The employee benefits that matter most to us tend to be annual leave, and maybe the Xbox in the lounge if you work at a start up.
But the insurance your employer takes out on your behalf is also important to know about. Should you find yourself in a situation where you can actually make a claim, you cannot always count on HR to know and take action.
Mandatory work employee insurance in Singapore
There are two types of employee insurance that are not just perks, but mandatory. If you qualify for either of these, make sure your employer is covering you.
Work Injury Compensation Insurance
If your job consists of manual work, regardless of salary, OR you are doing non-manual work but earning less than $1,600 a month, your employer should protect you with work injury compensation insurance. This applies to both Singapore citizens and foreigners.
The insurance should cover your medical expenses if you are injured at work, as well as pay for at least 14 days of outpatient leave (ie. MC) or 60 days of hospitalisation leave.
In addition, some work injury compensation insurance plans offer other benefits such as TCM treatment, transport to and from work or workplace trauma benefits. So, it’s worthwhile looking through the insurance plan to figure what you can claim for if you get hurt at work.
Foreign domestic workers personal accident insurance
All foreign domestic workers (such as live-in helpers or maids) should be protected by personal accident insurance. This type of insurance is often branded by insurance companies as “maid insurance”, and covers hospitalisation and day surgery expenses should you get into an accident at work.
The insurance should also cover you for accidents that lead to permanent disability or death. If something happens to you, either you or your beneficiaries (eg. your family back home) will receive a lump sum payout of at least $60,000.
Common insurance coverage provided under employee benefits
What about ordinary office workers whose biggest physical risks at work are obesity and the odd case of carpal tunnel syndrome?
Most employers in Singapore do provide basic health insurance as one of their employee benefits, and some also throw in healthcare perks such as reimbursement for medical and dental expenses.
They don’t have to, though. The law does not make it compulsory for employers to provide employees with health insurance.
The standard practice is to at least provide employees with a basic medical insurance plan. In practice, bigger companies and MNCs tend to be more generous in terms of their health insurance benefits and healthcare perks, while SMEs tend to be less generous.
So, for instance, some MNCs offer medical insurance that might also cover your dependants. In addition, they might provide personal accident, dental and/or vision coverage, too.
Some other healthcare perks typically offered by employers in Singapore include reimbursement for medical and sometimes dental and vision expenses, as well as the free use of a company doctor if there is one.
What types of coverage do you have under your company?
When you first joined the company, HR might have issued a copy of your insurance policy, but if you’re like most of us, you just chucked it into a drawer and forgot about it. If the policy document has already met a tragic end in the paper shredder, just ask HR for a new copy.
Now’s a good time to check the medical, personal accident or other employee insurance coverage you are receiving through your employer. In particular, look at the hospital coverage to know what you’re entitled to should you get hospitalised, as well as the personal accident and/or total and permanent disability coverage you or your family will receive if you pass away or become disabled.
You’ll also want to look out for other perks that you can take advantage of such as dental coverage and maternity expenses. This is particularly pertinent if you are working for a best-in-class company or big MNC, as they are more likely to offer coverage in these areas. If you are not aware that you are receiving coverage in these areas, you are not going to be able to claim the money they are offering, and you can bet HR will not remind you.
If you’re working for a company that provides insurance coverage as well as claimable medical expenses, count yourself lucky! They’re boring but great perks.
Next steps: What insurance should you get to plug the gap?
Staying aware about what types of insurance your company has already gotten for you can help you avoid overlaps in your personal insurance policies. At the same time, you can see what you aren’t covered for and get your own.
In reality, employee medical insurance plans are not always as comprehensive as you might like, and will also cease once you leave the job.
For this reason, it’s probably a good idea to buy your own medical insurance in the form of an Integrated Shield Plan that covers your medical expenses if you are hospitalised.
If you still have some cash left over, depending on what your company does or does not provide, you might want to supplement your protection with personal accident insurance and/or critical illness insurance.
Of course, you should not go on an insurance buying binge and over-insure yourself. Do a policy review and go over your company’s coverage so you know what you do and do not need.
We’re curious. What kind of insurance coverage does your company provide? Tell us in the comments!