Why might you need a top up health plan in Singapore?
Employer provided health insurance is a common feature of expat compensation packages in Singapore. It’s a reasonable employee benefit to offer; securing medical coverage in a new country early protects your health from day-one, and can also make it much easier to navigate a foreign health system when you need it. That said, tougher economic conditions and shrinking-or-static budgets are driving many businesses to rethink or scale back employee health benefits. This is where having a top up health plan in Singapore can help.
What is a top up health plan?
If you find your company’s employee benefits plan doesn’t cover all of your health needs, then you may want a top up plan. These plans are designed to supplement your employer provided health insurance with additional benefits or levels, or add coverage options such as maternity or dental care that isn’t included with your company plan. A top up health plan can be from the same insurer or a different one, and can make getting the full and comprehensive coverage you need cheaper than buying a completely new plan.
Let’s say you’re in need of a day surgery treatment. Most employee benefits plans will cover a significant portion of the cost, but some may set a claim limit on day procedures. If the cost of the day surgery goes beyond what your employer provided plan covers, the remaining fees will be charged to you directly. Paying out of pocket is one option, however a top up health plan can kick in and cover the rest on your behalf. They’re a great way to ensure that your individual needs are being met, even when your primary coverage is under a group health plan.
What other situations can a top up health plan help me?
There are a wide range of different and flexible options when it comes to top up plans, and these will also vary by insurer and the benefits you desire. Here are a few common circumstances where our clients and customers have found a top up health plan to be really valuable.
When you have a pre-existing condition
Luckily for those with employer provided health insurance, insurers are usually more accepting of pre-existing conditions than they would be with an individual plan. Not all group plans do, however, so if you have a pre-existing condition that is excluded, such as asthma, diabetes, or high blood pressure, you might find the group plan exclusions may still leave you shouldering the bulk of your own yearly medical expenses.
There are top up plans that can offer assistance in these situations, providing coverage where your group plan won’t. These plans can include a range of extended benefits related to the management of pre-existing conditions, making them an invaluable option for those with important medical needs.
When you prefer private care
When insurers set their benefits and coverage, they’ll often look at which facilities and specialists they’ll accept claims from – and which they will not. This is mainly for cost control reasons; insurers may exclude a specialist or clinic they believe charges more than the market rate for consultations or treatment, or suggest group plan members use a specific hospital that offers the insurer cheaper rates to drive patients their way. This doesn’t just benefit insurers, as we also see better and cheaper care from these arrangements.
That said, some plans may only offer coverage at public clinics that may often see higher waiting times as they serve the government-subsidized public as well. For many expats, seeing an international doctor that speaks their language can also be a priority, so a top up health plan can offer access to private clinics and specialists that group plans may not.
When you’re a frequent traveller that’s based in Singapore
A group health plan can also be restricted by an area of coverage. That is, the boundaries or territory in which you can receive care that the insurer will accept claims from. It’s common sense to think a Singapore health insurance plan will cover all care within Singapore, but what if you travel outside of the country frequently, for work or pleasure? Most people will think travel insurance might be their best option, but such plans are often low on actual health and medical benefits.
A top up health plan can provide you with extended coverage areas, from Asia-region based cover to worldwide benefits. Many expats in Singapore will often serve their business’ interests around the great Asia and Southeast Asian region, and organizing multiple and consecutive travel insurance plans can be a hassle if you travel quite frequently. A top up plan with worldwide coverage will allow you to seek healthcare wherever you are, through the same insurer as the one you use in Singapore.
When you need other medical benefits
As we mentioned before, things like maternity, dental, and vision aren’t often included in a company health plan. They’re expensive, especially when such benefits must be covered for every employee – yes, that means even male employees will see premium additions for a employer provided health plan that covers maternity. Other benefits, such as physiotherapy or alternative medicine (Traditional Chinese Medicine, for example), can also be absent from group plans.
Securing these benefits, if you need them, can be done through a top up health plan. You can still use your employer provided insurance to cover things like inpatient and outpatient care, however dental care, optometrist visits, or booking pregnancy scans can all be taken care of by a top up plan.
What do I need to know about top up health plans in Singapore?
There’s not much to top up health insurance, however, buying medical coverage isn’t something you want to do without some information. At Pacific Prime Singapore, we’ve created a really handy guide about top up plans in Singapore, and we’ve made it completely free to download. If you need more information about top up products in the Lion City, visit our Health Guides page to download your free copy, or view our other guides on a range of insurance topics.
If you’re ready to talk about how a top up health plan can supplement your company provided health insurance, then call the experts at Pacific Prime Singapore today.
When she's not typing away on her keyboard, she's reading poetry, fueling her insatiable wanderlust, getting her coffee fix, and perpetually browsing animal Instagram accounts.