidised ward costs 2.25 times as much, with the median bill size being S$12,767.

This graph shows the average cost of getting treatment for heart disease-related maladies in subsidised, unsubsidised and private hospital wards in Singapore

How to Pay for Cardiovascular Disease Treatment

Payment for cardiovascular disease treatment can become expensive since heart conditions can become chronic and may require constant check-ups and medication. You can use a variety of ways to pay for your treatment. The first is using Medisave. You can withdraw up to S$450 per day for daily hospital charges and between S$250 and S$7,550 for inpatient and day surgery. The amount you can withdraw for surgeries depends on the complexity of the procedure. Next, you can use your MediShield Life plan. It covers up to S$700 per day for normal and S$1,200 for intensive care unit ward stays per day.

You can also use Integrated Shield Plans, which are private health insurance supplements to MediShield Life. A variety of insurers offer them but benefits are fairly standard across the board and can provide full coverage (with the exception of deductible and co-insurance) for your hospital stay. This method of payment can be beneficial to individuals who prefer to stay in B1 or A wards, or private hospitals. However, premiums will increase as you age, so you should always make sure you can afford your premium payments before settling on a plan. Furthermore, it is also recommended to buy a plan before you develop any type of heart-related chronic condition, as it may fall under the category of a pre-existing condition. This can lead to high premiums or exclusions of coverage.

If the remaining bill is still too much for you to afford, then you may get additional help via MediFund. MediFund acts as a government safety net for patients who can not afford to pay the remainder of their bills after using Medishield Life and Medisave. However, you should note that in order to receive MediFund assistance, you must have received treatment from a MediFund-approved institution. Furthermore, you can also try to negotiate with the hospital if you have close to the amount required or see if you can pay in interest-free instalments.

If you must resort to borrowing money then you can consider taking out a personal loan. You should look for a loan that has low interest rates to reduce the amount of interest you'll pay over time. You should also make sure you borrow only from a licensed money lender to avoid paying predatory interest rates, hidden fees. You also won't be subjected to potential harassment that typically comes with predatory money lenders.

Methodology

To find the average cost of cardiovascular disease treatment in Singapore, we looked at the median bill size for available relevant procedures. We broke down the procedures based on the type of heart condition (i.e. ischaemic vs. cerebrovascular vs. heart abnormalities). Then we looked at the median bill size based on the type of hospital ward to figure out how the price changes among the types of medical facilities available to Sinagporeans. Lastly, we also wanted to take a look at how much medication costs. Taking medication is more common than getting open surgeries, thus we felt it would be relevant to Singaporeans who are suffering from symptoms but may not need surgery. Using data from the Pharmaceutical Society of Singapore, we looked at the pricing available for high blood pressure and cholesterol medications and separated them into their various classes to find out how pricing changes based on type of medication.

Please note the figures shown here should be used for educational purposes and are subject to change. Your treatment may end up costing more or less than the averages shown here based on the specific treatment needed and your insurance.

Comments and Questions