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4 minute read

Understanding Employee Medical Insurance: What to Look Out for Whether You’re Employed, or During a Job Search

Knowing what your insurance coverage is, and how it works when employed matters in safeguarding your home, family and other responsibilities. Here’s an update on the latest trends.

Most times when we interview for jobs, most of the questions lean towards the following: our suitability for the job, what the salary and working hours are, and the company culture and expectations.

Last, and usually least looked at, are employee benefits. And even then, it’s usually the snazzier perks and rewards that get us excited, like mobile phone claims or free parking.

Yet, what’s constantly underappreciated are employee healthcare benefits — we really should be paying attention and making sure that during our interviews, we find out more about coverage and what it entails towards yourself and your family should you join up!

Employers are paying more, after all. Healthcare benefit costs for Singaporean employers are expected to see a 9% increase in 2022, according to a survey of medical insurers conducted by Willis Towers Watson, an advisory broking and solutions company.

In fact, Singapore’s healthcare benefit costs in 2022 are consistent with the rest of our Asia-Pacific region, which is also expected to increase by 7.6%. In 2021, benefits grew by 7%, and 5.4% in 2020.

So where does all this money go to? Here’s a quick 101 about employee insurance.

Beginners’ Guide to Workplace Insurance

  • What is Work Injury Compensation?
  • What other common insurance coverage should you look out for?
  • Digitalising Employee Insurance Options

Work Injury Compensation Insurance

If you’re doing manual work, or if you do non-manual work but earn less than $1,600 monthly, potential employers should cover you with work injury compensation insurance, which applies to both local citizens and foreigners.

This will cover your medical expenses if you are injured at work and pay for at least 14 days of outpatient leave (your MC days lah), or 60 days of hospitalisation leave.

Some employers also include other benefits like traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) treatment or transport to and fro work while injured.

Other common insurance coverage to look out for in your benefits

Most employers do provide basic health insurance as benefits, and others also include perks such as reimbursement for medical and dental expenses. Other goodies include coverage for your kids or dependents, personal accident coverage, or the free use of a company doctor, if available.

The traditional perspective is bigger companies and multinational corporations (MNCs) tend to be more generous in terms of their health insurance benefits and healthcare perks, while small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are a bit behind. But that’s not entirely true these days.

New trends in employee insurance options

According to a report by Business Times, British multinational insurance company Prudential actually released an artificial intelligence-powered app recently, and as demand for digital solutions grows, it added new functions targeted towards SME employees.

The Pulse app has registered over 300,000 downloads in Singapore as of the end of September 2021 and is designed to help SMEs broaden and simplify access to insurance and employee benefits.

This is important as SMEs account for more than 99% of businesses in Singapore, and employ 70% of our workforce, said Prudential’s chief executive officer Dennis Tan.

If you’re considering a position with an SME, check to see if they have any group life insurance or group medical insurance, especially if they don’t have a large or full-time human resource (HR) team to manage employees’ insurance needs.

Read More: Is Money Tight While Job Hunting? Here Are 10 Cool Ways to Save Cash

To aid smaller or less digitally advanced SMEs in this regard, SkillsFuture Singapore launched an SME Skills Accelerator programme with Prudential, which supports participating companies in planning out a digitalisation roadmap.

This will help them consider tools like Pulse in order to digitise their insurance coverage for employees, without needing to spend money to develop in-house digital tools as well.

As a potential or current employee, this would give you access to employee benefits that MNCs tend to provide, such as easy claims processes, clinic location features to find the nearest doctor when you’re ill, or even schedule teleconsultations as well.

Ultimately, whether the job is with an SME or MNC, we want to make sure we remain healthier, more productive, and financially prepared for the future. So don’t be shy in asking what your potential health insurance and benefits will be either when you’re employed, or about to sign on the dotted line on an employment contract!

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