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3M Framework for Healthcare Needs

TODAY (02 November 2009) : 3M framework for healthcare needs


TODAY (27 October 2009) : Make it a must for local staff, too

3M Framework for Healthcare Needs 
- TODAY, 02 November 2009

We refer to the Voices letter by Mr Leong Sze Hian on medical insurance for workers (TODAY, 27 October 2009).

2.   Singaporeans enjoy substantial government healthcare subsidies at polyclinics and up to 80% at hospitals. In addition, employers contribute to Singaporeans' Medisave accounts which can be used to pay for their healthcare costs as well as Medishield (health insurance) premiums. For those without the means to pay for medical care, they can seek help from the Government through the Medifund. This 3M (Medisave, Medishield, Medifund) framework provides for the basic healthcare needs of Singaporeans.

3.   In general, foreign workers are not entitled to any healthcare subsidies from the Government. Therefore, employers who make the decision to bring foreign workers into Singapore should bear the costs of their medical care. Otherwise, hospitals will run deficits, which are ultimately paid for by the taxpayer. Employers can request for their foreign workers to be admitted to C class wards, if capacity permits.

Make it a must for local staff, too
- TODAY, 27 October 2009 

The compulsory medical insurance covering foreign workers will be increased from the current $5,000 to $15,000, with effect from Jan 1 next year.

However, there is no requirement for employers to insure their Singaporean citizen and Permanent Resident workers for any form of medical insurance.

I would like to suggest that this abnormality be addressed, in particular for lower-wage workers, who are generally not insured by their employers.

Some employers may also pay their foreign workers less, compared to locals, or stinge on non-monetary benefits like housing and food in order to recover part of the insurance cost.

The situation could also mean that employers may choose to employ locals just to save on the compulsory medical insurance premiums having foreign workers would incur.

The current policy of not allowing foreigners to receive subsidies at public hospitals means that foreign workers have to go to class B2 wards, which may increase the size of medical bills and correspondingly the liability of employers.