The advent of the pandemic has increased the need for accessible and affordable medical care for migrant workers in Singapore.
Employers are responsible for the medical costs of their work permit (including migrant domestic workers) and S Pass holders in Singapore. Apart from compulsory medical insurance, employers have little protection or assistance in the event of major medical costs incurred by their workers.
In order to help employers, manage the health costs of their workers and improve medical support for migrant workers, the government has announced its intention to strengthen compulsory medical insurance with its implementation by the end of this year.
Here is what you need to know about the minimum requirements under Mandatory Medical Insurance Coverage for Foreign Workers in Singapore.
Read also : Singapore Work Pass Guide: Work Permit, S Pass and Employment Pass (EP)
Summary of current medical insurance requirements
Currently, employers who hire work permit holders and S Pass holders must purchase medical insurance with coverage of at least $15,000 per year for their hospital care and day surgery for the duration of their jobs.
Additionally, employers who hire migrant domestic workers are required to carry personal accident insurance of at least $60,000 per year to cover any sudden, unforeseen and unexpected incident resulting in permanent disability or death.
Improved medical insurance for hospitals
By the end of 2022, medical insurance (MI) requirements for work permit (including migrant domestic workers) and S Pass holders will be enhanced to include an increased annual claim limit at least $60,000. This improvement should better help employers manage large medical bills.
More details will be made available by MOM closer to the implementation date.
Introduction of the co-pay component, with an annual claim limit of at least $60,000
Since the bulk of workers’ medical bills are under $15,000, there will be no change to the first dollar of coverage under Enhanced HI. However, since there were over 1,000 employers per year who face bills over $15,000, a co-payment element up to an annual claim limit of at least $60,000 will be introduced into the framework of the new MI requirements.
Under Enhanced MI, this would result in a lower cash outlay for an employer in the event that their worker incurs a medical bill over $15,000.
To illustrate this with an example, under the current MI framework, if a worker incurs a $70,000 medical bill, the employer must pay anything over the first $15,000, which equals $55,000 . However, under Enhanced MI, the employer only has to pay $13,750, while the insurer will pay the first remaining dollar of coverage ($15,000) and 75% of the annual claim limit (of $60 $000), which amounts to $56,250.
For example: in the scenario where a worker incurs a $70,000 medical bill:
Under current IM:
Under Enhanced MI:
Source: Ministry of Manpower (Enhanced Medical Insurance Coverage for Work Permit and S Pass Holders – Appendix A)
Insurers will reimburse claims directly to hospitals
Under the enhanced medical insurance, insurers will have to reimburse claims for hospitalization and day surgery costs directly to hospitals. This is a change from the current practice of employers paying their workers’ medical bills first before claiming them later from their insurers.
Cash-strapped employers may benefit from this improvement, as it will not limit their cash flow.
Insurers will offer differentiated insurance premiums according to age
To keep enhanced medical insurance premiums affordable, insurers are required to offer age-differentiated premiums for workers 50 and under and those over 50.
According to the Ministry of Manpower number of foreign workersthere are approximately 1,011,500 Work Permit and S Pass holders working in Singapore in 2021. As 95% of our migrant workers, including migrant domestic workers, are under the age of 50, this requirement will help maintain affordable premiums for the vast majority of employers.
Standardization of authorized exclusion clauses between insurers
The government will provide a standardized list of basic exclusions allowed for all insurers. These exclusions are grouped into (1) elective and non-medically necessary treatment, (2) treatment resulting from acts of employers/workers and (3) other, which includes the purchase of medical equipment and medical repatriation.
This will give employers greater clarity on the coverage and types of claims they are entitled to.
Primary Care Plan for Ambulatory Settings For some groups
From April 1, it will become mandatory for employers hiring work permit and S Pass holders who live in dormitories or work in the construction, manufacturing or process (CMP) sectors to purchase a primary care plan (PCP) for their workers.
The Primary Care Plan is complementary to the Medical Insurance Plan and will cover most of the primary care needs of migrant workers at a fixed cost, helping employers to meet rising health costs for their workers.
With the introduction of this plan, migrant workers will have access to affordable primary healthcare services, including unlimited acute and chronic medical consultation and treatment, 24/7 telemedicine services, an annual basic medical examination and scheduled transport to and from dormitories and MOM medical centers. .
Migrant workers must co-pay a fixed medical treatment of $5 for each visit to medical centers or $2 for each telemedicine session, to reduce the moral hazard of overconsumption.
The PCP will cost employers a flat rate of $108 to $138 for each worker per year, depending on the geographic location of their residence. Premiums can be paid monthly, making it flexible for employers.
Read also : What Employers Need to Know About the Mandatory Primary Care (PCP) Scheme for Foreign Workers
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