Singapore Expats

How you can get the most out of corporate health insurance

In order to attract and retain the best talent, expats included, many companies in Singapore will offer a corporate health insurance plan. For many expats moving to Singapore, these plans can be a big help as expats are not able to join Singapore's MediSave program and benefit from subsidized medical care. Having a health insurance plan ensures that the costs of health care at the private facilities in the city are at least covered in part. So, if you are joining a company in Singapore that offers medical insurance you might find yourself asking "how can I get the most out of it?"

Here, Pacific Prime Singapore offers seven useful tips on how you can get the most out of your company's health insurance plan.

If you are already working, be sure to join during the enrolment period

Usually, when companies implement a health insurance plan or switch to a new provider there will be an enrolment period where employees will join the plan. If for some reason the plan is optional, it might be a good idea to join the plan during this period. 

The reason for this is that it ensures there will be no delays when you join the plan and insurers will usually hold education sessions where they go over what the plan is, what is covered, how to submit claims, and might even explain how to best use the plan. 

If you join after, there is a good chance you might not get this session, especially if the insurer does not run them unless there are a group of people joining the plan at the same time. 

It is also beneficial to join during this period as it can help ensure that you will not have gaps in coverage e.g., a time period between when your old plan's coverage ends and the new plan begins. If this happens, and you get sick during this period of transition you might be left paying for care out of your own pocket.

Remember your dependants

In the past, most companies offered expats health insurance plans that covered their dependants too. Due to the cost and consistently thin operating margins, many companies have started to trim benefits. It is becoming increasingly popular for companies to only offer coverage to the person they hire, leaving spouses and kids to find health insurance for themselves. 

Because of this, it would be a good idea to either talk with the people managing your plan (usually HR), or read the plan documentation to find out whether dependants are covered. 

If they are not, you are likely going to have to secure a family plan and add your children onto it. Be warned here as some insurers in the region might request that both mother and father join the plan in order for kids to also be covered. 

It would also be a good idea to talk with your provider as in some cases you might be able to negotiate with the insurer about who is covered. For example, some insurers will allow you to add dependents to your plan for an extra fee.

Be aware of what is covered by your plan...

In a perfect world health insurance plans would all cover exactly the same things. In the real world, insurers will offer a variety of plans that cover different ailments. This means it is important to be aware of what your plan covers. 

By knowing this, you can better utilize the plan to receive the care you need. For example, if you know your plan covers visits to the dentist then it would be a good idea to visit the dentist for yearly checkups. 

Similarly, it is important to know where your plan is accepted. In order to help control costs insurers are often restricting coverage in some way to their network of healthcare providers. For example, the insurer will offer direct billing with certain providers, but if you go to another provider you will need to first pay for care and then submit a claim. 

This can help you find not only the best care close to your location, but also a clinic or hospital that will accept your insurance with minimal hassle.  

And what is not covered by your plan

Sure, it is important to know what is covered, but it is more important to know what is not covered. Some corporate health insurance plans will not actually cover pre-existing conditions (conditions you have before you join the plan) while others might limit certain types of care. 

As we mentioned above, there are many different types of medical insurance plans available in Singapore. This means that you will find some plans that only cover care where you are admitted to the hospital, while others will cover care at clinics as well. It would be a good idea to read your plan details so that you know exactly what is not covered. 

Many plans will have this information under the Exclusions section of the documentation included when you join. By knowing this, you can more effectively use the health insurance plan.

If you get health checks...use them

One of the largest trends among HR teams is the implementation of wellness plans. These plans, often comprised of health insurance and other elements aim to increase the health of all employees which in turn makes them more productive. 

A popular wellness benefit many HR teams are demanding, and many corporate health insurance plans are now including is the yearly health check. Some plans will cover the whole thing, others will provide a benefit amount and will then work with a healthcare provider to develop a package that is worth this amount. 

Regardless, if you get a health check with your company plan, then it could be more than worthwhile to use it.

Consider your health needs

In order to get the most out of your company health insurance plan it would help to take some time at least once a year to review how you have used the plan in the past year and your current health.

Some important things to think about would be how much you have had to pay out of pocket, the reasons you saw the doctor, and any other health issues that have developed. This can help you figure out whether you are actually using the plan, or whether it is meeting your coverage needs.

From there you can use this information to start a discussion with the health insurance plan managers to see if something can be done to better meet your needs.

Identify any gaps in coverage

Knowing what is and isn't covered, how you use the plan, and more can help you also identify any gaps in coverage you might have. For example, if your plan doesn't cover say maternity and you and your spouse plan on having a baby soon this is a gap in coverage.

If you do happen to identify any areas where you need extra coverage you do have options available. The best option is to look for a top-up plan. These plans are designed to help provide extra coverage and could be ideal for expats in Singapore.

Try talking to Pacific Prime Singapore. Their corporate insurance team can help work with you to find a plan or additional coverage that meets your needs.

17 Apr 2017
Pacific Prime