Guide To Understanding Group Health Insurance Plans In Singapore

Group health insurance in Singapore is a comprehensive insurance plan designed to cover the medical expenses of employees in an organisation. Generally speaking, a  group health insurance plan would provide coverage for hospitalisation, outpatient treatments, GP visits and selected specialists’ treatment and dental care.

Since group health insurance plans are customisable, it’s common for the healthcare benefits provided by each organisation to differ. This also acts as a form of employment benefit for employees, who may consider an organisation that provides an extensive group insurance plan as a more enticing offer than those who do not.  

Group Health Insurance Is Not Mandatory In Singapore For All Workers

Some may think that group health insurance is a requirement for all organisations to cover their employees, but this isn’t entirely accurate.

Medical insurance requirement only applies to individuals holding work permits and S Pass holders in Singapore, for which organisations have to ensure that they purchase the mandatory medical insurance coverage required for these foreign workers. For local and foreign employees who are doing manual work, organisations have to purchase work injury compensation insurance regardless of the salary they earn. Finally, employees doing non-manual work but who earn a monthly salary of $2,600 or less are required to be covered by work injury compensation insurance.

Read Also: Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA): What Employers Need To Know

Besides the group of workers mentioned above, it’s not a necessity for organisations to purchase insurance policies for their employees.

It’s worth pointing out, however, that just because the employment law does not require group health insurance to be purchased for all employees, it doesn’t automatically mean that organisations are free from any financial responsibility regarding their employees’ healthcare costs. Regardless of whether an organisation opts to purchase group health insurance, they are still legally bound to provide certain medical benefits as mandated by Singapore’s Employment Act.

For instance, under the Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA), employers are responsible for injuries or diseases their employees might suffer due to work-related causes. Therefore, even if not legally required, organisations might still consider purchasing group health insurance for all their employees to mitigate potential liabilities arising from such circumstances.

A Tool To Attract & Retain Talent

Beyond covering the potential liability that an organisation may face, group health insurance can be used as a tool to attract and retain talent in the modern workforce, serving as a key differentiator in a competitive job market.

Employees often value health benefits highly, sometimes more than salary increases, due to the financial protection and security these plans provide.

The presence of such benefits enhances job satisfaction and loyalty, making employees more likely to stay with an organisation that invests in their well-being. This advantage is particularly significant in industries where skilled professionals are in high demand.

Group insurance plans usually offer more inclusive coverage compared to individual health insurance. However, the extent of this coverage varies depending on the policy and the insurer. While some group health insurance plans cover pre-existing conditions outright, others may impose waiting periods before such conditions are covered or may include certain limitations or exclusions.

The underwriting process for group insurance is typically simpler, or sometimes non-existent, increasing the likelihood of pre-existing conditions being covered. Employees should consult their policy documents or contact their HR department for precise details about their coverage.

What Employers Can Provide In Their Group Health Insurance Plans

In general, here are some of the benefits that can be provided by a group health insurance plan.

Hospital and Surgical Coverage: This usually covers hospitalisation expenses, surgical fees, and sometimes pre- and post-hospitalisation treatments.

Outpatient Medical Coverage: This may include visits to general practitioners, specialists, and coverage for prescribed medications. It’s also likely the most common benefit that your employees may want.

Dental Benefits: These plans often cover basic dental care, such as consultations, cleanings, fillings and possibly more complex dental procedures.

Personal Accident Insurance: This provides coverage in case of accidents that result in injury or death.

Critical Illness Coverage: This covers a range of critical illnesses, providing a lump sum upon diagnosis of covered illnesses.

Disability Income Protection: In case of temporary or permanent disability that prevents the employee from working, this benefit provides a portion of their income.

Life Insurance: Typically, a lump sum payment is made to beneficiaries in the event of the insured’s death.

Mental Health Coverage: Increasingly, mental health support such as counselling or therapy is included.

When seeking out group health insurance, it’s crucial for organisations to shop around, comparing plans and obtaining quotes from various insurers to find one that aligns with their specific needs and values. Key factors to consider would include the scope of coverage, cost of premiums, and specific benefits offered.

As coverage comprehensiveness increases, so too will the cost—more extensive insurance plans will naturally come with higher annual premiums. Therefore, organisations must balance their desire for broad coverage against the costs of higher premium costs.

In addition to coverage and cost, the ease of the claims process is a significant consideration. A straightforward and well-communicated claims procedure is essential. It should be easily understandable by all employees to minimise the time and effort spent on administrative tasks associated with filing claims.

A seamless claims process can improve employee satisfaction and reduce the workload on the organisation’s administrative staff, allowing for more efficient operation and potentially lowering indirect costs associated with managing insurance benefits.

Read Also: 5 Welfare And Benefits For Employers To Attract Workers In 2024

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