COVID-19 has reared its ugly head spewing out viral loads of infections across our community and hitting hard on our foreign workers in the construction industry.
Foreign Workers in Singapore
With the spotlight falling on foreign workers (and that includes domestic helpers), employers are scrambling to review their Foreign Workers Medical Insurance (FWMI) policies whether their workers are adequately covered. More on that later but first, a quick overview of FWMI.
It covers the workers against medical expenses for hospitalisation care and day surgery arising from non-work related injury or illness. The minimum limit is $15,000 per disability per year for each worker covering briefly the following benefits:
– Room and Board (Government and Restructured Hospitals)
– Intensive Care Unit
– Hospital Miscellaneous services and supplies
– Surgery charges, Operating Theatre and Anaesthetist fees
– In-hospital Physician Visit
– Pre-hospitalisation/surgery (Specialist Consultation and Diagnostic services)
– Post-hospitalisation/surgery treatment
– Death Benefit
Back to the question of adequacy of coverage. We have received many calls from our clients asking whether their liability for the cost of medical treatment incurred by their foreign workers stops at $15,000?
We told them they are responsible for the entire treatment cost under the Conditions of Work Permits. If it exceeds $15,000, they will have to bear the difference. For that reason, they need to seriously consider increasing the medical limit to an amount that suits their risk appetite having regard to the surgical and hospitalisation cost in Singapore.
Foreign Workers Medical Insurance Claims – Case Studies
In support of our recommendation, we highlighted three recent cases which our clients went through in their FWMI claims.
A foreign worker was travelling in the company bus to work. The bus had just entered the company’s compound to alight all the employees. Unfortunately, the worker who had just alighted from the bus was knocked down by a company van that had just entered the compound.
The worker was badly injured and had to be rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. He was in a coma for about 2 weeks.
The HR was informed by the hospital that surgery had to be performed and the worker had to be hospitalised for more than a month including therapy treatment in view of the severe injury sustained.
Total Treatment Cost was S$75,000.
As the accident happened at the company’s premises and the worker travelled in the company bus, Work Injury Compensation insurance will respond and the maximum amount that can be claimed is S$45,000.
Maximum amount claimed from FWMI is S$15,000.
The balance payable by employer is S$15,000.
A foreign worker fainted at the work place. Ambulance was called and he was rushed to the nearest hospital.
Total Cost for hospitalisation was S$70,000.
After review by MOM and verified by the doctor, it was confirmed that the medical condition was not triggered by physical work activities (non-work related) and therefore the medical expenses incurred were not claimable under Work Injury Compensation insurance.
Total Treatment Cost was S$70,000.
FWMI paid up to maximum limit of S$15,000.
Employer had to bear the balance of S$55,000.
A foreign worker was rushed to a hospital with a viral infection of the heart and was admitted to ICU for a prolonged period. Sadly, he passed away.
The total hospital bill added up to S$100,000 and after claiming S$15,000 from FWMI, the employer had to pay the balance of S$85,000.
The employer had financial difficulties in settling the amount and negotiated with the hospital to pay by instalments. Fortunately, the hospital agreed with the instalment plan.
To all employers of foreign workers, the above cases are an eye opener that they need to protect themselves adequately against the unforeseeable future if they do not want a dent in their bank accounts. Consult us to prevent this from happening.
We can help you re-package your FWMI policies with higher coverage limits at competitive insurance premiums. That is a promise.