Starting July 2023, employers of S Pass and Work Permit holders, including domestic helpers, must provide higher medical coverage with an annual claim limit of SGD $60,000 or more. This aims to help employers cover larger medical bills and reduce out-of-pocket expenses amid rising medical costs.
In this Pacific Prime CXA article, we’ll look at what other new requirements there are, and when they will be phased in.
The New Requirements and Measures
As we’ll see, even though the claim limit will go up by 300%, there are some new measures that will make life easier for employers as well.
1. The Annual Claim Limit Will Increase
As mentioned, the minimum annual claim limit for medical insurance coverage for S Pass and Work Permit holders, including domestic helpers, will go up from the current SGD $15,000 to SGD $60,000, starting from July 2023. The insurance cost cannot be deducted from the workers’ wages.
According to Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM), more than 5% of all foreign workers' medical bills exceed the current SGD $15,000 coverage threshold, meaning that more than 1,000 employers face this problem every year on average. MOM estimates that over 99% of hospitalisation and surgery bills will be covered under the new coverage limit.
2. Employers Will Need to Co-pay
What’s more, the new regulations require that employers co-pay 25% of the claim amount that exceeds the initial SGD $15,000. For example, if a worker incurs a SGD $55,000 bill for surgery, the employer will be responsible for SGD $10,000, which is 25% of SGD $40,000. The remaining SGD $45,000 will be covered by the insurer.
3. Insurers Will Be Required to Pay Hospitals Directly
Starting from July 2025, employers will no longer have to pay for their workers' medical treatment in advance and file a claim with insurers for reimbursement later. Instead, insurers will be obligated to reimburse hospitals directly.
4. Insurers Must Charge Separate Premiums Based on Worker’s Age
To make sure employers of younger workers can afford the insurance premiums, starting from July 2025, insurers must provide separate premiums for workers aged 50 and below, as well as those above 50.
Older workers also stand to benefit from premium differentiation because insurers will be more incentivised to tailor plans that suit their needs better. The MOM has stated that these policy changes will be introduced in stages so that employers and insurers can more easily adapt to the financial implications.
5. Other Provisions and Implementation Details
Starting from July 2025, a standardised list of allowable exclusions for insurers will be made, such as procedures deemed medically unnecessary like cosmetic surgery. Moreover, insurers will not be obligated to cover pre-existing illnesses that occur within the first year of employment under the same employer.
These new measures will apply to all new policies and policy renewals that commence on or after the respective measure implementation day. For example, an existing policy with an annual claim limit of SGD $15,000 that expires on December 31, 2023 will remain valid until that date. However, its renewal policy, effective from January 1, 2024, must have an annual claim limit of no less than SGD $60,000.
The MOM further commented that since numerous insurers have already shown an interest in offering improved medical insurance products, the market will be highly competitive, providing employers with a whole host of options to choose from.
Secure Health Insurance with Pacific Prime CXA
Government regulations often change in response to changing social trends and needs, and that creates a dilemma for many: how can busy people like you make sure they stay abreast of the latest government requirements and take good care of themselves, their family and their career at the same time?
Luckily, we’re here to help. With more than 20 years of experience in insurance, Pacific Prime CXA is your trusted partner for unbiased advice and can help you find and secure a health plan that meets your requirements and fits your budget. What’s more, you don’t have to pay extra for our support compared to securing a health plan directly from an insurer!
Contact us for a plan comparison or a FREE quote today!