Singapore employers seek balanced health plans amid rising costs

Study reveals trend towards flexible, personalized plans

Singapore employers seek balanced health plans amid rising costs

Insurance News

By Paolo Taruc

Rising healthcare prices in Singapore have prompted employers to find ways to balance cost-effective plans with competitive packages for employers, according to a recent study by global professional services firms Mercer and Marsh.

Data revealed that ward type plans are becoming more prevalent over dollar limit plans as hospital room rates continue to increase. Ward type plans had a take-up rate of nearly 70%.

“With ward type plans, employers can ensure that their benefits keep pace with medical inflation without having to re-adjust the limit for every policy renewal,” explained Neil Narale, Singapore business leader for Mercer Marsh Benefits.

Most firms offer Group Hospitalization, Term Life and Personal Accident plans to employees – and more than seven in 10 of them also extend medical insurance to cover dependents, mostly with the premium fully paid by the employer.

“It is encouraging that generally employers do not only provide medical risk protection for illness or injury, but also offer financial protection for family members in the event of an extreme incident such as death or total permanent disability” said Narale.

But results also found a gap in medical coverage for chronic or major illnesses such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. Narale said employees should consider purchasing a personal insurance policy for such coverage.

There has also been a trend towards offering flexible benefit programs to employees, which can include vision care, health screening, and dental coverage.

“A great way for an employer to balance rising costs and the need to be competitive is through a well-designed flexible benefits program. Catering to an employee’s personal needs through offering choice will come across as more competitive, but not necessarily at an increase in cost,” said Narale.

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