What’s the best credit card for hospital or medical bills?

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Earning points for hospital and medical bills often gives miles chasers more anxiety than the treatment itself! Here's which cards to use.

What’s the best credit card to use for hospital or medical bills?

That’s one of the most common questions I get, but also the hardest to answer. Hard, because there are a heck of a lot of permutations, and I don’t want to steer anyone wrong. Given how expensive hospital bills can be, the pain of using the wrong card could well send you right back inside. 

But since most of us will probably end up in a hospital at some point in our lives, let’s attempt to provide some structure to this question, and see if we can work out a few general principles. 

💳 What’s the best card for…
This guide forms part of the “best card” series. Check out other category specific guides below, or the overall guide here.
💗 Charitable Donations | 🏫 Education | 🥡 Food Delivery | 🏥 Hospital Bills | ☂️ Insurance  | ⛽ Petrol | 🚍 Public Transport| 🚰 Utilities Bills

How are hospitals classified?

Ng Teng Fong General Hospital
Ng Teng Fong General Hospital

It’s first necessary to understand how hospitals are classified in Singapore. Here’s how the MOH organizes things: 

  Acute Community
Public

1. Alexandra Hospital
2. Changi General
3. Khoo Teck Puat
4. KK Hospital
5. NUH
6. Ng Teng Fong
7. Sengkang General
8. Singapore General
9. Tan Tock Seng

1. Bright Vision
2. Jurong Community
3. Outram Community
4. Sengkang Community
5. Yishun Community
Not-for-Profit 1. Mount Alvernia 1. AMK- Thye Hua Kwan Hospital
2. Ren Ci Community
3. St Andrew’s Community
4. St Luke’s
Private 1. Concord International
2. Farrer Park
3. Gleneagles
4. Mount Elizabeth
5. Mount Elizabeth Novena
6. Parkway East
7. Raffles Hospital
8. Thomson Medical Centre
 
🏥 What about restructured hospitals?
You may hear the term “restructured hospital” mentioned in insurance materials. This is basically a public hospital. As per the MOH: “The Government has restructured all its acute hospitals and specialty centres to be run as private companies wholly owned by the government. This is to enable the public hospitals to have the management autonomy and flexibility to respond more promptly to the needs of the patients.”

The following specialist centres are also classified as public institutions:

  • National Cancer Centre
  • National Heart Centre
  • National Neuroscience Institute
  • National Skin Centre
  • Singapore National Eye Centre
  • National Dental Centre

Why does the classification matter? Because it affects the hospital’s MDR (Merchant Discount Rate- the fee paid to accept credit card payments).

In general, public and non-profit hospitals pay lower MDRs, while private facilities pay higher. The lower the MDR, the less profit the banks make on a transaction, and the less likely they are to offer credit card rewards. 

What MCC do hospitals code as?

There are two main MCCs that hospitals can code as:

  • 8062: Hospitals
  • 9399: Government Services Not Elsewhere Classified

The MCC distinction is important, because almost every bank excludes 9399 from earning points, but not every bank excludes 8062. 

Do note that despite the government association, most public hospitals don’t actually code under 9399. Instead, most fall under 8062, such as Changi General, NUH, and SGH.

If this wasn’t complicated enough, it’s possible that within a given hospital, different departments may bill differently. For instance, Ng Teng Fong’s pharmacy codes as MCC 9399, while Ng Teng Fong itself codes as 8062. 

There is no comprehensive list of which hospitals code as what. You can find a few scattered data points on this crowdsourced spreadsheet and on WhatCard, but I can’t vouch to their accuracy or recency. 

For what it’s worth, my understanding is that very few hospitals still code under 9399, and most of them would be on 8062 by now.

When in doubt, always test a small amount first and check the MCC with the bank’s CSO. 

What credit cards earn rewards for hospital bills?

Here’s a summary of each bank’s policy for transactions made at hospitals:

  Awards Points?

Excludes Hospitals

Except 9399

Excludes Hospitals

Except 9399

Except 9399

Except VOYAGE & Visa Infinite

Except 9399

Except on Reserve & Visa Infinite Metal Cards

Awards points on all hospital payments

Let’s start with the simplest one first. All American Express cards will earn points on hospital payments, regardless of the MCC. This makes them the least stressful option to use.

Perhaps the better question is: are AMEX cards accepted in the first place? If so, here’s how many miles you can earn.

Card Earn Rate
AMEX Solitaire PPS Credit Card 1.3 mpd
AMEX PPS Credit Card 1.3 mpd
AMEX KrisFlyer Ascend 1.2 mpd
AMEX KrisFlyer Credit Card 1.1 mpd
AMEX Centurion 0.98 mpd
AMEX Platinum Charge 0.78 mpd
AMEX Platinum Reserve 0.69 mpd
 AMEX Platinum Credit Card 0.69 mpd
AMEX Rewards Card 0.63 mpd

Awards points on all hospital payments, except 9399

This is the position the majority of banks take. So long as the transaction does not code under 9399, points will be earned as per the regular T&Cs. 

Assuming the MCC is 8062, here’s some cards you can use:

Card Earn Rate
UOB Reserve 1.6 mpd
Citi ULTIMA 1.6 mpd
UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card 1.4 mpd
SCB Visa Infinite 1.4 mpd
(Min $2K overall spend
per statement, otherwise 1 mpd)
Citi Prestige 1.3 mpd 
HSBC Visa Infinite 1.25 mpd
(1 mpd if first year or if
previous year spending <$50K)
SCB X Card 1.2 mpd
Citi PremierMiles 1.2 mpd
Maybank Visa Infinite 1.2 mpd

Does not award points

Don’t bother using any DBS, Bank of China, OCBC or UOB cards in hospitals, because they both exclude the category altogether, regardless of private/public. 

Exceptions apply for OCBC VOYAGE, OCBC Premier Visa Infinite, UOB Reserve and UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card cards. 

What about other medical facilities?

Based on past data points, polyclinics code as 8062 and not 9399, and hence earn regular credit card rewards (most also accept Paywave, so 4 mpd with the UOB Preferred Platinum Visa is possible). 

The same logic applies to dentists. Dental treatment at a hospital (or the National Dental Centre) will earn points, subject to the usual 9399 exclusion. If you’re visiting a stand-alone dentist (like Q&M or Nam Seng Dental), it will most likely code as 8021.

To my knowledge, no bank has excluded this category, and you should earn points as per normal. 

Conclusion

While it’s increasingly tricky to earn rewards for transactions at hospitals and polyclinics, the good news is that it’s not impossible. If you have a choice of treatment facility, it makes sense to look up its MCC beforehand so you know which card can help you earn the highest rebate.

If you have any more MCC datapoints for medical facilities, please help the community by reporting them below.

Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion with the intention of helping people travel better for less and impressing chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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Maxx

Thanks for the helpful article. Got bills to pay at SGH.

Dan

Very timely article. Have a 15-25k bill coming up for my 1st child’s birth!

kit

Lol wish i seen this on Tuesday

Kl E

Dear Aaron, Last month I tried, citirewards visa no longer provide 4mpd for grab top up. You like to double check ?

Yiwei

Did you happen to have exceeded your monthly cap? I just topped up grab on 16th June and was credited the points.

Jerm

Wonder if anyone knows what is the MCC code used for National Skin Center?

LionDen

Used DBS Altitude for Q&M dental this week. Confirmed points awarded.

CJss

Hi, I think DBS Altitude does not award pointz for grab topups. Its stated in thd T&C

Try

Maybe you should try it yourself…

playereleven

For sharing:

I think Aaron’s article is referring to payment over counter. Nowadays you don’t really need to pay govt hospital bills over the counter and can opt to pay online instead. I just paid my mum’s SGH bills via http://epay.singhealth.com.sg/sgh. I tested the smaller bills on both my UOB Prvi and Citi Rewards (both Mastercard) and I got 1.4 miles and 4 miles respectively. Do note only VISA and Masters are accepted on this payment gateway.

Hope it helps.

Kay

The post metion UOB PRIVI miles card does it applies to all Visa,Master,AMEX?

Ethan

Hi Aaron, great article!

Am wondering, with the upgrade in HSBC Revolution, does it give 4mpd if using contactless as MCC 8062? If so, you can update it on your article!

Eric tan

Any idea on private clinic? What Mcc are usually used by gp or specialist clinic?

Melv

Anyone knows?

kolono

So with my limited card, my best bet would be either 90N or premier if Amex cant be use….

kolono

citi premiermile i mean

Jojoj

Pls double-check Bank of China’s Family card. I called up and they said hospitals are eligible for cashback but cap at $25.

Last edited 6 months ago by Jojoj
milesking

this guide is only for *miles* cards. if you’re looking for cashback, this is the wrong site for you

D K

Aaron, can you consider adding this category to the “what card do I use for” section?

I missed this article, got greedy and used my citi rewards visa at national skin centre’s pharmacy. Ended up with only the base points.

Kenny Tan

Hihi, do you mean entire cgh uses the code mcc 8062? Any grabpoints awarded to any of the mcc 9399 or mcc 8062? Any difference using the physical card or the e card?

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