Most expats in Singapore will have a company healthcare plan as part of their contract. As you may well know, expats are excluded from the country’s MediSave programme. Healthcare can be costly, so your corporate plan is worth its weight in gold.Here is our advice on how to get the best out of the system in Singapore, as well how to save a few pennies along the way.
Check your coverage
This sounds like the most basic of all when it comes to healthcare, but you must always read the fine print to see if there is anything crucial you may have missed. You may rest on your laurels believing that your plan covers everything, but it may not be so. Many general plans exclude maternity and dental care. Some do not include optical issues. Occasionally, some plans do not even cover existing medical problems. Check and double check that any treatment received in hospital is included, as your coverage may only stretch to absolute emergencies. At the same time, take care that your plan also covers any outpatient treatment in clinics. It is worth going over your agreements with a fine toothcomb and any queries that arise should be directed to the Human Resources Department of your company. If you find that there are some specific needs that are not met by your plan, you can easily ‘top-up’, often for a very reasonable cost. So, keep in mind any potential health problems that may occur and how you will be provided for.
Where can I receive treatment
Alongside this, you might want to research where exactly your plan is accepted. Some hospitals may not accept your coverage, and this will depend entirely on your insurer. If you visit a hospital or clinic that is not specified in your plan, you may well find that you have to pay. Making a claim for the money spent could be possible, but it is best to avoid this situation by checking thoroughly where you can receive treatment.
Make sure you know who to contact
In the event that you need medical treatment, it is best to know exactly who to put yourself in contact with. This may be a representative from your company or the insurance agent themselves. This is also especially useful if you have any queries about your plan. They can also provide you with advice in the event that you need medical attention. It may sound like it would be unnecessary, but you do not want to inadvertently jeopardise your chance of coverage by making even one small mistake.
Take advantage of the benefits
Many businesses have incorporated yearly health checks into their agenda. If this is the case, and your company offers you various analyses, take them up on their offer! Your company may also offer regular dental examinations and eye checks, so make sure that you go along. The plan that you have may have all sorts of clauses and exceptions, but your company may make provisions for minor treatment. Imagine that you need a filling but dental care is not covered by your health coverage. You may be entitled to a refund of the cost from your employer. Of course, if you don’t ask, you don’t get, so make sure that you do some of the asking!
The technicalities of your healthcare plan
Once you begin work, your healthcare plan should begin that very day. The amount, by law, has to be up to at least S$15,000 per annum. The entire cost is covered by the employer, however check if there is any co-payment due. This usually occurs if you make a claim that is non-work related and can be up to 10% of the cost. Before you begin your employment, it is worth checking your visa requirements. Employment Pass holders are not required to hold private insurance nor are their companies obliged to provide it for them. However, Work Permit holders are entitled and are also obligated to purchase a plan. In fact, if your company do not provide coverage for you, they can be fined or even face a jail term.
What have your experiences been within the healthcare system in Singapore? Comment below with your stories!